I think it's kind of stupid to invest in mass robocalls. I don't think they're nearly as effective as a human being, and while they're a good way to sneak in a negative attack, I'm not sure people invest a lot of credibility in a recorded voice. Certainly the anecdotal reaction to the highly negative calls coming from the McCain campaign in recent days suggest that they are backfiring. Worse, the dishonorable McCain hired exactly the same organization to make these robocalls that slimed him in South Carolina in 2000.
Well, it turns out FLS, which has offices in Phoenix and St. Paul, is basically the same outfit that George W. Bush hired to robo-slime McCain during the 2000 South Carolina primary, something that McCain repeatedly denounced with great outrage.
In 2000, the Washington Post reported that the Bush team's phone operation was conducted by a firm called Feathers, Hodges, Larson and Synhorst. A press release in 2003 (via Nexis) indicates that this firm had by then become Feathers, Larson and Synhorst, or FLS for short.
On February 20, 2000, McCain thundered that the robocalls hitting him -- done by this outfit -- were "hate calls" that had "inundated" him. Now, if Schoff is right, McCain appears to have enlisted the same outfit for his robo-slime campaign.
How perfect! No one could have made this one up if they'd tried.
Maine Senator Susan Collins, in a re-election fight of her own, asked McCain to stop making the calls into her own state. And the traditional media is beginning to see this for what it is, leading to more bad publicity.
But I just think they aren't effective. They're a band-aid for an inferior volunteer organization with little chance of matching Sen. Obama in voter contacts. That should frighten Republican stalwarts.
UPDATE: McCain addressed this through lying today:
WALLACE: But Senator, back — if I may, back in 2000 when you were the target of robo calls, you called these hate calls and you said...
MCCAIN: They worked.
WALLACE: ... and you said the following, "I promise you, I have never and will never have anything to do with that kind of political tactic."
Now you've hired the same guy who did the robo calls against you to — reportedly, to do the robo calls against Obama and the Republican Senator Susan Collins, the co-chair of your campaign in Maine, has asked you to stop the robo calls. Will you do that?
MCCAIN: Of course not. These are legitimate and truthful, and they are far different than the phone calls that were made about my family and about certain aspects that — things that this is — this is dramatically different, and either you haven't — didn't see those things in 2000...
WALLACE: No, I saw them.
MCCAIN: ... or you don't know the difference between that and what is a legitimate issue, and that is Senator Obama being truthful with the American people.
He's going to have to live with himself after this election is over. But let's face it- he's lying about this. The call has nothing to do with Obama being truthful about Bill Ayers. It asserts that Obama and Ayers were basically good friends. Others insinuate similar garbage. He's lying. He knows he's lying. And he has no honor.
As for the whining that Obama's raising too much money and it's going to lead to a scandal, you mean like using a front group for lying about your opponent?