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Howard Dean Wants 'Neighborhood Leaders' For Democratic Party

Democratic National Committee chair Howard Dean was in Portland Monday.  He was signing up people for a program modeled after a Republican recruiting technique.  Colin Fogarty reports.

In 2004, Republican campaigners for President Bush employed recruiting techniques pioneered by network marketers.

The sale of Amway products, for example, depends on one-on-one contact.  Now, the Democratic National Committee has a program to systematically find what it calls “neighborhood leaders”.

Democratic Party of Oregon chair Meredith Wood Smith says each of those leaders is expected to find 50 neighbors to contact at least four times before election day.  They’ll also find two more leaders like themselves.

However, Wood Smith is loath to say Democrats are taking a page from the GOP playbook.

Meredith Wood Smith:  "I think we looked at what was successful for them.  We also recognize that it’s that person-to-person contact that we have that makes the difference."

Wood Smith says she’s especially hoping the recruiting program will allow Democrats to make inroads in rural parts of the state, where Republicans are in the majority.