Obama’s nice try

promotion from Obama's websiteIt was supposed to be a way to let supporters in on a big decision before the mainstream — a way to prove that his candidacy was going to be different. Barack Obama’s hype over a text message announcement has turned out, however, to be nothing more than a way to gather phone numbers and email addresses, and there aren’t a lot of people too happy with it. Word that Obama’s running mate would be Senator Joe Biden came via more traditional news sources, and as a result, the Democratic candidate blew a significant opportunity to prove not only that his candidacy is going to be different but also that he’s tech savvy beyond his opponent.

Three hours after the news broke, the campaign sent this text message (in the middle of the friggin’ night) to supporters who had bought his “I’ll let you know first” bullshit promise.

“Barack has chosen Senator Joe Biden to be our VP nominee.”

How special. Paid Content’s Matt Kapko expressed what most are thinking.

If the leak was authorized—which seems likely since cable news networks and news outlets were confirming the news directly within minutes—did the Obama campaign abandon the first-of-its-kind plan to break the news via SMS and email or did it simply fail on the backend?

Valleywag’s reaction contained an element of snark.

So much for being the first to know, as Barack Obama’s campaign promised Internet users who handed over their email addresses and cell-phone numbers in exchange for early notice of Obama’s VP pick.

This is a blunder of significant proportions, given the number of people who signed up for the service and what they can now expect downstream (can you say “election spam?”). Here’s the thing. If the campaign promised these supporters that they would be first, then they had an obligation to let them know first. Leaks are an unacceptable excuse, for Obama’s character is on-the-line.


  1. I got my text at almost 3AM on the dot. I checked with a friend in another time zone, and she got hers at almost 3AM on the dot, too. I think it’s a clever and hysterical echo of the “Who do you want answering the phone at 3AM” thing.

  2. Oh, c’mon, Terry.

    The Obama campaign tried to go over the heads of the press, which is no friend to a Democratic candidate (see the Ron Fournier AP piece today on Biden’s selection, written by a reporter who should be nowhere near the campaign because of his attempt to land a job with McCain).

    Someone, and it could not have been Obama’s campaign, leaked the key detail — Secret Service protection for Biden.

    So the e‑mail goes at 3am, certainly earlier than the campaign had hoped, but before perfect confirmation of the news.

    And anyone who expects thousands of people will all get their text messages and e‑mails at exactly the moment after they’re sent is living in a dream world.

    And to conflate this into a character issue is just plain nonsense. There’s plenty in the resumes of the candidates on which to base a character judgment. An e‑mail? That’s not just a stretch — it’s a false premise.

    “Obama’s late with the e‑mails, so he’ll be late on responding to the Russians.” “He didn’t get me my e‑mail first. How can I trust him to get me my tax cut first?” Are you laughing yet, because it’s a plainly ridiculous premise.

  3. Sorry, Dave. We’ll just have to agree to disagree. Comparing this email with responding to the Russians is clearly ridiculous, and I don’t think it belongs in the argument. I think the campaign blew it, and that’s that. The real test will come when the campaign is tempted to use those cellphone numbers and email addresses for purposes other than informing supporters of real campaign news.

    I expected something different from him, and I’m disappointed. I think he owes us an apology.

  4. while i agree that it sucks this happened, the whole premise of being ‘the first to know’, in the internet age, is rendered impossible.

    simply be online when anything gets out and you’ll be among the first to know, but that’s about as good as it’s going to get going forward.

    and about it being “leaked”? i often refer to this video about leaks in washington… stick with it till the end (click tdc).

  5. Ron Mexico says

    This is a ridiculous article. Hyperbolic trash.


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