You are not logged in. LOG IN NOW >

Through Texts and Online Video, Presidential Campaigns Want You To Know -- They're the Job Creators

BY Sarah Lai Stirland | Monday, September 17 2012

As Barack Obama and Mitt Romney continued to criticize each other on Monday regarding their respective relationships with China either on the policy or business fronts, both campaigns kept reaching out to voters and bombarding them with statistics online and through text messages.

The Romney campaign sent out a text Monday that asked recipients: "How many more jobs can you expect in your community with the #RomneyRyan2012 plan?"

A link embedded in the text message takes recipients to the Romney campaign's web page, which encourages viewers to pick the state in which they live. Once that's done, the page displays statistics on the number of unemployed, and the unemployment rate in that state under President Obama, as well as "new people" on food stamps, and a number under the category of "more people on welfare." The page doesn't cite a source for the numbers. Then, underneath those numbers, the campaign presents the number of jobs that a Romney administration would create both in that state and nationally.

It all looks a bit like the Obama campaign's strategy of putting "facts" in the palms of supporters' hands so that they can marshall some numbers to bolster their arguments in favor of their candidate wherever they are located.

Meanwhile, Stephanie Cutter, Obama's Deputy Campaign Manager, hit back at the Romney campaign's recent TV ad that criticized Obama for not standing up to the Chinese for unfair trade practices.

As she frequently does, Cutter responded via online video over the week-end with her own set of statistics, infographics, and context. Among other things, she says that Romney's criticism of Obama not standing up to the Chinese is curious because he had previously complained in "No Apology," that Obama was too aggressive against China.

She also discusses the Obama campaign's plans to boost job growth in the manufacturing sector if the president wins a second term.

"Share this video with your friends, post it to Facebook, Tweet it," she tells viewers. "I'm going to ask the President to post it on Reddit -- now that I know what that is."

Reddit's appearance in a campaign video is unusual, but it's obviously thanks to the president's surprise appearance on the social news sharing site at the end of August.

Should Obama decide to post the video riposte to Reddit, it might give the online ad a superboost: the president's initial foray drew almost three million page views for the whole day, and 865,092 unique visits within the AMA's first hour.

All this is to say: Though television might still dominate in terms of campaign ad spending, digital seems increasingly important to the campaigns in terms of voter outreach.