Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Edwards' Campaign Uses Wife's Cancer to Raise $$

If accurate, I find this disappointing:

When you visit the John Edwards for President Web site, you're invited to send a sympathy note to the Edwardses. And tens of thousands of well wishers have done so since that heart-wrenching news conference two weeks ago at which Elizabeth Edwards courageously discussed her incurable cancer.

What those well wishers get in return -- e-mail messages soliciting contributions to Edwards's campaign.

Visitors to the Edwards site who choose to "send a note to Elizabeth and John" are first taken to a heartfelt letter from the candidate that was written the day after he learned that his wife's cancer had returned. Edwards thanks readers for their "prayers and wishes," vows that he and Elizabeth will "keep a positive attitude always look for the silver lining" and declares that "our campaign goes on and it goes on strongly."

Anyone who then chooses to send a note of sympathy to the Edwardses -- and, thus, provide his or her e-mail address -- automatically becomes part of the Edwards campaign's online e-mail database, a list that is crucial to any campaign's ability to raise vast amounts of money over the Internet.

If you sent a note to the Edwardses before the critical March 31 end-of-the-quarter fundraising deadline, you would have received frantic e-mail solicitations from the campaign, such as the one on March 28 from Edwards campaign manager David Bonior titled, "96 hours to show substance works." The solicitation asked for "$25, $50 or any amount you can afford to give."

The Post does note that the Edwards campaign has generally tried to steer clear of using this tragedy to raise money:

While Edwards has enjoyed a big surge in donations since he and his wife disclosed the return of her cancer, the campaign has not mentioned the "C" word in any of its fundraising solicitations. In fact, an e-mail sent to supporters on March 22, the day of their famous news conference, omitted the usual link to contribute money.

What this amounts to is adding E-mail addresses from well-wishers to the fundraising list. That's a mistake - at best. One hopes it is only an oversight.

Readers will recall that I defended the Edwardses against Philo's attacks a few weeks ago.

1 comment:

Philo-Junius said...

To be clear, I only attack Mr. Edwards reliance on the maudlin as standard operating procedure, not Mrs. Edwards' unfortunate diagnosis.

This probably wasn't even Edwards' own idea, but he certainly had to have been briefed on the "send me a sympathy card" button on his campaign website--the fact that those email addresses got dumped straight onto the fundraising dist. list was certainly part of that discussion.

Personally, I find the "send me sympathy email" concept more cloying and manipulative than hitting correspondents--on whatever topic--up for cash.