Arizona voters are reporting that they have received robocalls from the McCain campaign. The implications of the McCain-Palin campaign robocalling into McCain's home state are portentous.
Robocalls are fast and cheap but largely ineffective. In short, robocalls are quick and dirty. They are the hallmark of a broke campaign that is out of options. Robocalling kingpin Klane Anderson says, "Robocalls are the lifeline of the campaign that lacks big money."
If the McCain-Palin campaign is spending money to robocall Arizona, then they are truly worried about the recent spate of polls that shows John McCain to be in a statistical tie with Barack Obama in McCain's home state.
The robocalls into Arizona are also another indicator of the dire straights of the McCain-Palin ground operations. Candidates make robocalls when they do not have sufficient volunteers to make personal calls to voters, and this is clear evidence that John McCain does not have sufficient ground operations even in his home state. Recent reports have indicated that McCain"s ground campaign in Arizona has been indeed stagnant.
Melinda, a registered Democrat from Tempe, Arizona, came home today to find the robocall on her answering machine. Another Obama supporter in Chandler, Arizona says she also received her first robocall today attacking Barack Obama. They both reported the same type of call. The recording began by accusing Obama of being too inexperienced to be president, and then segues to Biden's infamous comment that an Obama presidency would be tested within a few months if Obama is elected. In its final attack, the call insinuates that Obama and his Democratic allies would be soft on terrorists.
It appears that the robocalls are targeting not just independents and Republicans but also Democrats. Melinda is a registered democrat, and so is her sister who lives with her. The Chandler Obama supporter who received the call is a registered Democrat, and her husband is a registered Independent.
The calls came from 866-520-5796 with the caller identification labeled "POLITICAL" -- the number does not turn up results in reverse lookups. FLS Connect, a primary source of calls for Republicans, has offices in Phoenix and would seem a likely candidate for this campaign. Allegedly, FLS made robocalls In 2000 against John McCain for George Bush during the primaries (although they have denied this recently). They also have made calls in the past for Arizona Republicans, including Senator John Kyl (R). Their website lists as clients: all 50 Republican state parties, the RNC, the Bush-Cheney 2004 campaign, and even National Beer Wholesalers (which is headed by McCain's son). FLS Connect refused to comment for this story.
We were able to obtain a recording of the call (wav file).
Here is the transcript:
Hello. I'm calling for John McCain and the RNC because Barack Obama is so dangerously inexperienced his running mate Joe Biden just said he invites a major international crisis that he will be unprepared to handle alone. If Democrats get full control of government, they will want to give civil rights to terrorists and talk unconditionally to dictators and state sponsors of terrorism. Barack Obama and his democratic allies lack the experience and judgment to lead America. This call is paid for by the Republican National Committee and authorized by McCain-Palin 2008.
The desperation of the tactic comes through as much as the intended message, say some recipients. McCain's Robo-emissaries called the cell phone of Robin in Peeple's Valley in northern Arizona. She said she wasn't annoyed. "It made me happy to know that McCain is afraid to lose his home state," she said.