Campaign staffers for Barack Obama are canvassing small business owners in town-hall meetings around New Hampshire. Three were held the last week of July, with a fourth scheduled for Monday, August 6th in Plymouth (at The Common Man Inn, no less). "There were young college grads, retirees and many of us in between," an Obama supporter and new entrepreneur who attended the meeting in Concord wrote in a letter to the local paper. "We talked about issues that worry us as workers, supervisors and business owners (health-care benefits, real estate costs, labor costs, taxes) and how to retain young adult staff who may be carrying huge student loan debts."
"These forums were more about listening to small business people than talking about Barack," explained Obama spokesman Reid Cherlin. "They were modeled after his work as a community organizer." About 20 people attended each one, and they left "excited, because small business owners don't feel like they're being heard in Washington, and nobody asks their opinion in campaigns," Cherlin said. "They were just glad that we were seeking out their perspective." (Indeed, the letter-writer described the event in the vernacular of empowerment through faith: "An hour into the meeting I felt more connected, professionally stimulated and hopeful than I could have imagined." But then, Barack had her from hello.)
Obama's New Hampshire HQ pledges to pass the sentiments gleaned from the fora on to the candidate -- and his policy people.