Tale of the Obama Text Message
By Anne E. Kornblut and Ed O'Keefe
CHICAGO -- Obama campaign advisers are pleased with their Joe Biden rollout -- which was kept secret until around midnight and later officially announced to supporters via text message.
But some supporters are now saying they never got the text, or that it came many hours later, in some cases late Saturday morning.
Richard Wanerman, 19, a student in Wisconsin, wrote to say that he is an Obama supporter and donor who did not get his. "I never received the hallowed text message announcing that Sen. Biden had been chosen. I am quite happy that Biden was chosen, as I felt that he was the most qualified candidate. But I also feel a little [let down] by the campaign," he wrote in an e-mail. Other complaints came in from battleground states, including from Pennsylvania and North Carolina.
Capitalizing on the first major political announcement ever delivered via text message, Sprint Nextel reports traffic on the company's short code for Barack Obama's campaign spiked 225 percent shortly after 3 a.m. ET Saturday.
"Short code" is the five-digit number from which Obama supporters received the infamous text -- 62262, the numbers that spell OBAMA on a telephone. Whenever a text message user wants to start receiving messages from a group, campaign, or news organization (for example: washingtonpost.com's short code is 97678) they send a message to that number.
The company will not disclose the number of Sprint subscribers who signed up for the Obama text, nor the number of text messages sent by the campaign to Sprint users, says company spokesman John Taylor.
But heavy text message traffic was not the only cause for delay in receiving the news. Readers of some editions of national newspapers -- including the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times, as well as The Washington Post -- woke up to papers that did not have the news, since it broke after many print deadlines.
That's what happens when news is released at 3 a.m. on a Saturday. And according to the Obama campaign, it's exactly how they wanted it.
Posted at 11:58 AM ET on Aug 23, 2008
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