Obama Office in Austin. That's a large black dog sleeping contently wearing a T-shirt that reads: Really Big Dogs for Obama.
This morning I flew to Texas to canvas and help with an event for Senator Obama. I fly back to Boise Monday morning. Tuesday is the primary here. It is a primary and caucus in the same day and much rest on the numbers that come out of this race in these remaining big states. Texas is one heck of a big state and the Senators visit here last week drew over 30,000 to an outdoor moonlit rally in front of the state Capitol.
Texas is warm and awash in people flowing in, phone lines buzzing and paper flying to doorsteps in the moist hands of breathless volunteers.
The office in Austin is an exhausted second floor fabulous rabbit warren with computers and buttons and cell phones and carefully printed sheets of white paper on much of the floor.
Volunteers are adorned with colorful images of the senator and deeper and deeper into the halls you find media and strategy whirring. No one is pausing to feel confident or celebrate the records set for turnout at rallies, numbers of organizers, doors knocked, calls made. Everyone is just running, from task to task, list to list.
At the doors in the neigborhoods there is a mix of those who did not register and maybe wish they did, those who have been called and knocked already and those still swaying...
I got one swaying today. I got decideds and doors already knocked with people still up beat and kind in response to my smile and Obama button.
Missing days in the legislature is something I've only ever done once in my four years in office and I had a substitute, Amy Herzfeld, to sit in and vote for me. I have missed a single or partial floor session or two over the past four years to be at a hearing in the Senate. This will be the first day this year I will miss and fortunately it is a day with a long list of early Senate bills, mostly non-controversial. I will watch the debate on the live streaming and instant message with a few of my caucus members just in case.
I have also left pairs slips, bright pink sheets where we sign and are able to seek out another legislator voting the opposite way so that our vote can be counted in our absence. Of course if no one is going to vote "no" on a bill, there is no way to pair. Interestingly in 2006 when Bill Sali was running for Congress, Tom Loercher voted no on bill after bill to allow Bill a pair so it looked like he missed very few floor votes while he still served a state representative.