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Obama at campaign headquarters in Charlotte makes reference to grandmother. Pool report.

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Margaret Talev/McClatchy Newspapers and Karen Tumulty/TIME

Pool Report: Charlotte, N.C., Obama campaign headquarters, Elizabeth St. 4:45 - 5:15 p.m.

Sen. Obama made a drop-in to shake hands with volunteers, pose for photos and call voters to ask for their support. Newsiest at top, more color below.

Sen. Obama made no statement to volunteers or the pool about his grandmother's passing, and for the most part kept his spirits up and was energetic - until one call to be described shortly. There was no opportunity to ask him questions and he was taken out a separate door from the pool at the end.

But in one phone call, although we could not hear the other end of the call, the person on the other end of the line seemed to be talking to him about health care or home health care. At that point, Obama turned his back to the pool and said into the phone "obviously this is happening in my own family . . . my grandmother stayed at home until recently." At that point, he seemed to deflate, and when he turned back to us, he suddenly looked sad and tired.

NETWORK POOL WILL MOVE AUDIO. He continued to make calls after that, however.

From the top:

Sen. Obama arrives through a back entrance. About three dozen volunteers who said they got two minutes' notice, erupted in cheers. "This isn't a party here," he jokes. "We've got more work to do." He sees one woman he knows and hugs her warmly and says, "For the second time! For the second time!" She tells your pooler her name is Susan Higgins and that she is a local volunteer and fundraiser and also had been his editorial assistant at the Harvard Law Review.

Then he recognizes a former professional basketball player in the group. "It's M.L. Carr!" Obama exclaims of the former Celtic. "The next president, the next president," Carr says. Carr tells your pooler he lives in Boston but was in Charlotte for a visit and heard about Obama's visit.

There was a Nerf basketball in the headquarters and a little net that clipped up on a wall. He took three shots, made the third and proclaimed it "a ball of hope."

Obama called several voters in addition to the aforementioned call. He wished one a happy birthday, and said his priority was to get the economy back on track. He told one he was "hustling for votes because we want to win North Carolina".
During one call, one of the volunteers in the room, Alverna Bracy, 76, a black woman, was so overcome with emotion about his visit that she began sobbing and shuddering and he went over and put his arm around her and stroked her arm while he finished the call. Later she told your pooler, "I'm 76 years old and I'm just so excited, I'm just happy. This is the best surprise I've ever had since my babies were born."

Obama told the volunteers, "I hope you guys feel like you've been making a little big of history here." "If we take North Carolina, we win this election."

Fay Grasty, a volunteer for only a few weeks, got on her cell phone to her husband and said, "Harvey! Obama is here, he's going to come right through." Then her voice dropped to a whisper and she said, "This is history-making."

Margaret Talev/McClatchy Newspapers and Karen Tumulty/TIME

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Lynn Sweet

Lynn Sweet is a columnist and the Washington Bureau Chief for the Chicago Sun-Times.

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This page contains a single entry by Lynn Sweet published on November 3, 2008 7:32 PM.

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