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like with so many statistics, just change the way they are counted.
Published on July 15, 2007 By Sean Conners aka SConn1 In Democrat
The 2nd quarter fund-raising totals are coming in this weekend. Already it has been reported by the Obama camp that they are literally smashing any precedents of the "number of individual donors" reporting numbers of over 250,000 in just the 2nd quarter alone. And the folks who follow the campaigns are impressed. And indeed, I think it is safe to say that Barack Obama is energizing people who haven;'t been involved or interested in politics ever or at least a very long time. His crowds at live events, extensive internet involvement and interaction have strongly evidenced that.

But like with much of politics, there is a dirty lil secret in those numbers. Traditionally, campaign "donors" are counted as the people who write a check or electronically transfer a countable amount of money (usually campaign donations are a minumum of 25 dollars). Of course, campaigns do take cash and at many fundraisers over the years hats have been passed and merchandise sold for the cause. But those who say buy a bumper sticker or other trinket from an Obama "street teamer" are not counted as "political donors."

Well, the Obama campaign does. According to someone who works on the campaign that I spoke with a few weeks back, and verified today on the Chris Matthews Show by Washington correspondent for the New Yorker, Ryan Lizza, they are doing exactly that. When a Street Team member goes out with say, 100 bumper stickers and sells em all for a dollar, they count that as 100 new contributers. In fairness, I think they charge more than a dollar for a sticker, but that made the math easier. And I think you get the point. And never mind if one person wants to buy 5 or 10 stickers, it is still counted as "stickers sold vs. dollars collected."

Just how many of Obama's campaign "donors" are of this unknowing ilk? We don't know. But according to the person I spoke with, who asked not to be identified, their numbers are still damn impressive without those numbers being included.

So, why do it? Maybe they believe that the people who buy a bumper sticker or button should be counted. Well, if that was the case, why not disclose that when announcing your numbers. While i'm fairly sure there is nothing terribly illegal about counting the people as you see fit, to count them and then not disclose the unique method is disingenuous at best.

And yes, while I don't think a crime has been committed, I would like to see some transperancy here in the form of them splicing the numbers so we can get a more accurate picture. That probably is easier than having every other campaign retro-actively try to count the amount of trinkets they sold for the cause. Plus, that might lead to even more "fudging" and we've had enough of that for now.

The Obama campaign can best serve us now by being transparent and showing us where the money came from. How many "traditionally counted" donors vs. how many "souvenier shoppers."

The Obama campaign promised a change in the way we approach politics. And it is evident that the message of that change has resonated with a great many people. But I don't think this changing of the counting methods to inflate statistics was what they were signing up for. I think it was more of what they were standing up against.


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on Jul 16, 2007
And indeed, I think it is safe to say that Barack Obama is energizing people who haven;'t been involved or interested in politics ever or at least a very long time. His crowds at live events, extensive internet involvement and interaction have strongly evidenced that.


I remember "people" saying the same thing about Howard Dean.
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