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Knock, knock. No joke: It's Barack.

October 13, 2008|Seema Mehta

The routine of a suburban Sunday -- mowing the lawn, cleaning the house -- was shattered in Holland, Ohio, when Barack Obama unexpectedly dropped by for nearly an hour to knock on doors.

At the second house he visited on Shrewsbury Street, Sue Sekel opened the door clad in blue sweat pants and a "Las Vegas" shirt.

After the healthcare worker and the Democratic presidential nominee chatted and snapped a cellphone photo together, Sekel, 43, said Sunday was "the one day I come home to clean ceiling fans and look like crap, and then this happens."

Obama is spending three nights nearby to prepare for Wednesday's final presidential debate. Word quickly spread that he had taken a break to visit the Lincoln Green neighborhood. Dozens gathered on sidewalks, and three teenage girls with bare feet or in socks ran over with cameras.

"Where are your shoes?" Obama asked.

People talked on their cellphones to report the Obama sighting. "Dude, you'll never guess whose hand I just shook," one young man said.

Afterward, Shelly Kretz, a 38-year-old Procter & Gamble worker, said that she had been undecided, but that Obama's visit persuaded her to support him. "It's really awesome that he takes the time to talk to the middle class," she said.

One man shouted to Obama: "Do you believe in the American dream?"

When Obama said yes, the man complained about his taxes. Obama said he would cut taxes for most Americans, but the man did not seem convinced.

Walking away, Obama said, "I've got to go prepare for this debate, but that was pretty good practice."

-- Seema Mehta

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