MICHELE NORRIS, Host:
In South Florida, retirement communities hosted one of the political season's more unusual campaign events this past weekend. Comedian Sarah Silverman made this video to promote what organizers called The Great Schlep.
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NORRIS: There's nobody more important or influential over your grandparents than their grandkids, you. If they vote for Barack Obama, they're going to get another visit this year. If not, let's just hope they stay healthy until next year.
NORRIS: The Great Schlep enlisted young Jews in a campaign to influence an important voting bloc in one of the nation's tightest battleground states. NPR's Greg Allen tagged along with one young Obama supporter when he visited his grandparents in Florida's Boynton Beach.
GREG ALLEN: Taylor Magenheim is 24 years old and a film studio assistant in L.A. Saturday morning, he took the red eye to Palm Beach County and soon found himself in the middle of a movie of his own.
U: So handsome.
U: Well, he's handsome like his Uncle Brian.
U: There's a family thing going on there.
ALLEN: When Taylor called his grandmother, Sandy Magenheim, and told her he wanted to come visit as part of the Great Schlep, her first question was what would you like to eat?
NORRIS: Well, I was very excited because I was finally going to get to see my grandson. He's very busy and he doesn't have much time, so I was just thrilled. Whatever I needed to do, I needed to do. It was fine.
ALLEN: Like the majority of Jewish voters in South Florida, Sandy is a registered Democrat. Her husband, Sid Levine, is registered Republican. They're hosting a gathering at their home in the Cascades, one of Palm Beach County's many active adult communities. The conversations soon turns to the financial crisis and what John McCain or Barack Obama can do about it. Sandy Magenheim's longtime friend Barbara Shapiro has known Taylor since he was a baby. She listens as he questions McCain's leadership when the bailout package was being considered in Congress.
NORRIS: I think that this is something that there's no reason why any party should disagree. And it's ridiculous.
U: You know, I've been through of a lot of elections, and you go into the nail place and everybody is drying their nails and the women are discussing, and you've never seen that before.
ALLEN: Sandy Magenheim, her friends June Schneider and Barbara Shapiro all voted for Hillary Clinton in the primary. Schneider and Shapiro say they're now going with Obama. Magenheim, though, says she's still on the fence about who she'll support in November.
NORRIS: It's certain things you can't get past.
NORRIS: What kind of things...?
U: Well, the Reverend Wright. The Reverend Wright.
NORRIS: Because when you hear stuff like that, you should get up and walk out. And he heard it for a lot of years.
ALLEN: Despite their misgivings, it soon becomes clear that with this group, young Taylor Magenheim has hit pay dirt. Some Republican commentators in South Florida criticized plans for the Great Schlep, saying young people should be coming to Florida not to talk but to listen to their grandparents. But that's not the attitude here. Even Sid Levine, the lone registered Republican, says he wants to hear what his grandson has to say.
NORRIS: Kids today have a lot of influence. They come in with good ideas. And as long as, you know, they talk like we're doing here, I think they have an influence. I think it's important. And that's important that they talk
ALLEN: Taylor Magenheim did more than just talk politics this past weekend. Sandy Magenheim tells her friends, he fixed the neighbor's new TV.
NORRIS: He hit a button and the guy's head wasn't cut off anymore. And now he says, we could see what they're saying about the show.
ALLEN: Now, that's a grandson you can brag about. Greg Allen, NPR News.
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