EMMETSBURG, Iowa -- Michele Bachmann entered the Pizza Ranch, a ubiquitous chain in Iowa, here Saturday afternoon, shook a few hands, and then went behind the counter to pose with the chain store's staff for a video.
A Bachmann staffer held up a small camcorder and recorded the Republican presidential candidate giving a short greeting directly to Palo Alto County residents. Bachmann's campaign manager, Keith Nahigian, told The Huffington Post the clip would be part of a "caucus training video."
"They will help people: This is the caucus; this is what it is; this is the day; this is the time," Nahigian said. "What we're doing is 99 different county videos to give back to our county chair -- we have county chairs in all 99 counties -- to give to their precinct captains to send out on social media, Facebook."
"We have ability to email according to their zip codes and their Google imaging mapping of like on Facebook and other things, so we can place them right in the counties, all 99 counties," Nahigian said.
Bachmann on Sunday is launching day three of a 99-county bus tour that is ambitious in scope to the point that some campaign stops, like the one at a very crowded coffee shop in Algona on Saturday, consisted of her walking in the door, shaking hands and posing for photos for a few minutes, and then being gently pushed out the door by her husband, Marcus, to keep her on schedule.
Mr. Bachmann told HuffPost he was performing a variety of functions. "Time keeper, encourager, police, muscle," he joked.
Bachmann visited 13 different towns in 13 counties on Saturday, starting at 9 a.m. and finishing up more than 12 hours later. She is doing 28 events over the first three days of the bus tour starting Sunday. So each stop is rushed, and some pass in the blink of an eye.
But at most of them, Nahigian said, Bachmann was taping a video to arm their campaign with an individualized message to recruit caucus-goers, largely over social media.
"We are going to have 99 localized videos talking directly to that unique county," Nahigian said. "We will also do a different version for caucuses, where someone wants to stand up and hold an iPad and play her video. It will be a direct appeal to that county."
"No one's ever done this, so it's kind of cool."
Campaign Solutions, a Virginia-based firm, is helping the Bachmann campaign target the videos to Facebook users in the right counties, for example. The Bachmann campaign has been innovative in its use of technology already this cycle, targeting Bachmann ads to land on the smart phones of Iowans at the state fair in August.
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