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Blogging from the Bus 11/15

16 November 2007
Written by

November 15, 2007


Portland, ME

Hello again good people. It has been awhile since I last updated you from the road but I am going to try to tell about our day today. Today happens to be November 15, 2007, which happens to be the day we released our 2008 Political Courage Test, results for President. JJ and I spent the day in Manchester, NH an early primary state with a large presence by most presidential candidates. We were parked at Veterans Memorial Park where we spoke to a few people mingling outside of the courthouse across the street before heading off to speak to some of the NH campaign personnel of some of the candidates. Our intent was to ask the different campaigns why their candidate did or did not fill out the Courage Test. We left armed with extra copies of the test and our camcorder. I will not mention which candidates we visited but would like to tell you about some of the events that occurred as we spoke to people from several different campaigns.

We left the bus and headed through the rain to the office of Candidate A, which was in the process of relocating. When we walked in there was only one guy there. We told him whom we were with and asked if we could speak to someone that dealt with candidate issue positions. He informed us that only he and one other gentleman were currently in the office. He went and spoke to his colleague who promptly returned and cordially introduced himself. He was the field director for the state of New Hampshire. We told him about Vote Smart as well as the Courage Test, both of which he denied having ever heard of. He told us that his candidate was "an open book" that would have no problem answering the test and after describing Candidate A as the second coming of George Washington, told us that he suspected the Test had not been passed along to his candidate. He asked who we spoke too. We informed him of our contact with Candidate A's campaign, after which he promptly replied, "That was the right guy to talk too". We left him a copy of the Courage Test, which he promised to pass along. He also gave us contact information for someone to call in case we did not receive the test in the coming days. We left the office surprised at how receptive he had been to our inquiry. One down.

We went back to the bus to print off more Courage Tests and to contact Sarah Brady, director of the Courage Test (formerly known as NPAT department) for Vote Smart, in order to be armed with information as to whom we had spoken too with each campaign. We than walked about a half mile to the next campaign headquarter.

Once again we walked into a small office with campaign signs everywhere. A woman was walking out as we walked in whom informed us that the campaign people in the office had given her some free toilet paper. This time we walked in with our camcorder recording. The secretary in the front of the office told us that we could not have a camera. I turned it off as JJ explained whom we were and what we wanted to do. Another young woman proceeded to go inform Candidate B's press person in the office that we were there. We waited about ten minutes in the front of the office before she came to greet us. We were informed that she had finished speaking with Candidate B's press people and that they would be happy to fill out the Test. We gave her a copy, left the hotline number, and listed Sarah Brady as a contact. Again, we left somewhat surprised at how well we had been received.

Candidate C's people were somewhat less helpful. They tried to offer us some campaign schwag, which we promptly refused in kind. After being informed that everyone is a salesman we offered to give him a Vote Smart pen. We kindly explained that we could not have a campaign pen on our nonpartisan rig. After requesting to speak with someone about our test we were told that no one could speak about the matter. We were given a contact, in addition to a number. We headed back to the bus; it was still raining.

I have no idea what will become of our efforts today. We contact each one of these campaigns several times to inquire about their efforts to fill out the Courage Test. I hope that all of the campaigns we spoke with today will produce the effects they seemed to imply and have their candidate fill it out. If such is the case I may have suggest that in the future we deliver the Test in person. I guess we will have to cross our fingers and see if any more Tests come back. I wish you all the best of Thanksgivings and must confess that I am thankful to finally be heading home in 6 days. I will speak with all of you again when I return home to Montana.


Jonathan Arnold

National Bus Tour Coordinator

Project Vote Smart

Related tags: 2008-election, blog, bus-tour, VSDS

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