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WHO'S IN CHARGE HERE?
Magpie is a former journalist, attempted historian [No, you can't ask how her thesis is going], and full-time corvid of the lesbian persuasion. She keeps herself in birdseed by writing those bad computer manuals that you toss out without bothering to read them. She also blogs too much when she's not on deadline, both here and at Pacific Views.

Magpie roosts in Portland, Oregon, where she annoys her housemates (as well as her cats Medea, Whiskers, and Jane Doe) by attempting to play Irish music on the fiddle and concertina.

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Monday, November 6, 2006

It's dirty tricks time.

For weeks, GOP spokespeople (including Karl Rove) have been blowing off the unfavorable poll numbers for their party's candidates, saying that their ground game in the last 72 hours before the election would turn things around. Now we know that at least part of this 'ground game' is really a 'phone game.'

As numerous media sources are reporting (including this AP story we found in the Boston Globe), voters in at least five states are being besieged by 'robo-calls' that, while seemingly coming from Democrats, are really from the GOP. These calls lie about the positions of Democratic candidates, often come a half dozen times in the same evening, and have been reported as arriving as late as 2:30 AM. The obvious person is to get voters pissed off at the Democrats, in the hope that they'll vote GOP or, at least, stay home.

Bruce Jacobson, a software engineer from Ardmore, Pa., received three prerecorded messages in four hours. Each began, "Hello, I'm calling with information about Lois Murphy," the Democrat running against two-term incumbent Rep. Jim Gerlach in the Philadelphia-area district.

"Basically, they go on to slam Lois," said Jacobson, who has filed a complaint with the FCC because the source of the call isn't immediately known.

FCC rules say all prerecorded messages must "at the beginning of the message, state clearly the identity of the business, individual, or other entity that is responsible for initiating the call." During or after the message, they must give the telephone number of the caller.

"The way they're sent is deceptive. The number of calls is harassing. The way her stances are presented in these stories is deliberately misleading and deceptive," said Karlyn Messinger, another Murphy supporter from Penn Valley, Pa., who filed a complaint with the FCC.

NRCC spokesman Ed Patru denied any illegal intent.

"All of our political calls are in compliance with the law," Patru said.

Not so, said the Democrats.

"They are violating the regulations that were set up," said Jen Psaki, a spokeswoman for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, who said the DCCC employed one robocall this cycle and paid $500 for it.

"I think the real point here is that the Republicans are using a desperate campaign tactic that is misleading, at worst violating the law and at best is a page out of Karl Rove's playbook," Psaki said. "They clearly are attempting to mislead voters."

The desperation of the GOP shows through in the fact that, in some states, they've been calling people on 'Do Not Call' registries. In New Hampshire, the National Republican Campaign Committee has agreed to stop making robo-calls to people on the list after at least one person filed a complaint with the state's attorney general. New Hampshire law provides for a fine of US $5000 per call for violations of the state's anti-phone soliciting laws.

| | Posted by Magpie at 7:18 AM | Get permalink




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