Saturday, October 18, 2008

On robocalling and smearing your opponent

As Sen. McCain tries 'last ditch' efforts at smearing Sen. Obama through automated robocalls that aim to tie Obama to Ayers, it is instructive to look back to the year 2000 when McCain was running against sitting POTUS George Bush in the primaries and they used automated calls in a vicious campaign to smear each other.

An article from Feb 2000 in the Times here:

Supporters of Mr. McCain reported receiving automated telephone calls in which the recorded voice of the evangelist Pat Robertson urged them to ''protect unborn babies and restore religious freedom'' by opposing Mr. McCain. As he has on his cable television program, Mr. Robertson, a supporter of Mr. Bush, accuses Mr. McCain of having chosen as his national chairman ''a vicious bigot who wrote that conservative Christians in politics are anti-abortion zealots, homophobes and would-be censors.''

Adrienne Karns, who lives in the Detroit suburb of Birmingham, said she received a call at 5:30 this afternoon that issued a ''Catholic voters alert.'' Then, she said, the anonymous voice told her ''that George Bush had gone to Bob Jones University, and Bob Jones University was anti-Catholic, and George Bush was anti-Catholic.'' Then, she continued, ''It said John McCain was pro-Catholic and I should vote for John McCain.''
It is clear that McCain is using the same trashy tactics from 2000 which the Republican vote machine seems to have perfected then. Of course, this time around it does not look like it might work that well (according to this study). Thanks to Marc Ambinder for the link...

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