Obama to announce veep selection by text

August 18, 2008 7:29:32 PM PDT
Sometime in the next few days Sen. Barack Obama will announce his running mate and there is a growing list of people who will all be the first to know.

Back in June, Obama told reporters that he would not discuss the vice presidential selection process until he had made a decision.

Now, Obama's campaign Web site says the first to know will be those who have signed up to receive the news on their cell phones via text message.

"It's just, I guess, the quickest way to find out who the VP is going to be," David Shlachter, a Harvard graduate student who has signed up for the campaign alerts said.

It is also a way for the Obama campaign to track Shlachter and the thousands like him.

"There's a whole group of new young voters who don't have land lines who, in some cases, don't even use computers regularly -- they're using their cell phones," Parker Blackman said.

Blackman manages the San Francisco office of Fenton Communications, a public relations firm specializing in work for liberal nonprofits. He said Obama's choice to text message his vice presidential choice reinforces his message of change and inclusiveness.

"It's a way for that campaign to then capture information and be able to go back to those people again with more messages about the campaign, to raise money, to urge those people to go out and vote," Blackman said.

In sharp contrast, Sen. John McCain has said he is not that comfortable with the Internet. Republican advertiser Bob Gardner said the difference could go either way for the candidates.

"Well, sometimes you can be too clever by half," Gardner said. "You can want to seem on the cutting edge of technology, but if all these people are going to be bothered by fund raisers once their cell phone numbers are captures then that's not necessarily a good thing."

It did back fire on telephone sales pitches -- the result was a national "do not call" list, but Shlachter did not seem concerned.

"It works -- because I keep giving him money," he said.

The Obama campaign declined to tell ABC7 how many people have signed up for the alert.

There is a lot of speculation Obama's announcement will come Tuesday or Wednesday. ABC News' George Stephanopolis says the favorites are Sen. Evan Bayh of Indiana, Gov. Tim Kaine of Virginia and Sen. Joseph Biden of Delaware. Former Georgia senator Sam Nunn is considered a dark horse contender and Sen. Hillary Clinton is the 50 to 1 long shot.

Related Link:
Sign up to get a text message alert when Obama announces his VP selection


Load Comments