Reverend leads ironing board brigade

September 6, 2012

“I’m not making too much noise, am I?”

That’s what Rev. Benford Stellmacher asked from the front row, center seat in an overflow ballroom in the NASCAR Hall of Fame.

Dressed in a red polo shirt and overalls, his graying hair slicked back, he was wearing a gold medallion with the face of Martin Luther King Jr. – and leading the overflow crowd in cheers.

Back in Atlanta, he also leads “Ironing Board Bridades,” or groups of people who carry ironing boards and voter registration forms to gas stations, grocery stores and barbershops and register voters.

“An ironing board is very light and you can write on it,” he said. “We just approach the people and say, what’s your name? What’s your address? When they see Obama’s picture they sign up.”

Obama “has given us hope,” Stellmacher said. “He has helped many people to realize their dreams. And I think that him and Joe Biden working together has brought a cohesiveness together among races. And the diversity is overwhelming – I mean, look at this room!”

With that, Stellmacher stood, climbed up on a chair and faced the crowd:

“Can I hear ya?!” he yelled.

The crowd roared.

“Give me an O!”

“Give me a B!" 

“Give me an A!”

“Give me an M!”

“Give me an A!”

“Are we fired up? Let’s get fired up!”

At the reverend’s instruction, the room cheered.

Ed O’Keefe is covering the 2016 presidential campaign, with a focus on Jeb Bush and other Republican candidates. He's covered presidential and congressional politics since 2008. Off the trail, he's covered Capitol Hill, federal agencies and the federal workforce, and spent a brief time covering the war in Iraq.
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