Michelle Walsh wanted to teach her 2nd-grade Girl Scout troop about the presidential election. What the Naperville mother got was a lesson about the rough-and-tumble world of political finances.
Walsh said she called both campaigns and asked for free trinkets she could give the 7-year-olds to help them learn. If they did well, she explained, each Scout would earn her "Ms. President" patch. The tchotchkes would provide added incentive.
A representative for John McCain responded immediately, sending Walsh a box filled with stickers and signs.
The Barack Obama camp wasn't quite so generous, Walsh said. The troop leader said she called Obama's Chicago campaign headquarters and explained why she needed the curios. Walsh said she was directed to Obama's Web site--where she could buy all the buttons and posters she wanted.On the Web, a packet of 50 stickers that say "Obama '08" goes for $5; a yard sign is $8. "Got Hope Cash?" bumper stickers are $3 each, or two for $5. Walsh found the prices a bit exorbitant her small group.
She said she asked Obama's campaign worker again if she could get a few items for free. She pointed out that McCain's camp had agreed to send a box and, well, her 12-member Scout troop runs on a very small budget.
Walsh said the woman at Obama's headquarters put her on hold. After a few minutes, she returned with the same answer. The woman told her that she sympathized, but the Obama campaign needs every penny it can get, Walsh said. She said, 'We're up against the machine and we just can't hand anything out for free,' " Walsh said. "She was very nice . . . but I wasn't getting anything."
The woman then directed Walsh to another spot on Obama's Web site where she could print out pages for the girls to color on, she said.
The story of these girls scouts gets better; read the rest