07/06/08 — Obama supporter traveling state to hawk wares

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Obama supporter traveling state to hawk wares

By Steve Herring
Published in News on July 6, 2008 2:00 AM

"Is the poster for sale?" a motorcyclist shouted at Mohammed Rashid Wednesday afternoon as he was setting up his booth hawking Barack Obama items at the busy Spence Avenue and East Ash Street

Rashid's response was drowned out by the crush of traffic as he continued to place the T-shirts featuring Obama on a table framed at either end by posters of the Democratic presidential candidate.

An Atlanta native now living in Raleigh, Rashid said he would not be spending 10 to 12 hours a day selling the shirts and hats if he didn't believe in Obama.

"I wouldn't do it," he said.

He said that while he is not "getting rich" that it is "a wonderful feeling, it's great" to be part of a grassroots

And while the operation is not part of the official Obama organization, 30 to 40 percent of the proceeds are donated to the Obama campaign, he said. The shirts range in price from $10 to $15.

Rashid, who said it is the first time he has sold items that help benefit a political candidate, has been selling the items since the start of the campaign.

His wares include T-shirts, caps and pins. He said he was going to pick up some flags Wednesday evening and was planning to add bumper stickers.

"I am a big (Obama) supporter and have seen him at a rally or two,"
he said.

When asked what attracted him to the campaign, Rashid said, "Of course his message -- his message of hope and change. It is long overdue. It is long overdue that we can come together as a nation of people."

He added, "His message is for everyone. Everyone is excited, even the little children are excited. I have never paid attention to the news and politics until this particular campaign. I am excited. To let an African-American or even a woman lead, it is a great thing and I think it is about time. Let's come together and communicate."

He said a lack of communication is to blame for how the U.S. is viewed by the world.

"I think this (communication) is what God wants us to do," he said.

Rashid said Obama and his wife, Michelle, are intelligent and that people think they will do "a wonderful job and perhaps even make Hillary (Clinton) part of it."

Rashid, who commutes between Raleigh and Goldsboro each day, said he has traveled across the state selling the items. He has been in Goldsboro for two weeks.

"This (Goldsboro) is a place I hadn't been to before," he said. "I was told I ought to come and investigate because people here had not seen the shirts."

He first set up shop in the Sears parking lot. He said he received permission from the store manager, but after four days he was asked to leave.

"I don't know if they got any pressure from the community or not," he said.

He is unsure how long he will remain in Goldsboro.

"I am getting such a good response from the people and they are excited about me being here that I don't see any need for me to be leaving at the moment," he said. "Everybody has been pleased, even the police.

"I have had an excellent response, people have been very pleased. I am talking both races of people are excited."

While response has been positive for the most part, Rashid said, "I still get some heckling. I get some people who go by and cuss at me."