Add another headache to the McCain campaign's faltering efforts. Barack Obama, avid Iphone user (see video) is employing state specific web sites to hammer John McCain. Websites specific to Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Virginia, and Ohio point out the disastrous impact of a McCain presidency on the lives of voters in each state. Though the websites employ the same basic format, they include statistics specific to each state.
The websites aren't quite as sexy as the new Obama for Iphone application, which gives you a ready made call list of your friends, uses the Iphone's GPS to tell you where your nearest office is, and provides users with position papers on every imaginable issue. But they may be even more effective.
For instance, the Ohio website notes that "Bankruptcies Rose 19% In Ohio In The 12 Months Leading Up To June 2008; 54,160 Bankruptcies Were Filed During This Time."
Specific data such as this arms local supporters and helps convince undecided voters that John McCain will directly and negatively impact their lives.
The program is another example of the Democratic National Committee's 50 State plan. States like North Carolina and Virginia would have been ignored by a less aggressive (read previous Democratic) campaign. But because the Obama campaign built on Howard Dean's decision to build a presence in every state, not just reliably Democratic states, the McCain campaign is forced to use its limited resources to play defense in North Carolina and Virginia.
Most provocatively, the North Carolina and Virginia sites allow voters to click on their area and see funding for local projects opposed by McCain.
Websites cannot substitute for the hard work of grassroots campaigning: particularly phone banking and canvassing. But they can augment the work of local organizers and volunteers. Since the names of the state specific websites are catchy and memorable "McCain Versus Ohio," it is easy for volunteers and staff to mention them to voters and magnify their impact.
The Obama campaign is pioneering the merger between high technology and grassroots campaigning begun by Howard Dean and Joe Trippi. The results will be felt long after this election.
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