Canadians for Obama flock to Wash. for campaign gear

PORT ANGELES, Wash. - Canadians have been visiting the Clallam County Democratic Party headquarters to stock up on Obama campaign buttons, bumper stickers and T-shirts, county party officials said.

"Several couples a week have been coming in since we opened in May," said Melissa Randazzo, the county party's communications chairwoman.

She is the wife of Matthew Randazzo, who is chairman of the county party but is on a leave of absence to be communications director for Derek Kilmer, Democratic candidate for the 6th Congressional District seat also sought by Republican Bill Driscoll.

Melissa Randazzo said that Canadians have been posing for photographs with cutouts of President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama, as well as collecting election items at the office at 124-A W. First St..

"They have been really enthusiastic about Obama stuff," Melissa Randazzo said, adding that the office hasn't tracked the numbers.

"They have tried to give us donations," she said.

But "we can't take donations from Canada."

Dick Pilling, chairman of the Clallam County Republican Party, said he is not aware of Canadians coming to county GOP headquarters at 509 S. Lincoln St., in search of Mitt Romney-Paul Ryan items.

"To my knowledge, we have not had any infusion of Canadians expressing solidarity with Romney or hostility toward Obama," Pilling said.

"There may have been a couple come past the headquarters, but I don't know," he said.

"Any Canadian that would be smart enough to vote for Romney probably understands that they don't have a vote over here," Pilling added.

Randazzo said she hadn't asked Canadians about their interest in the U.S. presidential election, but some had said they read a column in the Victoria Times Colonist, "so we wanted to stop by and get Obama gear."

Times Colonist columnist Jack Knox wrote earlier this month of a red, white and blue billboard beside a Victoria-area highway that said: "Obama 2012. Yes! Yes! '1,000' Times Yes!"

Knox said the reference to 1,000 "is a bit of an in-joke, an allusion to the wager Reg Mooney has made with a friend. Victoria's Mooney has a cool grand riding on Barack Obama's re-election."

Knox said the 79-year-old management consultant and his U.S.-born wife, Karen Mooney, decided to erect the full-sized billboard in the suburb of Saanich recently because they feel a lot rides on the election.

Saanich Mayor Frank Leonard was registered to volunteer on the Obama campaign, Knox said, and Obama cutouts were to be on display when the Victoria chapter of Democrats Abroad gathered to watch a televised Obama-Romney debate.

Mooney also paid for a billboard in 2008 that "reflected his dismay at the way Canada had lost its image as a global peacekeeper, its independence," Knox said.

He quoted Mooney as saying: "I wanted to see an end to the constant warfare that we seem to get pulled into by following the Americans. We need to back off of being a warrior nation."

This time, Knox said, Mooney just wants to see Obama win because he's "solid."


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