Changing Voters Minds for Obama in Florida via “The Great Schlep” (Videos)

Both CBS News and Keith Olbermann examine the effectiveness of comedienne Sarah Silverman’s campaign for Barack Obama.  She started “The Great Schlep,” a video challenge to younger Jewish Americans to visit their grandparents in the swing state of Florida and talk with them about voting for Barack Obama.  Since the video premiered on the Internet two weeks ago, it has been seen by over 7 million viewers.

The Great American Guilt Trip

(CBS) Getting grandkids to visit usually requires a whopping dose of guilt.

In Florida, something else was at work this weekend – at bagel shops and condo pools, grandkids like Emily Cahn were showing up on their own, CBS News correspondent Kelly Cobiella reports.

“All I heard was she’s coming down and this thrilled me to no end because I hadn’t seen her in two years!” Dorothy Cahn said.

Hang on Grandma Dorothy – there are strings attached.

“If you knew that visiting your grandparents could change the world, would you do it? Of course you would!” comedian Sarah Silverman said in an online video promoting what’s being called “The Great Schlep.” She continued: “Schlep to Florida to convince your grandparents to vote for Obama.”

It’s an online push started by two Jewish activists to get young Jewish voters to visit their grandparents – and encourage them to vote for Barack Obama.

Thousands signed up online, and last weekend dozens criss-crossed the country, armed with talking points

Andrew Steinzmetz came all the way from the University of Pennsylvania. His grandparents were easy. But their friends?

“I don’t care for either candidate,” said one friend of Andrew’s grandparents, named Rita.

“You don’t care for either candidate?” Andrew asked.

“No,” she said. “I think you are going to make a great candidate.”

It’s no surprise to University of Miami political science professor Joseph Uscinski.

“Grandparents have very well defined voting patterns; they have very well defined partisanship,” he said. “If somebody came to them and said, ‘I want you to vote for this one or that one,’ it’s probably not going to have that much of an effect.”

That may explain why their competition – Young Republicans – are looking for votes at tail-gaiting parties instead of retirement homes.

“You will hear from a lot of young people that this is the most important election of their lifetimes – short lifetimes, but nonetheless, lifetimes,” said Harout Samra, a University of Miami student.

Still, for Jewish grandparents, the stakes are higher than ever this election.

“If they vote for Barack Obama, they’re going to get another visit this year,” Sarah Silverman says in the online video. “If not, just hope they stay healthy until next year.”

Now that’s political pressure.

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2 responses to “Changing Voters Minds for Obama in Florida via “The Great Schlep” (Videos)

  1. Pingback: Jewish Travel » Blog Archive » Changing Voters Minds for Obama in Florida via “The Great Schlep …

  2. I really enjoyed the schlep video. I live in South Florida , I’m not jewish, but I understand the need to talk to our eldery here. They have a big say in Florida voting. Unfortunatly, we’re talking about two very beaten backgrounds:Cubans and jews. They’re very afraid of Obama. Seriously , I sit in the bus and listen to them fear that he is a terroist or radical. They’re easily persuaded into these kinds of things. It doesn’t help that some of the spanish pundits add to this very idea. I do feel that everyone should be informed but with the correct facts. But convincing elderly Floridians to change their minds it isn’t as easy as Sarah wants it to be.

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