Skip to comments.Many Obama supporters never received 3am VP wake-up text
Posted on 08/25/2008 2:42:26 PM PDT by Cicero
Many Obama supporters never received 3am VP wake-up text
By Scott M. Fulton, III, BetaNews
August 25, 2008, 12:30 PM
"Barack has chosen Senator Joe Biden to be our VP nominee," read the Obama campaign's early morning SMS message to his supporters. Trouble was, even by that time, many already knew it, and some weren't even getting the message.
The original plan was for Barack Obama supporters nationwide to be the first to receive the news of his vice presidential running mate. But well over two hours before many of those supporters received what ended up being, perhaps in an inadvertent tribute to Hillary Clinton, a 3am EDT wake-up call on August 25, CNN correspondent John King was the first to go live with the news that two highly-placed, then anonymous sources within the Democratic Party had confirmed to him that Joseph Biden was Sen. Obama's choice.
"[I] am happy with Senator Biden joining our team. I am not happy with the way Team Obama handled making this announcement," wrote one commenter named Barbara on Barack Obama's presidential blog Saturday. "I did receive my text at 3 am while I was sleeping this morning. All week I worked with the cell phone out on my desk...How disappointing is this to go to sleep and have my boyfriend who did not sign up for the text, call me at 5:30 with the news in full blast on the TV!"
As another commenter named Katie wrote, "The text messaging gimmick has me miffed. The campaign gets this one free pass, but don't use your supporters again to control the news cycle. A message in the 'wee hours of Saturday morning' -- lame. I expect better going forward."
Earlier, Obama supporters had been told to expect the announcement at 8:00 am EDT, on the morning prior to the presumptive nominee's first joint appearance with his VP choice -- which was already well known to be Saturday.
But what Obama supporters may not have expected was that the text message promise would end up as the equivalent of throwing down the gauntlet for traditional reporters. Rather than see thousands of political junkies turn to the telephone for their news, TV media outlets in particular ended up camping out in front of the private residences of Sen. Biden, Gov. Tim Kaine (Va.) and Sen. Evan Bayh (Ind.). As midnight approached, the circumstantial evidence was gathering. ABC News' Jake Tapper reported that Secret Service agents had arrived at Biden's home, and no such motorcades adorned Gov. Kaine's or Sen. Bayh's residences.
What CNN's Larry King wondered was why a scoop, if there was to be one, wouldn't have lasted only a mere few seconds. As he asked correspondent Candy Crowley late Friday night, as "speculation" was either being continued or convincingly feigned, "Help me with the text message thing. Let's hear the first person. Let's call him Oscar. Oscar, tomorrow morning, at ten after six, gets a text message. Why doesn't he just call CNN and tell them who the vice presidential nominee is?"
Holding her own phone up, Crowley responded, "Well, because, you know, he won't need to because all of us have signed up for the text message."
An undisclosed number of persons signed up over their phones to receive the early word on Obama's choice by dialing the "short code" number 62262. On August 10, the day the campaign stated it would unveil its decision by text message, traffic on Sprint's "Now" Short Code network jumped to 75% above normal, according to a statement this morning. Traffic peaked again to 175% above normal four days later, when the campaign used that channel to announce it had heard from its two millionth donor.
But when the Biden announcement was made, Sprint Now traffic jumped well over 250% over normal, probably providing a welcome short-term revenue boost.
Yet not all 62262 subscribers even received their messages at all, including BetaNews' own Nate Mook. "I did get confirmation that I would be sent the message after I submitted my text initially," Nate told us this morning. "And I received another text in between asking me to sign up for notices about local events. So I was definitely on their list. The Biden text just never arrived."
Twitter users also posted their disappointment. GinnyRed57 described herself this way: "is pining for her text message from Obama. Biden my time, in fact."
Freelance writer Steven Leckart's Twitter feed was directed toward Sen. Obama's: "@barackobama, i did not get a text message re: joe biden. i had to find out on cnn.com. so much for circumventing mainstream media, barry."
Hundreds of similar messages were posted to Twitter on Saturday from people who never received their text message from Obama.
One Daily Kos blogger also didn't get the call. "Verizon Wireless never sent me the VP text message from the Obama campaign this morning," wrote jatkin02. "This disappointed me, of course, because I'm a political junkie and signed up for delivery within minutes of the campaign's first announcement of the event."
Jatkin02 went on to cast suspicion both on the campaign's text message distributor -- Distributive Networks, which has already won awards such as the coveted "Golden Dot" for how it's handled the Obama campaign -- and on Verizon Wireless, the blogger's carrier. However, responses to the post indicate that both Verizon and Sprint subscribers were among those who didn't get awakened early Saturday morning.
Sen. Obama's campaign had not issued a statement regarding missed texts, as of early Monday afternoon.
Meanwhile, the Wonkette blog had already reported that it could be an easy affair for a spoofer to send a false text message on behalf of the Obama campaign ("Barack has chosen Richard Lugar as his running mate..."), and sign it with the response address of 62262. The suggestion was accompanied by a picture of unwilling Obama representative Paris Hilton, and categorized as a type of low-grade hack using a term we simply can't repeat here.
One responder said he or she already sent out messages suggesting that Obama had chosen former Vice President Walter Mondale.
Idiots. I bet it doesn’t wake them from their stupor.
A selection of reader comments:
Obama really screwed the pooch on how this whole VP announcement was handled.
1) If there’s one thing everyone in the media knows, it is that you do not try to make news on a weekend. So the fact that the text message wasn’t sent out before the morning national news shows (”The Early Show”, “The Today Show”, “Good Morning America”) began at 7am ET on Friday was a colossal mistake.
2) This is one of the most traveled weeks of the summer (if not THE most traveled week). So by waiting until Saturday, Obama potentially lost out on a lot of the buzz he could have generated with a much larger audience, had so many people not been on vacation. [And let’s not forget, why would the Democrats pick this busy vacation week for their convention in the first place?]
3) 3AM? Are you serious? You’re going to annoy a couple million of your supporters by waking them at 3AM to announce this? And didn’t Hillary already own the whole 3AM thing from her ad bashing Obama earlier this year?
By Niro posted Aug 25, 2008 - 2:32 PM
“3) 3AM? Are you serious? You’re going to annoy a couple million of your supporters by waking them at 3AM to announce this? And didn’t Hillary already own the whole 3AM thing from her ad bashing Obama earlier this year?”
The plan was to send the text message at 8am, but those plans got ruined when CNN somehow learned of the story and leaked it shortly after midnight. Once the story was leaked, the campaign had to send out the message before the news story broke out (which would have made an 8am text just dumb).
By dkratter posted Aug 25, 2008 - 4:16 PM
Yes, better to annoy your supporters and at the same time make everyone remember the whole 3AM Hillary ad, than to be scooped by CNN! Clearly someone on their media/PR team needs to be fired.
Obama’s Idiots are, apparently, even capable of screwing up a train wreck.
Nimrods. And they want to run the country . . . .
Not only buyer’s remorse, they got stuck holding a empty bag.
Only problem is that by November, half of these cell phones will have their accounts closed due to non-payment.....
The Dems could screw up a wet dream.
There was speculation all day long Friday here on FR. Once the news that the Secret Service had been dispatched to Delaware was posted here at 8:08 pm est the news was pretty much confirmed. A text anytime after that would have kept their word pretty much. Instead they hemmed and hawed for more than 6 hours before sending it off. Yep they will be great in response to some real crisis at 3 am.
I think Obama’s team did this text message thing to primarily get the phone numbers of those who signed up. Bet all those that signed up get “spammed” a lot between now and November.
Maybe some people enjoy getting courtesy calls from politicians. Personally, it would drive me mad. I can’t think of anything that would be more likely to put me off.
Are these guys so young and naive that they think the Great Obama is personally texting them?