Veep alert = cash call

The Obama campaign comes up with yet another new-media gimmick to raise some cash.

Published August 11, 2008 1:34PM (EDT)

In my in box Sunday night was a mass e-mail from the Obama campaign teasing supporters about the upcoming selection of Barack Obama's running mate by promising to let them know immediately, by e-mail or text message, once the decision is made ... and then asking them for some cash. Here's the e-mail:

Dear Thomas --

Barack Obama is about to make one of the most important decisions of this campaign -- choosing a running mate.

You have helped build this movement from the bottom up, and Barack wants you to be the first to know his choice.

Sign up today to be the first to know:

You will receive an email the moment Barack makes his decision, or you can text VP to 62262 to receive a text message on your mobile phone.

Once you've signed up, please forward this email to your friends, family, and coworkers to let them know about this special opportunity. No other campaign has done this before. You can be part of this important moment.

Be the first to know who Barack selects as his running mate.

Thanks, David Plouffe

Campaign Manager, Obama for America

So far as I can tell, supporters need not donate to get the e-mail or text alert. But really, whether sending in some money or not, will the news actually take that long to reach Obama supporters anyway? I doubt it. And if the media gets the story via leak a bit early, even a few hours, will the e-mail/text reach their in boxes or mobile phones before the running mate's identity is blasted all over radio and television? I double-doubt it.

But hand it to Team Obama: It does find new and inventive ways to solicit supporters by e-mail to donate a little something extra.

By Thomas Schaller

Thomas F. Schaller is professor of political science at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County and the author of "Whistling Past Dixie: How Democrats Can Win Without the South." Follow him @schaller67.

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