Me and Michelle

It feels really good to be part of a campaign that doesn’t just rely on fat cats.

Me and Michelle.

By Ed McManus

“Ed, you’re amazing,” she said, and I thought, “Wow!  She thinks I’m amazing!”

One morning last month, I checked my email and there was a message from Michelle Obama, and she said she thought I was amazing.

She said she and Barack  felt my energy when they were up there on the convention stage.  Who knew?

She said they needed some money, and I was persuaded.   I pulled out my wallet.

So you can imagine how deflated I was to read in the Chicago Sun-Times a couple weeks later that Michelle thinks columnist Mark Brown is amazing, too.  And she’s on a first-name basis with Mark, too.

Some of you may have gotten these emails.  Apparently anyone who donates to the campaign online gets on the list.  Maybe that’s a reason not to do it online.  But then, every time we do anything online, the companies that sell us stuff start bugging us.  That’s what the junk mail folder is for.

I found Michelle’s friendly email in my junk mail Sept. 7.  (Sorry, Michelle.)  Actually, I had missed one from Barack himself the day before–the day after he spoke to the convention.  It was entitled “So . . .”  The message, in its entirety, was:


I hope I did you proud.

(link to donate)

Let’s go win.


Like I said, the day Michelle called me amazing, I sent in a small donation.  Next day my old friend Joe Biden got in touch to suggest that I become a “grassroots fundraiser,” an idea I really liked.  They set me up with my own electronic account and instructed me to set a fundraising goal.  I set a goal of $1,000, and 20 donations later, I reached it.  As of this writing, I have raised the goal to $1,500.  One of my donors gave $250.  A couple of them gave $10.

On Sept. 14 I got a message from David Axelrod.  Actually, Dave and I are old friends, having worked together at the Chicago Tribune years ago, so I thought maybe it was really personal.  But alas, Dave just wanted to thank me for my donation–and ask for more.

Mark Brown dissed the Obama campaign’s emailing efforts.  He said he has his doubts about all those polls that say Obama will win.  “When the president of the United States is reduced to hustling small-time campaign donations like a televangelist, I have to assume he’s not putting much stock in them either,” he wrote.

I disagree.  I think it’s smart politics.  It sure attracted my attention.  And it feels really good to be part of a campaign that doesn’t just rely on fat cats.


Ed McManus is a Wilmette, IL, attorney and a former Chicago Tribune editor/reporter.

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