Why Obama Wants 2 Txt U His VP Choice

Campaign builds huge database for Election Day, writes webmaster
By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 13, 2008 11:14 AM CDT
Then Illinois Sen. Barack Obama, shakes the hands of supporters while answering his cell phone after leaving the Senate chambers at the Illinois State Capitol in Springfield, Ill. in 2004.   (AP Photo/Seth Perlman, File)
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(Newser) – Barack Obama's decision to announce his running mate by text-messaging supporters makes him seem "just like the cool kid in study hall," writes Garrett M. Graff in the New York Times. But there's more to the text blast than just embracing new technology. The move will give Obama hundreds of thousands of cellphone numbers, an invaluable resource come November.

Graff, who worked as Howard Dean's webmaster, notes that while the Web has proved a major fundraising tool, it hasn't contributed to greater voter turnout among users. But text reminders boost turnout among young voters by 4% and cost much less than traditional get-out-the-vote operations. "The new technology that’s best at moving people," he writes, "reaches beyond the desktop."