A trusted reader known personally by this columnist writes in to ask about an unusual canvassing technique she discovered last night, when a friend greeted an Obama volunteer at the door to her home in Arlington, Virginia. At first, the male volunteer asked her who she was supporting, if anyone. Then, he asked her for a $200 donation on Obama's behalf.

It is very unusual for a presidential campaign to solicit donors as part of their door-to-door canvassing program; is this an isolated case of a volunteer departing from the script? Or is this strategy?

I put the question to the Obama campaign. A spokesman for Virginia State Director Mitch Stewart said that the conjoining of what's known in the trades as "IDs" and fundraising is not standard operating procedure and to his knowledge, was not what the volunteers were instructed to do.

In any event, it ought to impress folks that the Obama campaign is canvassing this early in Northern Virginia -- in the middle of the week, no less.

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