The excitement of the race for the Democratic presidential nomination came to Yale in the form of staffers sent to recruit for Lieberman’s campaign.
Staffers from Sen. Joseph Lieberman’s ’64 LAW ’67 presidential campaign spoke with interested students Wednesday evening about their experiences as campaign workers and upcoming opportunities for Yale students to campaign for Lieberman in New Hampshire. The staffers met with students at two separate meetings, each of which was attended by approximately 10 students.
The events were sponsored by the Yale Coalition for Joe Lieberman, but the meetings were instigated by the Lieberman campaign.
“They wanted to come,” said Robert Trudel ’05, who was the contact between the campaign and the Yale Coalition for Joe Lieberman. “They wanted to beef-up support on campus and thought that getting in touch with real staffers who can identify with the students would do that.”
Both Trudel and the campaign staffers said they were pleased with the student response to this event. One staffer commented that the attendance, particularly the number of freshman, would help contribute to the strong support base that Lieberman already has in Connecticut.
“There was a great turnout between the two events,” said Siobhan Oat-Judge ’02, one of the campaign staffers leading the meetings. “We’re always excited to see students eager to participate.”
The students met with the staffers Jon Berkon ’03, Oat-Judge, and Cornell graduate Peter Bondi at Naples Pizza and Restaurant before the formal meeting. The more personal setting of Naples allowed students to ask the staffers specific questions about Lieberman’s campaign, the job of a presidential campaign staffer, and ways to become involved in Lieberman’s campaign.
The Lieberman campaign will be bussing students up to New Hampshire for the weekend of Oct. 11 as well as providing housing. Students who stayed through Oct. 13 would also have the opportunity to meet Lieberman who is giving a policy speech that day. The staffers described their own experiences campaigning in New Hampshire to entice the students.
“It’s all one-on-one campaigning. That’s what’s special about New Hampshire,” Berkon said. “You have the opportunity to make politics relevant to them [the voters]. The campaign that makes them see why politics is important is going to win.”
All of the staffers stressed that campaigning in New Hampshire primarily involves door-to-door canvassing. They said most of the people whom they approached were very receptive and openly discussed campaign issues important to them. They described multiple situations in which voters had invited them into their homes to talk about such issues as health care, the war in Iraq and the economy.
Marshall Shaffer ’07, who worked on the Lieberman campaign this past summer, spoke about the benefits of being personally involved in a presidential campaign.
“It’s a great way to speak to people and hear what people have to say,” Shaffer said. He also described his experience working on the campaign this summer as “a great time.”
In addition to encouraging students to come to New Hampshire, the staffers also promoted student-sponsored campaign efforts on campus. They offered to provide students with information, campaign materials, and any other resources they might need to bolster support for Lieberman on campus.
“We were really excited by the energy we saw tonight,” Oat-Judge said. “We hope to see it put to good use.