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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  | Category:  Candidates
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I have AT&T and have noted I never received the text, nor did my other friends on AT&T. I had gotten the breaking news from CNN hours earlier, and got both the email and the facebook update. Did anyone on AT&T get the message?

Posted by: VAJurisDoctor | August 23, 2008 11:13 PM

POOR JUDGEMENT. It is downright rude to send a text to anyone at 3am. Does Obama have such an inflated ego he thought I was awake --- waiting minute by minute for his text message??
Obama you lost my vote. Learn some respect.

Posted by: dsar | August 23, 2008 7:45 PM

Federal Lawsuit Requesting Obama Be Removed as a Candidate
http://www.obamacrimes.com/

It seems there is some question as to whether or not Obama is an American citizen. Yet we have heard nothing from the biased news media about this. Where is the story New York Times?

http://www.gather.com/viewArticle.jsp?articleId=281474977428212

Posted by: Firefox | August 23, 2008 6:21 PM

hee hee haa ha ha -- Obama's going to be president, you lose McLame duck and bitter Clintons!

i hope that the person who leaked (or allowed the leak of) the vp choice before the text message should outted. don't credit this to good reporting, somebody spilled the beans.

mickey mouse would do a better job than McCain, fortunately Obama is a great man -- two reasons to vote blue this year.

the red team has been running a childish campaign and they're using the POW nightmare as a shield. in my opinion, i'd rather be a POW than lose my immediate family members, like Biden. I hope neither side exploits those tragedies again.

Posted by: brad | August 23, 2008 5:49 PM

Got mine text message at 3:17 a.m. I'm elated that Barack Obama picked Joe Biden. What a great team!

Posted by: James | August 23, 2008 5:33 PM

I had to chuckle over June's statement that Biden is an angry man! So I guess she's going to vote for McCain because HE's not angry at all? The only time McCain smiles, it's when he's laughing at his own jokes, and it's really more of a smirk. As far as I can see, his strategy is " attack other guy". I call THAT anger. Joe Biden is passionate, not angry. There is a huge difference.

Posted by: Jane | August 23, 2008 5:20 PM

The message woke me up.

You don't suppose it was an oblique reference to Hillary's ad? Have to admit, any demand on me to make a decision at 3 a.m. would first have to survive my annoyance at being awoken.

So, does choosing Biden mean they expect McC to choose Ridge? It certainly puts McCain's forgotten houses (which the Times now reports at 10) into an unflattering light.

Posted by: Helen | August 23, 2008 4:42 PM

Now that I got my obama text I can't wait to get my Mccain telegraph.

Posted by: Dcox | August 23, 2008 4:17 PM

all the obama campaign wanted was the addresses ... so they can solicite funds and sell the list.
they didn't care about anything else

Posted by: Anonymous | August 23, 2008 3:53 PM

OMG! I've been waiting 24/7 by my phone for weeks. I was so excited when I got my personal 3AM secret text message from Obama that I peed in my pants!

Who's Joe Bidden? Oh some grey haired old white geez. Well if Obama picked him he must be TOTALLY AWESOME1

Posted by: Dr. Dave | August 23, 2008 3:52 PM

One thing to keep in mind is that all wireless carriers deliver text messages in the same way -- not simultaneously, but in a staggered fashion.

Posted by: John Taylor | August 23, 2008 3:40 PM

All you Obama supporters have been played. I think now it's quite obvious that Obama is no new politician, and that he flip-flops on most every issue, including a promise to text supporters. It became apparent to everyone that Biden was his VP even before you received your "precious" text messages, and most of you were asleep anyway.

Posted by: I knew it | August 23, 2008 2:53 PM

i got mine at 3:20 am

Posted by: theresa | August 23, 2008 2:50 PM

I signed up for the text message and never received it, though I did receive an e-mail. Given all the hype about this being a technological first for a campaign, I would like to see some reporting on how widespread the failure of the notification was. Was it random, or was it geographical, or did it have something to do with one's mobile carrier? For the record, I'm in Alameda, California, and my mobile carrier is AT&T.

Here's one theory I have on the failure: When asked to provide my ZIP code, I gave the full nine-digit code of 94501-5333. Is it possible that the campaign used the ZIP codes to time the sending of the messages, and only matched the codes against the first five digits? Perhaps those who did not receive messages submitted incorrect (or overly correct!) ZIP codes or did not submit a ZIP code at all.

Posted by: kruegerm-washingtonpost | August 23, 2008 2:29 PM

I signed up for the VP text message release but never got mine!

I am proud that Obama picked someone OTHER than Hillary! At least he has a mind and agenda of his own. Pick him apart all you want, either your on board with him or your not.

Still upset that I did not get my text though!

Posted by: Melissa from N.Y, | August 23, 2008 1:48 PM

Posted by: Tim in Los Angeles | August 23, 2008 12:59 PM "Whta a 3 am debacle! I completely agree that this highlights a major problem with Obama, ie, his lack of experience and heft. By the time Biden was 47, he'd been in the Senate for over 15 years and had a complete resume. Biden is old enough to be Obama's father, too. Sadly, Obama-Biden sounds eerily like Osama Bin Laden...what a harbinger of defeat. Another at bat, another miss."

You missed the subtle 3 AM meaning. Too bad. I think McCain could be his dotty grandpa then.

And, if it sounds like Bin Laden then maybe it is a harbinger of success. Lord knows, Bush et al and McCain right along with him have failed in this endeavor. They got hugely side tracked with a massive deployment of American blood and money in Iraq. At the wrong time and for the wrong reasons. They still have not found Bin Laden. Oh right, just a little mis-judgement. the surge will make it all better.

Many have a very different perspective than yours on this matter. You are entitled to yours of course. I think it is a misjudgment on your part though, to look at it this way.

Posted by: Paul Stewart II | August 23, 2008 1:36 PM

Obama continues to show mature leadership and executive skills in managing his election campaign. Biden is an excellent choice for VP as any bright and intelligent executive wants to associate himself with the necessary skill strengths to make a strong team. (Bush has done the opposite.) What we have seen over the past few election cycles are Republican driven negative character attacks used to define the opposition. Not apparent in those earlier campaigns has been a strong management and leadership style since it did not exist in the candidates. Obama does represent change, and it is occurring through his executive management style. McCain has bought into the Rovian attack style and thereby has lost his own identity contact with reality.

Posted by: Lou R | August 23, 2008 1:35 PM

Mccain and his people are idiots. They sat back and watched what Obama did during the primary, with the use of the internet, raising money and everything else. Mccain saw how wildly over the top successful it was and sat there and did nothing, and still is doing nothing. He should have gone to his people and said, "Get us the best internet people in the business money is no object, I want them to analyze what Obama is doing from top to bottom and see how we can do it, maybe even better". Does he, NO. He sits back running a campaign bases in the last century, literally. I have been in business all my life and have made tons of money. I didn't do it complaining about my competition. I did it by learning from them and doing it better, beating them at their own game. Mccain and his staff are totally incompetent. I don't want to here a thing about the text messaging and mining phone numbers. Want something to complain about? Ask why Mccain isn't doing it also. Ask what the hell you gave them all that money for, just to stand around at town hall meetings talking to 200 disinterested people. Complaining about Obama does not make your candidate more competent, it points out how incompetent he really is by comparison.

-----------
McCain was visibly upset that Obama had received all the free publicity concerning his Vice-Presidential candidate and the use of text messaging to get the message out to his supporters.

McCain said he didn't know what a text message was, but that when the time comes he will announce his running mate by telegraph.

Take that Obama!

Posted by: Wayne Hartt | August 23, 2008 12:57 PM

Posted by: pop a smoke | August 23, 2008 1:34 PM

Joe Biden for VIP? How awful! Everytime I see Joe Biden I think he's the devil. The left and right sides of his forehead tend to have a shape of a horns whenever he speaks in public. He's seemed to be always full of anger. Joe Biden is an angry man.

Posted by: June | August 23, 2008 12:43 PM ********************************************************************
I think you have him confused with that other white haired guy, .... what's his name.... McLiar, McFraud, McEnemy-Collaborator, McSpoiled Navy Brat? You know who I'm talkin about!


Posted by: ricknhouston | August 23, 2008 1:19 PM

Is Obama's campaign really so week he has to plan on news not making it into the paper? Is that something we could expect if he makes it to the White House? If we go to war with another country can we expect him to hide it from us? Also, I don't care how big of a supporter you are, getting the message at 3am is just plain rude. I get the feeling Obama's ego is making him believe he's the center of the universe!

Posted by: Jeff from NE | August 23, 2008 1:13 PM

Well I don't know what media world you are living in. The story was all over the news last night. It was 10 p.m. in Oregon so maybe it was after midnight where you are. ABC had it. AP had it. C-Span had it. The local news had it. I guess you are talking midnight on the eastern seaboard. Sure, I get it. A great choice. The other great choices will have important roles as advisors, cabinet members or legislative partners. Now, we just need some help from the Clintons that is egconcentric.

Posted by: Gaias Child | August 23, 2008 1:10 PM

Biden is an excellent choice that complements Obama in many ways.

Between this and McCain's campaign going down in flames this week, I'd call this election over.

Posted by: Steve Miles | August 23, 2008 1:06 PM

I got my text message at 3am - I thought the "3am call" touch was wonderful, and so below the radar that no one seems to have remarked on it. I was an early supporter of Biden over all the others, and then shifted to Obama - so the fact that he chose him makes me, once again, admire Obama's intelligence and good sense. Obama will turn out to be the best president our country has ever seen.

Posted by: Maria | August 23, 2008 1:00 PM

Whta a 3 am debacle! I completely agree that this highlights a major problem with Obama, ie, his lack of experience and heft. By the time Biden was 47, he'd been in the Senate for over 15 years and had a complete resume. Biden is old enough to be Obama's father, too. Sadly, Obama-Biden sounds eerily like Osama Bin Laden...what a harbinger of defeat. Another at bat, another miss.

Posted by: Tim in Los Angeles | August 23, 2008 12:59 PM

McCain was visibly upset that Obama had received all the free publicity concerning his Vice-Presidential candidate and the use of text messaging to get the message out to his supporters.

McCain said he didn't know what a text message was, but that when the time comes he will announce his running mate by telegraph.

Take that Obama!

Posted by: Wayne Hartt | August 23, 2008 12:57 PM

Obama continues to demonstrate his in-experience and poor judgment. His campaign is based on only two assets, he is a black man and he is articulate.

Democrat for NObama!

Posted by: Darlene | August 23, 2008 12:54 PM

Biden is a racist.

HUSSEIN Obama is a racist!

Obama Biden Laden. LMAO

Posted by: Mark | August 23, 2008 12:54 PM

were you people not watching the news?
the text message didn't break the news, TV reporters did, a couple of hours earlier.

http://www.techpresident.com/blog/entry/28891/epic_text_message_fail_media_gets_biden_news_hours_before_supporters

Posted by: Anonymous | August 23, 2008 12:48 PM

Good Choose

Posted by: Pradel Pierre | August 23, 2008 12:47 PM

Joe Biden for VIP? How awful! Everytime I see Joe Biden I think he's the devil. The left and right sides of his forehead tend to have a shape of a horns whenever he speaks in public. He's seemed to be always full of anger. Joe Biden is an angry man.

Posted by: June | August 23, 2008 12:43 PM

Joe Biden appears to be an EXCELLENT pick for Barack Obama.

And John McCain has a new ad in which he uses Joe Biden's "loose lips" against Barack Obama. This one HURTS, folks:

http://osi-speaks.blogspot.com/2008/08/john-mccain-doesnt-waste-any-time-body.html#links

Posted by: KYJurisDoctor | August 23, 2008 12:43 PM

I got my text message and am proud to be an Obama/Biden Supporter.
Hey it was the first time it was ever done. I applaude them for trying to keep up with modern tech. Mc Cain has probably never sent or knows what a text was before this election.

GO OBIE!!!!!!

Posted by: Al from LA | August 23, 2008 12:40 PM

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