"Barack has chosen," text message says
Staff and wire reports
U.S. Senator Joe Biden, a rival in the field of Democrats seeking the party's presidential nomination, is Barack Obama's choice for vice president, according to the text message sent out early Saturday.
The main image from the Barack Obama campaign Web site announces the Illinois senator's choice of running mate.
The text message, sent to cell phones about 3 a.m. Aug. 23, was straightforward and personal:
"Barack has chosen Senator Joe Biden to be our VP nominee," the Obama campaign said. "Watch the first Obama-Biden rally live at 3 p.m. ET on www.BarackObama.com. Spread the word!"
The e-mail was a bit longer, but still to the point -- fund-raising:
"I have some important news that I want to make official.
"I've chosen Joe Biden to be my running mate.
"Joe and I will appear for the first time as running mates this afternoon in Springfield, Illinois -- the same place this campaign began more than 19 months ago.
"I'm excited about hitting the campaign trail with Joe, but the two of us can't do this alone. We need your help to keep building this movement for change.
"Please let Joe know that you're glad he's part of our team. Share your personal welcome note and we'll make sure he gets it...
"Thanks for your support,
As promised, the news was delivered to by recipients via personal electronic communication tools - not the big print or TV networks.
But the promise to let supporters know the news first was not kept. There was a leak.
Obama's decision leaked to the media several hours before his aides planned to send a text message announcing the running mate, negating a promise that people who turned over their phone numbers would be the first to know who Obama had chosen. The campaign scrambled to send the text message after the leak, sending phones buzzing at the inconvenient time of just after 4 a.m. Central Time.
No sooner had word spread of his selection than the campaign of John McCain, his Republican opponent in the November general election, unleashed its first attack.
Spokesman Ben Porritt said in a statement that Biden had "denounced Barack Obama's poor foreign policy judgment and has strongly argued in his own words what Americans are quickly realizing - that Barack Obama is not ready to be president."
As evidence, Republicans cited an ABC interview from August 2007, in which Biden said he would stand by an earlier statement that Obama was not ready to serve as president.
Obama, who has used the Internet successfully to raise money from millions of individual donors continued that marketing strategy, as was evident by the campaign's Web site Friday as the crescendo toward the announcement built.
Visiting the site on Friday, one was greeted with links to "make a donation" and "join the team." A person could sign up for the message without registering, but finding that option was not front and center.
After the text message arrived, the site's call was to visitors was to "support the ticket."