President Obama’s brother-in-law campaigns in West Oak Lane

With just over a month to go until the Presidential election, volunteers at the Obama campaign’s Organizing for America-PA office continued their weekly voter-registration efforts Saturday morning, but were joined by a special guest last weekend.

Craig Robinson, older brother to First Lady Michelle Obama, was on hand to canvass with them.

The Oregon State University basketball coach was bombarded with both questions from, and requests to take photos with, those assembled. He obliged the requests, but then got back to his door-to-door canvassing and phone-banking focuses.

Voter-reg the primary concern

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In an interview with Newsworks, Robinson had less to say about any potential obstacles regarding the state’s controversial voter ID law and opinions about the Republican Party than he did about a desire to keep voter-registration momentum growing.

“If we just register as many people as possible,” he said, “we don’t have to worry about any obstacles that come our way.”

Asked if he worries about the commonwealth supporting his brother-in-law’s foe Mitt Romney, Robinson replied, “If we don’t optimize our opportunities, then it’s possible.”

“I treat them like I would treat the opposing team at games,” he said of the Republican opposition. “I am only focused on what my players can do better. I don’t want to focus on anything else but getting citizens registered to vote. That’s more productive to me.”

Q&A with volunteers

Syreeta Martin, a recent Temple University grad, asked about the campaign’s efforts to boost voter turnout though college students.

“It is important for college students to know they are not too busy to get themselves and their friends registered to vote,” said Robinson.

One West Oak Lane resident asked if Robinson would win in a game of basketball with President Obama.

“We never play against each other,” he responded with a laugh. “In fact, he always chooses me to be on his team.”

From the Ogontz Avenue office, Robinson stopped at barbershops, churches and other locations to push his voter-registration message.

“The amount of enthusiasm that’s here in Philly, right here in this office, is great,” he said. “I feel it.”

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