There is a grassroots movement happening in North Carolina. Its members are promoting their favorite candidate, hitting the pavement to spread the image of their chosen one. For love or money, local Barack Obama supporters and entrepreneurs are out for you.
"It's clear that North Carolinians are excited to be a part of Sen. Obama's movement for change, and they're eager to display their support in all kinds of different ways," says campaign spokeswoman Katherine Lyons.
At the Obama rally last week in Greensboro, a pair of local business people were selling large Obama buttons, two for $5. They sold like hotcakes, especially the Super Obama versions: the man of steel, or more likely, of greenbacks. When a security guard asked the vendors if they had a permit to sell on the Coliseum grounds, the answer was no. They saw an opportunity to make some money—and kept on selling until the guard escorted them from the line of waiting supporters
In Durham, Blue Coffee Cafe on Corcoran Street and The Know Bookstore are selling "Durham Obama '08" T-shirts. Produced and funded by the Durham for Obama group, some of the profits will go to the campaign. There is a backlog for national campaign-produced merchandise, so several local supporters pooled their money, came up with a design and produced homegrown Obama shirts printed at Total Exposure Designs in Hillsborough to sell in advance of the May 6 primary.
Jay Long, owner of Buddha's Belly, a tobacco and T-shirt shop in Raleigh, also sells two styles of Obama T-shirts (as well as detox kits that supposedly help people beat drug tests). Produced by two independent artists, Long says the shirts don't sell as well as the plethora of anti-Bush paraphernalia that he carries. He would carry Hillary Clinton or John McCain shirts if someone brought them. A non-voter, Long described himself as apolitical, but he'll stock what people will buy: "I like my money."