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Nov 302012
 

JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) — Remember all those Obama campaign emails and their, shall we say, unusual subject lines?

“Hey,” wrote President Obama in at least five messages during the campaign.

“Hell yeah,” topped one note from strategist David Axelrod.

Beyonce Knowles teased in an inbox message, “I don’t usually email.”

And women’s rights activist Sandra Fluke provocatively reached out on “Legitimate rape.”

New data released by the campaign show that these and other catchy and casual phrases were hugely successful at getting Obama supporters to open the emails and click through to donate.

Most of the $690 million “Obama for America” raised through online fundraising came from direct email appeals, according to data provided by the president’s campaign exclusively to Bloomberg Businessweek and confirmed by ABC News.

The more casual and profane the tone, the campaign said, the more lucrative the blast.

Obama’s “Hey” subject-lined messages were the most effective pitches of all, though the campaign did not provide a specific dollar amount.

One Obama email blast from June 26 with the subject line, “I will be outspent,” raked in $2.5 million, the data provided to Bloomberg showed.  Other iterations of the same message sent under different subject headings — e.g. “Thankful every day,” or, “Michelle time” — were notably less successful, raking in $545,486 and $604,813, respectively.

The campaign relied on a staff of 20 full-time email writers who constantly drafted and experimented with different versions of appeals, officials said, sending them to small lists first to see what was most effective before mailing to a larger listserv of millions of names.

An October report by Return Path, an independent “email intelligence” group, found that Obama’s email campaign dwarfed that of GOP rival Mitt Romney in terms of scope and effectiveness.

The study found that Obama had 13 million email subscribers — five times as many as Romney — with a 68 percent inbox placement rate (evading spam filters).  Romney’s placement rate was just 50 percent, according to the group, which based its findings on a random sample of two million inboxes between Aug. 27 and Oct. 10.

All told, by ABC News’ count, Obama sent 65 fundraising emails under his name to his campaign listserv; Michelle Obama sent 35; Obama campaign manager Jim Messina sent 34; deputy campaign manager Stephanie Cutter sent 45; national field director Jeremy Bird sent 21; and former President Bill Clinton sent nine.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Nov 042012
 

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza(MILWAUKEE, WI.) — With less than two days until voters begin heading to the polls, the Obama campaign is heralding the mobilization of a massive battleground organizing operation – unprecedented in size and scope — that it says will be a decisive factor in the outcome on Nov. 6.

It is a “ground game unlike any that American politics has ever seen and much bigger than we did in 2008,” Obama campaign manager Jim Messina told reporters on an evening conference call Saturday.

“Our get-out-the-vote effort – built over years and running at full speed today – is the reason President Obama will be re-elected to a second term,” said Obama national field director Jeremy Bird.

In a memo detailing the operation, the Obama campaign says it has more than 5,000 get-out-the-vote “staging centers” (or, “hyper-local Obama campaign hubs”) going online across the battlegrounds this weekend and coordinating volunteers for nearly 700,000 canvassing shifts.

Aides said the campaign’s biggest advantage over Republicans was in registrations: 1.7 million voters this cycle – twice as many as it did during the 2008 campaign.

Of those voters, officials said, 28 percent (345,000) have already cast their ballots.

 “The math is clear: our opponent is losing among early voters in nearly every public poll in every battleground state, meaning that if these public polls are right, he would have to win 65 percent of the remaining votes in North Carolina, 59 percent in Iowa and Colorado, 58 percent in Nevada, 55 percent in Florida and Ohio, and 52 percent in Virginia and Wisconsin,” said Bird.

The campaign is also stressing the quality of its voter contacts compared to the Republican operation, which has relied on robo-calls on auto dialers and other forms of non-personal outreach.

“At the start of GOTV weekend, our volunteers have made more than 125 million personal phone calls or door knocks. These do not include robo calls on auto dialers, mail, literature drops or any other form of non-volunteer, non-personal contact,” Bird said. “They are personal outreach conversations. Many have historically favored quantity over quality. We do not. In each conversation we have with the voter, our goal is to make a difference.”

Republican officials dismissed the difference in type of contact, pointing to several recent public polls that show both campaigns are roughly on par with percentage of voters who said they had been contacted.

In the latest ABC News/Washington Post tracking poll, for example, 29 percent of likely voters said they had been contacted either by phone, in-person or online by the Obama campaign compared to 27 percent of voters saying they had been contacted by Romney.

Republicans also insist that the early vote totals touted by Team Obama include large numbers of high-propensity voters, or those who would have voted anyway, thereby not representing a net expansion in the electorate for Democrats.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Oct 152012
 

Alex Wong/Getty Images(CHICAGO) — The Obama campaign Monday blasted the latest battleground state polling that finds Mitt Romney with a five-point lead among likely voters, saying the Gallup/USA Today poll has “deep flaws.”

“Gallup’s data is once again far out of line with other public pollsters,” Obama’s pollster Joel Benenson wrote in a memo.

The survey of 12 key swing states finds Romney pulling ahead thanks to increased enthusiasm from women voters, a demographic that both campaigns have targeted aggressively. President Obama and the GOP nominee are tied 48 percent to 48 percent among women who are likely voters, the poll found.

“We believe the problem with Gallup’s outlying data is rooted in their 7 question likely voter screen, which distorts the composition of likely voters, leading to erratic and inaccurate results,” Benenson wrote.

“In the past, Gallup’s justification for such outlying numbers is that they are providing a snapshot of voter attitudes during a particular time period, not predicting the outcome of the election. But this implausible result among women appears to not even provide an accurate reflection on the electorate today, making its value questionable,” he said.

In response, the Republican National Committee said that “after spending the past two weeks talking about Big Bird, now the best President Obama’s campaign can do is litigate polling,” referring to Obama’s attacks against Mitt Romney for saying in the first debate that he would cut federal funding for public broadcasting to reduce the deficit.

“The truth is Team Obama can’t defend his record or explain what his plan is for the next four years,” an RNC spokeswoman said.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Oct 102012
 

J.D. Pooley/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — Mitt Romney says he has no plans to push new anti-abortion laws if elected, a position that could put him at odds with parts of his core constituency and his own running mate, Paul Ryan.

“There’s no legislation with regards to abortion that I’m familiar with that would become part of my agenda,” the Republican presidential nominee told Iowa’s Des Moines Register editorial board Tuesday.

Ryan, who will debate Vice President Biden Thursday Danville, Ky., has been one of the most active anti-abortion members of Congress, co-sponsoring a so-called “personhood” amendment during his last term. Under the proposed law, terminating a pregnancy would become illegal, even in cases of rape.

Romney’s comment inspired a unique kind of agreement between the two campaigns Wednesday, with both sides arguing the Republican was more dedicated to the anti-abortion cause than his remark in Iowa would suggest.

“Mitt Romney is proudly pro-life, and he will be a pro-life president,” Romney spokeswoman Andrea Saul said just hours after the comments were posted online. She later added Romney “would of course support legislation aimed at providing greater protections for life.”

From Chicago, the Obama camp pounced with spokeswoman Lis Smith saying today, “It’s troubling that Mitt Romney is so willing to play politics with such important issues. …Women simply can’t trust him.”

“We’re not saying that he’s changed his mind on these issues,” deputy campaign manager Stephanie Cutter said. “We’re saying he’s trying to cover up his beliefs.”

In the aftermath of his well-received debate performance, Romney has seen his support among women voters rise. Recent polls show him even with or just behind Obama, who has held a commanding lead for much of the campaign season.

The Susan B. Anthony list, a leading anti-abortion organization, told ABC News it was standing by Romney despite his softened rhetoric.

“He truly holds to the pro-life view in his mind and heart,” SBA List President Marjorie Dannenfelser said Wednesday morning. “That’s who he is.”

In a statement released earlier, Dannenfelser expressed “full confidence that as president, Governor Romney will stand by the pro-life commitments he laid out,” which include pledges to defund Planned Parenthood and pursue more stringent late-term abortion bans.

Romney’s tack to center could create some complications for his vice presidential nominee, Paul Ryan, who arrives in Kentucky Wednesday ahead of Thursday’s debate at Centre College in Danville.

The Wisconsin congressman has been one of the anti-abortion lobby’s most dependable voices in Washington, D.C. Last year, he worked with Missouri Senate candidate and House colleague Todd Akin on a bill stating “the life of each human being begins with fertilization… at which time every human being shall have all the legal and constitutional attributes and privileges of personhood.”

Romney, who supported abortion rights during his time as governor in Massachusetts, has changed his position and earned the backing of groups like the Susan B. Anthony List, which calls his new commitment to the anti-abortion cause “concrete.”

But unlike his running mate, Romney would make exceptions for pregnancies caused by rape and incest.

Ryan discussed the gap in their philosophies during a brief discussion aboard his campaign plane late in August.

“I’m proud of my record,” Ryan said. “Mitt Romney is going to be president and the president sets policy. His policy is exceptions for rape, incest and life of the mother. I’m comfortable with it because it’s a good step in the right direction.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Oct 052012
 

Comstock/Thinkstock(TOLEDO, Ohio) — The Obama campaign has won a legal victory in Ohio that, like other recent decisions, should make it easier for voters to cast their ballots.

A federal appeals court has ruled in favor of the Obama campaign and local Democratic National Committee officials who challenged Ohio’s early in-person voting system.

Friday’s ruling is the latest to favor Democrats in cases challenging voter restrictions in the weeks leading up to the election.

In 2011, the voting deadlines in Ohio were changed to allow only military and overseas voters to participate in early voting three days before the election.

Democrats — who challenged the change — argued that a significant number of Ohio voters would be precluded from voting without the additional three days of in-person early voting.

On Friday, a three-judge panel of the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in favor of the Democrats. The court affirmed a lower court’s issuance of a preliminary injunction against the change in the law.

“While we readily acknowledge the need to provide military voters more time to vote,” the court ruled, “we see no corresponding justification for giving others less time.”

The court said it was returning discretion to local boards of elections to allow all Ohio voters to vote from Saturday, Nov. 3, through Monday, Nov. 5.

The court said, “The state must show that its decision to reduce the early voting time for non-military voters is justified by a ‘sufficiently weighty’ interest. The state has proposed no interest which would justify reducing the opportunity to vote by a considerable segment of the voting population.”

John Husted, Ohio’s Republican secretary of state, has argued in part that the reduced voting hours were necessary to address the needs of the Ohio elections board as it prepared for Election Day. The state also claimed that military service members and their families had unique challenges when it came to voting so that in-person early voting should be extended to them, but not to other Ohio voters.

Husted issued a statement Friday: “My office is reviewing today’s decision by the court as we determine the best course of action moving forward. … No action will be taken today or this weekend.”

Husted has the option of appealing the decision to the full panel of judges on the 6th Circuit.

An Obama campaign official, meanwhile, hailed the decision and touted it as the latest in a string of legal victories for the campaign involving voting rights.

“Ohio joins Wisconsin, Florida, New Hampshire and Pennsylvania as states that turned back restrictions on voter access and limitations on voter participation,” Obama for America general counsel Bob Bauer said in a prepared statement. “The appellate court today affirmed the district court’s decision in ‘OFA v. Husted’ and held unanimously that every Ohioan should have equal access to early voting. As a result of this decision, every voter, including military, veterans, and overseas voters alongside all Ohioans, will have the same opportunity to vote early through the weekend and Monday before the election.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio