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Republican Robocall Pretexting Campaign 674

WCityMike writes, "In 53 Congressional campaigns across the country, including the Pennsylvania 6th, the Connecticut 4th, the North Carolina 11th, the New Hampshire 2nd, and the Illinois 6th and 8th (and possibly all races), the National Republican Congressional Committee is conducting a $2.1 million campaign to make it appear as if Democrats are spamming callers with telemarketing calls. The NRCC hired Conquest Communications Group to conduct a massive nationwide robocalling campaign with calls specifically scripted to appear as if they're coming from the Democratic candidate — in violation of FCC regulations on such 'robocalls,' which requires the identity of the caller to be stated at the beginning of the message [47 CFR 64.1200(b)(1)]. The call begins with 'Hello. I'm calling with information about,' and then says the name of the Democratic candidate. There is then a pause; if the recipient hangs up here, they will receive repeated calls back with the same message, potentially up to 18 times or more (according to one callee). If the callee doesn't hang up, they hear a smear message from the machine about the Democratic candidate. The NRCC thinks the legality of the calls is, conveniently, a 'complicated legal question that's not going to get adjudicated this weekend.'" Update 20:47 GMT by SM: Thankfully we all learned how to deal with these folks last week.
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Republican Robocall Pretexting Campaign

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  • "smear message"? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Russ Nelson ( 33911 ) <> on Monday November 06, 2006 @04:48PM (#16740751) Homepage
    Actually, since most people don't vote for the candidate they want, but instead vote against the one they like the least, negative advertising (including "smear messages") is the most useful information to have.
  • by StressGuy ( 472374 ) on Monday November 06, 2006 @04:51PM (#16740831)
    Oddly enough, I've been getting a bunch of calls supporting our incumbant Republican many were coming in that I was wondering if it was actually a ploy from the Democrates to get me annoyed and blame the Republicans. However, the only smearing was against the Democrats. Still, what possible marketing model says that the way to get votes is to repeatedly harass potential voters by phone?.

    The phrase "out of touch" comes to mind....BTW - I'm a registered independant, and thinking of going Libertarian.
  • by smooth wombat ( 796938 ) on Monday November 06, 2006 @04:53PM (#16740891) Journal
    a 'complicated legal question that's not going to get adjudicated this weekend.'

    They're right. It won't get adjudicated this weekend.

    However, just like their phone-jamming shenanigans in New Hampshire, it will get adjudicated against their corrupt asses [].

    So let them have their fun. This kind of crap is exactly why this Republican will be voting against every Republican on tomorrow's ballot.

    Funn how my party continues to call the Democratic party one of traitors when it's my party which is undermining democratic principles.

  • by DnemoniX ( 31461 ) on Monday November 06, 2006 @04:59PM (#16741079)
    Ok before I get flamed for my subject, I'm a Republican, not a NeoCon, I am very moderate by anyones standards.

    Here is a little story about a local Republican race here in Minnesota. It is just before the primary, there is a heated race between two individuals for the Rep. Senate nomination. A flier is sent out smearing one candidate, he previously was accused of physically assaulting his daughter, a charge he was later found not guilty of by jury. The flier contained so many false statements it was crazy, to top it off the people who wrote the flier included a graphical logo to make it look like it was sent by our Sheriff's Dept. Unfortunately I was the person who designed that logo for our website. I am the system administrator for that County. Long story short, through my web logs it was discovered that the authors of the flier were members of his own party on the State level. Apparently they felt that the previous accusations against him would be a problem down the line. So they pulled their dirty tricks on one of their own. The best part is that he won the primary. But once again his party stepped in and told him to step aside. He refused and they withheld all party support for his campaign. Just another case of a party that is struggling with scandal doing anything to hold on and keep from falling out of power.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 06, 2006 @05:04PM (#16741187)
    The most effective counter measure is - call to White House and ask to speak to mr. president G W Bush! Let's all do that and see what will happen.
  • Not new (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Kelz ( 611260 ) on Monday November 06, 2006 @05:04PM (#16741195)
    Over the past three months the republican incumbant (under investigation by the FBI/DoJ for taking a $30000 vacation given to him by foreign lobbying groups) has been robocalling everyone in the county and some outside the county with calls that are basically designed to make you hang up the second you hear their tagline, "This call is about supporting Charlie Brown" (yes that is the democrat candidate's real name :P). Charlie's campaign doesn't have robocallers, but the actual campaign workers who call were rather surprised to hear from people that they got a robocall three minutes ago claiming it to be from their campaign.

    Its rather a shame that the local republican controlled newspaper made no mention of this in their so-called "bad campaigning expose".
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 06, 2006 @05:04PM (#16741197)
    Lately it has always been the Republicans who have been doing dirty tricks.
    By the way, here is a top 10 reasons for voting Republican: 7 []
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 06, 2006 @05:09PM (#16741303)
    It's the b-b-but defense. When one person's party does something astonishingly stupid and vile, all the blind and stupid faithful, rather than stand up and say to their leadership that they disapprove of the activity and don't want to see it happen again in the name of their party ideals, they trot out any inane example they can of where the "other guys" did something wrong.

    North Korea got nukes on Bush's watch?

    B-b-but Clinton gave them a (useless for processing) nuclear reactor!

    Mark Foley is engaging in predatory activity and the leadership is covering it up?

    B-b-but Gary Studds did something similar twenty years ago!

    Your party got the country stuck in a quagmire in an unjustified war?

    B-b-but Lyndon Johnson was in charge for part of Vietnam!

    Your president sees the only net loss of jobs in the history of the country?

    B-b-but Jimmy Carter!

    In the event that the Democrats manage to (re-)corrupt themselves as badly as this pathetic, thuggish excuse for a legislature has, expect to see the "b-b-but Bush!" defense over and over for a bit as well.

    Almost nobody in this country who engages in politics in any sort of high profile manner, and this is especially true of the internet, generally seems to have any shred of decency in their body. Don't be too surprised at the dishonest, illogical, and idiotic things that spout forth from them, such the GP poster's inane comment about the isolated tire-slashing incident (b-b-but Katherine Harris!)
  • by toadlife ( 301863 ) on Monday November 06, 2006 @05:18PM (#16741533) Journal
    I think attack ads simply cater to that "49%" - that being the people that are of below average intelligence. I don't know about others, but I don't pay much attention to smear ads. I realize that if a candidate votes against a bill that would have funded health care for poor kids, it doesn't necessarily mean that candidate wants poor kids to die; It most likely means that the bill had a bunch of other non-related bullshit attached to it that would have wasted my money, or simply didn't belong in the bill in the first place.

    A lot of people lack to intelligence or knowledge to see through these smear ads, and I'm pretty sure that's why they work.
  • by Overly Critical Guy ( 663429 ) on Monday November 06, 2006 @05:22PM (#16741611)
    This story is amusing because Republicans are claiming the same thing about Democrats. In fact, a caller on Rush Limbaugh's show today described a call she received at 3 in the morning from someone claiming to be a Republican, and that others are also receiving calls specifically from 10 to 3 at night, the theory being that pranksters are trying to anger voters.
  • by scheming daemons ( 101928 ) on Monday November 06, 2006 @05:29PM (#16741777)
    Nice troll! One drunk left-winger, who has no connection with the DNC, does something stupid, and that's supposed to be morally equivalent to an organized RNC campaign across 53 districts where millions of illegal phonecalls are placed with the explicit goal of deceiving voters. Hmm, somehow the situations seem different.

    Do you expect anything less?

    The Rove/Bush machine put fliers all over South Carolina in 2000 during the primaries saying that John McCain had fathered a "black" child.

    The Rove/Bush machine sent a debate-prep videotape to Al Gore's headquarters in 2000, hoping to then play the "Gore campaign stole our video tape!" angle that they used against Jimmy Carter in 1980. Only Gore's campaign didn't take the bait and immediately called the media to report it. It turned out that a RNC staffer sent the tape (and took the fall, even though she was doing exactly as her bosses wanted her)

    This is how they operate. Republicans always feel the ends justify the means, especially this current batch. It is a pattern in everything they do. They wanted to go into Iraq from the moment they took office, and they didn't care how much they had to lie or trump up false evidence to do it. The ends justified the means.

    They feel that this country cannot survive without them in power, so there is no tactic too shameless or illegal that they won't try. In their minds, they MUST remain in power, so they will do anything and everything - even if it involves violating the law - to ensure that they do.

    It is why Blackwell in Ohio accused his opponent of being endorsed by NAMBLA. (As Jon Stewart said, "how far do you have to be trailing in the polls to throw out the NAMBLA card?")

    It is why supporters of Corker in Tennessee aired an ad indicating that Harold Ford Jr. is interested in white women.

    There is no strategy too vile, too shameless, too illegal, too immoral for the Republicans. They represent the worst side of human nature. They are pigs. They know it, and they don't care. Too them, the stakes are too great to allow the Dems to take control of any part of government, and they will lie, cheat, and steal to prevent it from happening.

    The ends justify the means.

    That is why, if there is any hope of saving this nation from the course it is on, we must fight against them at every turn.

  • by JhohannaVH ( 790228 ) on Monday November 06, 2006 @05:37PM (#16741973) Journal
    Remember, it's not 50% of American Citizens, it is but 1/2 of the percentage that leaves their television shows and actually VOTES: In 2004, a major Presidential Election, only 64% of Americans voted. [] Now, let's try comparing apples to apples here, and take it back to 2002, the last midterm election: 46% of Americans voted. [] I think that's more along the lines of what we will see tomorrow.

    So, yeah... anyone who doesn't give a shit, doesn't vote, but they sure can BITCH! Just remember... if you don't go and press a button/pull a lever/sign your name -> YOU CAN'T BITCH!!!!!!!!

    I, for one, am not voting for a single solitary soul (not that they have any) that currently is in office. It just pisses me off that because of my precinct, it will all be straight Republicans. Oh, and I'm voting NO on every single ballot issue.
  • Simple (Score:2, Interesting)

    by michaelwigle ( 822387 ) <> on Monday November 06, 2006 @05:39PM (#16742063) Homepage
    I think most Republicans just shrug this off when Democrats do it. I've been getting something similar to this from the Democratic party for a couple weeks. At first I thought it was a message from a Republican candidate (that I know fairly well) but it quickly turned into a malicious slamming with outright lies (I knew they were because I was involved with some of the things mentioned). I shrugged and hung up. I don't care. Truth of the matter is that both sides do really stupid things during campaigns and I'm not real proud of anyone during campaign time. But it seems to me that Democrats tend to yell louder and cry foul more but Republicans seem to quietly shrug their shoulders and let their vote speak for them. I think that's why it seem that Republicans do this underhanded stuff more. But from where I"m standing, both sides do it about equally.

    As a side note, I'm a Canadian so I can't vote but I've lived in the U.S. for 7 years and am somewhat active in local politics and government because I live here and have a stake in things too. I can't vote, but I can tell my voting friends what I think on topics and individual politicians and let them decide for themselves.
  • by Ian McBeth ( 862517 ) on Monday November 06, 2006 @05:46PM (#16742247) Homepage
    My Mom getting several calls between 10PM and 3AM, by Democrats pretending to be Republicans?

    Somehow I think not.

    If its wrong for one, its wrong for both. Tell the whole story next time, K thanks.
  • by Crazy Man on Fire ( 153457 ) on Monday November 06, 2006 @06:26PM (#16743127) Homepage
    Actually, the stock market has done better when the democrats were in power, according to NPR (no citation) and this Yahoo! Finance article []. So, I welcome the change that is likely to happen tomorrow.

    PS - I didn't get any stinking Bush tax cut. I'm not rich enough. Repeal the damn thing already!
  • by elwinc ( 663074 ) on Monday November 06, 2006 @06:56PM (#16743691)
    Josh Marshall, at Talkingpointsmemo [] has a pointer [] to the google cache version quest+communications%22+and+contact&hl=en&gl=us&ct =clnk&cd=1&client=firefox-a [] of Conquest Communications' contact page. When I called 804-358-0560, I got an electronic voice giving a list of two digit extensions counting up from around 24. I picked a random one, politely gave my (real) name and (real) phone number, said I had heard about the robocalling and wondered if they guy had any comment. I hope he calls me back!
  • by ebcdic ( 39948 ) on Monday November 06, 2006 @07:32PM (#16744289)
    I see the Republicans have even paid people to post messages to Slashdot smearing the Democrats.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 06, 2006 @07:33PM (#16744309)
    ...and I thought I had been singled out for this special treatment. My prepaid emergency cell phone received over 18 calls from the RNC offering up information on the democrat running against them. I only had a small number of minutes on the phone, and these bogus calls wiped them out. I fell for it at first, figuring it came from the democrat in question and called his campaign office to tell them to cut it out, when they informed me that if I had listened to the whole message, it was from the republicans.

    Really effective stuff too. I dont even live in the area served by either of these candidates. My dad does though...he'll be voting for the democrat sight unseen...another case of voting for "not the spammer".
  • Other resources (Score:5, Interesting)

    by _KiTA_ ( 241027 ) on Monday November 06, 2006 @07:48PM (#16744583) Homepage
    First off:

    The Dems are On this [], filing one of the only C&D letters I've actually supported. Kinda brilliant of the NeoCons, really -- they hire an impersonator to make a fake 5 minute message, robocall it at 11 PM till 4 AM, make it long enough that most people hang up long before they hear the "paid for by the Republicans" message at the end, and, well, it's just brilliant. Too bad the Democrats are too ethical to try something like this themselves.

    Jim Webb's campaign is also being specifically targeted by this, in what is probably a "test run" by Karl Rove. Robo calls are reporting that people will get arrested if they vote, that their locations have changed, pamphlets are being handed out telling black people not to bother voting, and the Voting Machines are set up to "accidently" mess Mr. Webb's name up. [] Even the Board of Elections are saying these efforts are Widespread and Deliberate [] (and, oh yeah, ILLEGAL).

    Kinda a pity that the Republicans are so afraid of the United States Citizens voices being heard that they have to resort to such disgusting efforts to repress the vote. Of course, having seen this the last 3 elections in a row, this isn't a real surprise.
  • by ptbarnett ( 159784 ) on Monday November 06, 2006 @08:55PM (#16745461)
    at least give the attribution:

    MAD Magazine may have expanded it further, but it's based on a alleged real event.

    George Smathers [] was alleged to have given a similar speech to rural Florida audiences when challenging incumbent Claude Pepper [] in the 1950 Democratic primary for a US Senate seat.

    However, it was not reported at the time by Florida newspapers and a $10,000 reward offered (by Smathers) to anyone that could prove it has gone unclaimed. The story was probably intended to poke fun at rural Florida (and Southern) voters, rather than Smathers.

Happiness is twin floppies.