Sunday, March 09, 2008

"‘3 a.m. girl’ hopes Obama answers phone"

Tacoma New Tribune:
A slumbering girl in Hillary Rodham Clinton’s “Who do you want answering the phone at 3 a.m.?” campaign ad is mostly grown up now, and it turns out she lives in Bonney Lake.

Guess which of the Democratic candidates she wants to answer that phone? Barack Obama.

The stock advertising footage of the sleeping grade-schooler was shot some eight years ago, and the girl, Casey Knowles, is now 17 and a devoted Obama supporter.

She’s slated to tell her story on ABC’s “Good Morning America Weekend” today and on NBC’s “Today” show Monday, her mother, Pam Knowles said in an interview Saturday night. Casey and her dad, Richard, were winging their way to New York on Saturday.

The pro-Clinton ad, which ran in Texas before last week’s primary-caucus, opens with a few seconds of Casey sleeping and asks whom voters would prefer in the White House in a crisis.

Casey and the commercial have been a hot topic on Internet blogs and on the campaign trail. In Wyoming on Friday, Obama used humor and disdain to address how he would handle a national emergency at 3 a.m.

“What do people think I’m going to do? I’m going to answer the phone,” he said.

Casey was filmed when the family used to work as extras for commercials, Pam said.

Though Casey and her mom had heard about the ad in the news, they didn’t see it until Thursday night on “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart.”

“My son goes, ‘That was Casey on TV,’” Pam recalled. The family replayed the segment on their digital video recorder. “After we saw her, we lost all consciousness! We couldn’t believe it. … We were all like, ‘Oh my gosh, you’re the 3 a.m. girl!’”

The incredulous Casey laughed, especially at the irony.

The Bonney Lake High senior, who turns 18 next month, has been campaigning for Obama. She was a Democratic precinct captain at the Feb. 9 caucus. She and some friends saw him speak Feb. 8 at KeyArena. As the candidate walked through the crowd, Casey shook his hand.

“She called my husband right after that,” said Pam, an elementary school secretary. “She was crying and trembling. … Her dream is to be able to meet him.”

The teen was featured in a CNN piece Saturday and said it was “perfect timing” that the old footage is surfacing now.

“I think it would be wonderful if Barack Obama and I could get together and do a counter-ad,” she said on CNN.

Casey is interested in politics and hopes to study international studies in college. She’s a vegan, holds a 3.67 grade-point average, and belongs to the school’s Amnesty International group and Animal Allies club, her mom said.

It’s been a whirlwind for the family since they saw the commercial. Pam told her brother about Casey being in it, and he told a friend at KING 5 News. No sooner had the news story aired on that channel than Casey began getting calls from national media outlets. Obama’s Illinois campaign headquarters called Casey on Saturday.

Pam and Brady, Casey’s 15-year-old brother, plan to join Casey and her dad today in New York, courtesy of “Good Morning America.” The ABC program is paying airfare and three nights in a hotel for the family.
Howie P.S.: Casey Knowles of Bonney Lake appears Monday on the “Today” show, 7 a.m., KING, Channel 5.

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