Hello Chris (and Ann),Yeah, have fun, kids. Play at your little democracy thing. Meanwhile — you, you pesky little blogger-connected county delegate — you won't be seeing any of our mailings anymore. We've stricken your name from our list. And if anyone else shows up and complains about Obama mailings to Clinton delegates, we can fix their double-coding too. Now, go off and don't worry anymore.
I am a volunteer for the Obama campaign in Texas. I saw this post (via Marc Ambinder), and was surprised, because I thought we were only contacting Obama delegates. That's what we've been in my part of TX, anyway.
So I checked the voter file (screenshot attached), and it looks like there was data entry error. You ended up being coded as BOTH a Hillary Clinton and a Barack Obama delegate. Apparently both the Texas Democratic Party and the Travis County Party added your data, and it looks like one of them made a mistake. I think the postcards are being sent to anyone coded as an Obama delegate, which (mistakenly) includes you. I deleted the Obama delegate code, so you shouldn't get mistakenly bothered again.
Anyway, have fun at your convention.
Do you trust the caucus process?
UPDATE: Chris emails:
I just asked some of the other delegates if they've gotten material from the Obama campaign. The only one to respond was a Clinton delegate, who said he's also received fliers from Obama, and is just surprised that he's gotten material from Obama but not from Clinton. Now I don't think it was a mistake. I think they just tried to make it look like one after the fact.
ANOTHER UPDATE: I have email from an Obama county convention delegate saying he's gotten email from the Clinton campaign. (I recognize the email as something Chris got — an invitation to a conference call tonight with Bill Clinton.)
YET ANOTHER UPDATE: Andrew Romano at Newsweek wrote about this post:
Apparently, Obama has mailed these postcards to all Texas county delegates, not just his own. This is precisely what the Clintonites did in Iowa. If you'll remember, Clinton spokesman Phil Singer told me at the time that the Iowa Democratic Party had provided the campaign with an incomplete list of delegate affiliations, meaning that "the point of the call is to identify our delegates." But a quick check with the IDP revealed that "80 percent" of the county delegates were, in fact, linked to their chosen candidates on the lists sent to the campaigns--including at least one Obama supporter, Lance Jenkins, who specifically reported receiving the Clinton robocall.That got a response from the Obama campaign:
That means that both Obama and Clinton are, in effect, asking their rival's delegates for support.
Now, don't get me wrong. Both the Clinton call (which included a "press 1 if you support Hillary" option) and the Obama postcard are serving another purpose--roll call and reminder, respectively. What's more, wooing delegates at the county level--or, for that matter, the national level--is part of the game (although both campaigns have forsworn the practice, at least nationally); campaigns are supposed to make sure that the maximum number of supporters show up at each level (county, district, state). And there's almost no chance that such subtle seduction would work to any significant degree. I mean, anyone swayed by a robocall or a postcard--especially the hardcore supporters chosen to serve as delegates--doesn't deserve to vote in the first place.
But these under-the-radar "outreach efforts"--which essentially say, "By the way, vote for me"--are worth remembering. Because if neither Obama nor Clinton clinches the nomination by the end of primary season in June, they'll be forced to spend the summer jockeying for any possible advantage--and this is exactly the sort of passive, grey-area poaching that you can expect to see.
According to Obama spokesman Bill Burton, the post card in question was mistakenly sent to a Clinton delegate--not, as I previously believed, to the entire list of Texas county delegates, regardless of affiliation. "The Texas Democratic Party gave us a list of delegates that indicated him as an Obama delegate--which is why he got the errant post card," he says. "The suggestion that we have a passive strategy of trying to flip Clinton's pledged delegates by sending one postcard to one guy is pretty ludicrous on its face." If that's what happened, I absolutely agree. I'm double-checking with the Texas Democratic Party to confirm that the delegate in question was listed as a Clinton supporter and find out whether others also received the mailing. I'll post another update when I hear back.And here's how Christopher responded to all that:
Andrew Romano,Chris later adds that the other Clinton delegate he wrote to emailed him:
I wanted to respond to your post about the the post card I was sent by the Obama campaign. Bill Burton's explanation is, I think, inaccurate. Here is the list published by the Travis County Democrats online, which clearly indicates that I am a Clinton delegate:
I am the Hillary Convention Captain in my precinct, so I was actually sent that list a while ago, I believe as soon as it was released to the campaigns, so that I could check my precinct's list for accuracy. There were some spelling errors on that list originally, but my entry was always correct, and I was always listed as a Clinton delegate there.
A volunteer wrote to me and was quoted in the post you linked to, and his explanation was that I was double-coded as both an Obama and a Clinton supporter in the list they used. The Travis County Democrats list had me only as a Clinton supporter, so if I really was double-coded, it seems like it was the Obama campaign that added the extra code, intentional or not.
I actually thought it could have been a mistake, so I e-mailed a couple of the Clinton delegates in my precinct, and asked if they had received materials from Obama. One of those two Clinton delegates said, "I have received mailings form the Obama campaign...Suprised I haven't received anything from the Clinton campaign." The other delegate I wrote to hasn't responded, but she doesn't e-mail as much. In any event, I don't think this was sent to just "one guy."
Thanks for writing about this.
[She] said that she, too, had received post cards and e-mails. Were all three of us accidentally double-coded or written in as Obama delegates? I personally doubt it.Me too.
ADDED: Romano does some investigating, and I respond to him here.