At Democratic National Committee headquarters yesterday morning, party workers were loading minivans with Xerox boxes, each addressed to a different congressional office. It was a classic campaign canvassing operation — except that the next election is 19 months away. “Supporters of President Obama’s Budget to Hand Deliver 642,000 Pledges Gathered from Around the Country to Capitol Hill,” announced the Democrats’ news release.
CNN and the Huffington Post dutifully reported the DNC’s claim of 642,000 pledges. Network cameras and the BBC showed up to film the operation. “We had one of the big printers downstairs smoking last night,” party spokesman Brad Woodhouse said.
In fact, the canvassing of Obama’s vaunted e-mail list of 13 million people resulted in just 114,000 pledges — a response rate of less than 1 percent. Workers gathered 100,000 more from street canvassing. The DNC got to 642,000 by making three photocopies of each pledge so that each signer’s senators and representative could get one.