In response to my piece Wednesday about the attempt by the Obama campaign to collect Republican emails by having backers submit them in order to let the campaign needle Republicans for having “inspired” the backer to donate, the Obama 2012 website has been updated to say that the GOP emails will not be kept.
The website now reads as follows, with the parenthetical statement having been added.
This holiday season, we’re giving you a chance to have a little fun at the expense of a Republican in your life by letting them know they inspired you to make a donation to the Obama campaign.
Simply enter their name and email address below. Then, we’ll send them a message letting them know they inspired you to donate. (Don’t worry—we won’t hold on to any of their information.)
Obama campaign spokesman Ben Labolt also dismissed the original story as conspiracy mongering, telling Politico, ”The tin foil hat can be taken off — these email addresses are not stored.”
That’s okay. When this crowd ridicules you, that’s when you know they’re concerned about your story.
First of all, I don’t believe there was never, before the story was written, any intent to hang onto the emails. The campaign would be stupid not to keep such a valuable trove of information. And the campaign is not stupid.
Also, the whole thing doesn’t make much sense in the absence of an attempt to collect Republican emails. It’s sophomoric and kind of nasty, as well as harmful to the campaign’s efforts to pick up Republican votes.
And I’m not sure what the statements mean. Are the emails actually going to be purged from the campaign’s email system, from both the Indox and the Sent box? Is there some type of program they can use to do this, or is some poor intern actually going to do it manually?
Finally, when you submit email address to an entity, and there is some question about the entity’s use of your information, you are likely to be assured that your email will not be shared with anyone. So it’s surprising that the Obama campaign does not also say it won’t share the emails with a third party. The statements they’ve issued do not preclude sending the whole batch to the DNC.
So, sorry, still got my tin foil hat on. No reporter should leave home without one.