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Rian Fike, a MoveOn member who organized the event at the Intercoastal in North Miami Beach, believes that highlighting these particular issues will be the most important factor in determining the presidential election.
”When you hold the candidates up next to each other, Obama will be the obvious choice,” Fike said.
Fike and his wife, Nina, heard about the bake sales when MoveOn started asking for volunteers through liberal blog sites. Not knowing what to expect, the Fikes called some friends and sent out e-mails trying to drum up support for the event. On Saturday, a half-dozen volunteers showed up with card tables, posters and piles of baked goods for the cause. Nina Fike even designed a few T-shirts for the volunteers that featured Obama superimposed on an American flag. She plans to make more shirts to sell at future events and hopes to help organize more bake sales in the forthcoming months.
”I think people are really excited about the election,” she said. “It’s history in the making.”
Judy Seagal, an active MoveOn member for several years, participated in the last nationwide bake sale in 2004. She enlisted the help of her neighbors to bring baked goods to a sale in Miami Shores. ”I think it will help, especially here in Florida where there was no campaigning,” Seagal said.
Other activist groups got the word out and sent volunteers to the bake sales. William Peña Wells, a member of the Democratic Party of Miami-Dade, came out to see what effect the event would have on the community.
”It brings a small-town atmosphere to the global village,” said Wells, who is trying to organize a Democratic group to represent Miami Shores, Biscayne Park and El Portal residents.
Passersby were also able to register to vote or apply for new state registration.
The Miami bake sales were not as well attended as anticipated, but organizers chalked it up to the fact that thousands of Obama supporters already had flocked to the downtown area where the senator was speaking at the mayors’ conference. Issues covered by the presumptive Democratic candidate at the meeting ranged from the foreclosure crisis to community involvement and development programs.
Volunteers at the North Miami Beach bake sale focused on drawing attention to Obama’s stance on these issues rather than collecting funds, although they hope the combined profits of the other sales around the country will produce a considerable amount of money.
”It makes the whole country seem like a small town when everyone is having a bake sale on the same day,” Rian Fike said. “It was just a spur-of-the-moment thing; I wanted to be part of it.”