Sen. Barack Obama’s pledge to supporters that they would be the “first to know” his running mate turned out to be a savvy but unworkable communications strategy.
The Democratic presidential candidate got scooped by the media on his own announcement, done in by dogged reporting, loose-lipped party insiders and the limits of technology.
But all was not lost. He amassed a huge database of cell phone numbers and e-mail addresses for the fall campaign.
Obama’s plan to use text messaging to announce his choice was a first in politics. He had promised supporters that by providing cell phone numbers and e-mail addresses they would be “part of this important moment” – the revelation of his choice for vice president.
The text message announcing Biden as Obama’s pick began filtering across the U.S. at 3:02 a.m. EDT Saturday, when most people were asleep. By then, it was old news, by today’s standards. The media had reported the pick more than two hours earlier.