On Thursday, the day after the final presidential debate, the national Republican National Committee (RNC) launched one of the most wide-reaching robocall campaigns in election history.
Voters from Ohio, Colorado, New Mexico, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Missouri, North Carolina, Florida, Texas, West Virginia, Maine, New Hampshire, Indiana, Delaware, Illinois, Georgia and even Canada have received pre-recorded, automated phone calls designed to frighten voters by tying Barack Obama to former member of the Weather Underground Bill Ayers. The robocall lasts about half a minute and includes the following statement:
I’m calling on behalf of John McCain and the RNC because you need to know that Barack Obama has worked closely with domestic terrorist, Bill Ayers, whose organization bombed the U.S. Capitol, the Pentagon, a judge’s home, and killed Americans.
Another call said:
I’m calling on behalf of John McCain and the RNC because you need to know that Barack Obama and his Democrat allies in the Illinois Senate opposed a bill requiring doctors to care for babies born alive after surviving attempted abortions.
Both the charges are false: Obama merely sat on a committee with Ayers (both were appointed by a Republican who was a close friend of President Reagan), and Obama supports requirements to provide care to babies born (a law that was already on the books and did not require duplication).
According to Talking Points Memo, who has enumerated many of the robocalls, other McCain robocalls question Barack Obama’s patriotism or make outlandish claims that Barack Obama and other Democrats “are not who you think they are.” One robocall attempts to strike fear into the hearts of undecided voters by claiming that Obama only “says” he wants to keep America safe. One robocall ominously claims:
Democrats will enact an extreme leftist agenda if they take control of Washington. Barack Obama and his Democratic allies lack the judgment to lead our country.
Some reports indicated that McCain’s robocalls to Minnesota may have been illegal because they did not comply to state laws in that state for pre-recorded, automated calls. Spokesperson Ben Golnik of the McCain campaign quickly issued a statement that each call made to Minnesota was made by a live person, a volunteer in spite of the high cost — about ten times the cost of a robocall.
Meanwhile, the Arizona Republican Party sent out an email newsletter Thursday evening whose headline read:
Put an end to Robo-Calls From Campaigns Today!!!
ARE YOU TIRED OF AUTOMATED CAMPAIGN CALLS THAT INTERRUPT YOU DURING DINNER?
Their answer, in the body of the email, is not to end their unwelcome, unpopular automatic dialers and digital recordings. Rather, this is their answer:
Return your early ballot today!
Early ballot requests and returns are reported to political candidates and parties by Arizona’s county recorders. Returning your early ballot will take your name off many call lists within a matter of days!
You’ll also be helping Republican campaigns by saving them the time and money of calling you to ask for your vote if they know you’ve already voted!
In short, if you want to be removed from the Republican Party’s call list — vote today. Finally, a good idea from the McCain campaign.
Before the slew of robocalls began this week, the McCain campaign had already placed more than three times the number of robocalls as the Obama campaign. In fact, the McCain campaign has called every state that is a battleground state, as well as some of the red states. Barack Obama has only placed robocalls in Missouri and Kansas.
the Arizona Republican Party Barack Obama spread the word: The quicker voters return their early ballots, the fewer calls they’ll receive this election — and don’t forget to ask voters to check the box for Barack Obama for President of the United States of America.
Update: There is an Democrats are outspending the Republicans here in McCain’s home state of Arizona article this morning that says that the Democrats are outspending the Republicans here in McCain’s home state of Arizona. Are they so broke they can’t afford their robo calls? lol
Cross-posted from my Outpost Politics column at Huffington Post.