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GASP: Channeling our inner aghastness

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The best party in Raleigh last night was the GASP gathering at Barack Obama's field office, 600 St. Mary's St. (It's the old Mitchell Funeral Home.) GASP stands for "Girlfriends Appalled About Sarah Palin." It's an idea hatched by a few such women, incubated by an Obama organizer or two, and spread virally to the point that several hundred women arrived last night wearing GASP insignia—along with several hundred men sufficiently aghast to drink the free beer and wine.

Many of both genders came straight from the Joe Biden event (read story, "In citing work and family, Joe Biden focuses on America's core values") to sign up volunteers and assign people to specific tasks for the final Obama-Biden push through Nov. 4.

"I have been a huge Obama fan since the primaries," said Ilina Ewen, one of the original GASP organizers. "I love the grassroots nature of it, and doing something about the issues in a positive way, instead of just bitching."

The mother of two children, 3 and 5, she added, "So I feel like I have a lot of skin in the game."

Ewen is a professional marketer who's "tweeted" GASP to her list of 700 folks via twitter.com, and since they tweet and their people tweet, she explained, word on GASP's gone global. It's also gone generational: Whenever her kids see an old white guy, she joked, they ask her if that's John McCain. (No offense taken, Ilina.)

As was obvious last night, GASP isn't just for women any more: As Ewen noted—her marketing hat on—the buying decisions of men are heavily influenced by the women in their lives. And we found this in a recent entry on Ewen's "parents and politics" blog, www.dirtandnoise.com:

"It was not until well into my adulthood that I saw my fellow X-chromosomes in a different light. I have found that without us, nothing gets done. And we can gab and do at the same time. That old tired adage about behind every man is a great woman is a gross understatement. Behind every man is an even greater, more organized, more disciplined, more aware, multi-tasker of a woman."

There was rockin' music last night by LBJ cover band the Swingin' Johnsons. It's a real band: Miles Wright, David Gresham, Randy Benefield, Chris Grams, Chris Leming, and on lead vocals and guitar, Rob Orbison look-alike David Burney.

Men.

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