UPDATE, March 27: According to Obama spokesman Bill Burton, the post card in question was mistakenly sent to a Clinton delegate--not, as I previously believed, to the entire list of Texas county delegates, regardless of affiliation. "The Texas Democratic Party gave us a list of delegates that indicated him as an Obama delegate--which is why he got the errant post card," he says. "The suggestion that we have a passive strategy of trying to flip Clinton's pledged delegates by sending one postcard to one guy is pretty ludicrous on its face." If that's what happened, I absolutely agree. I'm double-checking with the Texas Democratic Party to confirm that the delegate in question was listed as a Clinton supporter and find out whether others also received the mailing. I'll post another update when I hear back.
UPDATE II: No word from either campaign, but here's what the Clinton supporter in question has to say.
UPDATE III, MARCH 28: So I've finally gotten to the bottom of this--or as close to bottom, it seems, as anyone can get.
Turns out that the Obama campaign is correct to claim that the Clinton delegate in question, Christopher Cohen, was misidentified on their working list as an Obama supporter. I have obtained a copy of the spreadsheet and double-checked his entry. Not only that, but three other Clinton supporters who have contacted me to complain about receiving Obama postcards are ALSO identified on the aforementioned spreadsheet as Obama delegates. So the Obama campaign was, in fact, working off a flawed list, and that explains why Cohen and his fellow Clintonites received Obama postcards, which the Obama camp maintains were intended only for their own delegates.
That said, Cohen and the two of the other delegates in question are listed correctly--that is, as pro-Clinton, not pro-Obama--on the website of the Travis County Democrats. Why the discrepancy? Blame the middleman. According to spokesman Hector Nieto of the Texas Democratic Party, "the information that we gave to the campaigns was information given to us by the individual precincts. We then sent that information to a contractor to key it in to a spreadsheet. There's a possibility that an error was made when the information was keyed in." In other words, the precincts reported the correct candidate affiliations to the state party, but the outside contractor hired to enter those affiliations into a single spreadsheet screwed up--meaning that the Clinton and Obama campaigns received lists that showed at least a few Clinton delegates pledged to Obama (and perhaps vice versa).***I was basing my original item off of the affiliations posted on the Travis County Democrats website, which list Cohen (and two other delegates who received Obama postcards) as Clinton supporters; at the time, it appeared that Obama was knowingly asking his rival's delegates for support. But it's now clear that the Obama campaign received a spreadsheet indicating that these three delegates were pro-Obama, and thus it's only fair to conclude thatObama is not, as my headline indicated, playing the passive delegate 'poaching' game. Only Clinton--with her robocalls, which started in Iowa and continue in Texas--is on the prowl.
ORIGINAL ITEM: Bad news for all you Obamaniacs who reacted with righteous indignation when I reported on March 14 that
Team Obama is doing pretty much the same thing.
Earlier today, blogger Ann Althouse reported
that her son, a county delegate from Austin, Texas, received a postcard
from the Obama campaign urging him to "Support Barack Obama at your
county convention!" (which takes place this Saturday). Here are the
pictures to prove it:
Seems innocuous enough--a friendly reminder, perhaps? The only problem is that Althouse's son is pledged to Clinton--and identified as such on the list of county delegates sent to both campaigns. Apparently, Obama has mailed these postcards to all Texas county delegates, not just his own. This is precisely what the Clintonites did in Iowa. If you'll remember, Clinton spokesman Phil Singer told me at the time that
That means that both Obama and Clinton are, in effect, asking their rival's delegates for support.
Now, don't get me wrong. Both
passive, grey-area poaching that you can expect to see.