Facing South on the robo-calls: Smoking guns?

Thank goodness Facing South is doing the media's job by digging into the scam and dirt behind the outbreak of robo-calls in recent weeks. Here's the story, from Chris Kromm:

Facing South has confirmed the source of the calls, and the mastermind is Women's Voices Women Vote, a D.C.-based nonprofit which aims to boost voting among "unmarried women voters."

What's more, Facing South has learned that the firestorm Women's Voices has ignited in North Carolina isn't the group's first brush with controversy. Women's Voices' questionable tactics have spawned thousands of voter complaints in at least 11 states and brought harsh condemnation from some election officials for their secrecy, misleading nature and likely violations of election law.


The call is deceptive because the deadline has already passed for mail-in registrations for North Carolina's May 6 primary. Also, many who have received the calls -- like Kevin Farmer in Durham, who made a tape of the call that is available here -- are already registered. The call's suggestion that they're not registered has caused widespread confusion and drawn hundreds of complaints, including many from African-American voters who received the calls.

The calls are also probably illegal. Farmer and others have told Facing South the calls use a blocked phone number and provided no contact information -- a clear violation of North Carolina rules regulating "robo-calls" (N.C. General Statute 163-104(b)(1)c). N.C. Attorney General Roy Cooper further stated in a recent memo that the identifying information must be clear enough to allow the recipient to "complain or seek redress" -- something clearly not included in the calls.


Yesterday, I placed a call to the Virginia State Police, which had investigated similar suspicious robo-calls before that Virginia's primaries last February. Their investigation concluded that the source of the calls was Women's Voices Women Vote.

Facing South then contacted Women's Voices, and staffer Sarah Johnson confirmed they were doing similar robo-calls in North Carolina; they later admitted that they were the ones behind the deceptive "Lamont Williams" calls.

Here's the really interesting part:

Some have also questioned the ties between Women's Voices operatives and Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Hillary Clinton. Gardner, for example, contributed $2,500 to Clinton's HILLPAC on May 4, 2006, and in March 2005 she donated a total of $4,200 to Clinton, according to The Center for Responsive Politics' OpenSecrets.org. She has not contributed to the Obama campaign, according to the database.

Women's Voices Executive Director Joe Goode worked for Bill Clinton's election campaign in 1992 as a pollster; the group's website says he was intimately involved in "development and implementation of all polling and focus groups done for the presidential primary and general election campaigns" for Clinton.

Women's Voices board member John Podesta, former Chief of Staff for President Bill Clinton, donated $2,300 to Hillary Clinton on April 19, 2007, according to OpenSecrets.org. Podesta also donated $1,000 to Barack Obama in July 2004, but that was well before Obama announced his candidacy for president.

Damn. People speculated yesterday that Hillary Clinton's campaign might be behind this, and those folks are looking pretty insightful today. And just think, Clinton now as NASCAR Mike Easley to run interference when this blows up over the next couple of days.


I think the link to Hillary is weak

however, I think the actions are deliberate and it does look like it is being done to influence the election to benefit her. Now would be a very good time to denounce the group's actions.

Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

I don't disagree that Hillary may have nothing to do with it

but I don't think denouncing the tactic is going to do much good at this point, and I'm not sure I think it ought to. There's something so especially VILE about this tactic that one wants to see that the thing backfires -- and badly -- in order to discourage those who would use it in the future.

All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing
-Edmund Burke

That's the problem with early voting...

You can't take it back if someone makes you mad!

I don't think the link to Podesta and Goode is that weak. Even if she doesn't know, someone in the campaign has to know about this...

I'll gladly fight the War of the Pansies, but I have a hard time swallowing this.

This is disturbing

This type of slimey activity should not be going on.

I do think that the fact Hillary is the one who would benefit from disenfranchising African American voters (those who were targetted), coupled with the donations to her campaign from those linked to this org, is suspicious.

Hopefully, her camp had absolutely nothing to do with this. I think it would be beneficial for her to disassociate herself from this org considering their questionable pattern of voter suppression.



Page Gardner's explanation doesn't work.

Someone named "Lamont," whose voice sounds like an African American male is used to encourage single women to vote? Why would "Lamont" not mention the purpose of the call?

Why not mention the organization, "Women's Voices, Women's Vote" and use a WOMAN'S VOICE?

This group deserves every bit of bad publicity they're getting, and I hope they get more.

Well, it's not incompetence.

Turns out they know how to put together radio ads that actually target women voters. Why wouldn't the Lamont call sound more like this?


SFX Money noise

LADY ANNCR: Money talks in Washington…Rich corporate interests get heard…

SFX Money noise (cash register… etc)
LADY ANNCR: They get tax breaks..we get the bill.

SFX money noise
LADY ANNCR: Big drug companies get high prices. We pay more.

SFX money noise
LADY ANNCR: Polluters don’t pay to clean up toxic waste. We do.

SFX: Newsroom
LADY ANNCR: But there’s another language the politicians understand …

MALE ANNCER: With 75 percent of the vote counted…….

LADY ANNCR: Speak up at the polls. Register and Vote.

22 million single women didn’t vote in the last election, according to the U.S. Census. 22 million. Enough to change the course of our country.

MALE ANNCR: Women voters are the margin in this election…

LADY ANNCR: It’s our right. Vote and elect people who will protect our rights…who understand its tougher for women on their own…Vote and elect people who will do something about skyrocketing health care costs…strengthen our economy to secure our jobs and retirement. Improve education. Help make ends meet.

SFX Money noise
Want change? Change the way you think about voting. Because 22 million women can be heard over that.
Register and vote. Go to www.WVWV.org

Paid for by …..


MALE ANNCR: (Huffing and puffing)
Oh man….I can’t keep up…this is too hard..

LADY ANNCR: Ask the politicians to take a few laps in our shoes…

MALE ANNCR: (Huffing and puffing) Got laid off…lost my health insurance…

LADY ANNCR: Maybe they’ll get it.

MALE ANNCR: (Huffing and puffing) What if I get sick? This is killin me….

LADY ANNCR: And maybe they won’t.

MALE ANNCR: Phew.. just a bad dream..…glad that’s over.

LADY ANNCR: Don’t you think it’s time to elect people who get it? Who understand what it’s like in the real world to be a single woman trying to stretch a shrinking paycheck?

If you want change, change the way you think about voting.

22 million single women didn’t vote in the last election, according to the U.S. Census. 22 million. Enough to change the course of our country.

It’s our right. Vote and elect people who will protect our rights… who will do something about skyrocketing health care costs…strengthen our economy to secure our jobs and retirement. Improve education. Help make ends meet.

Register and vote. Go to www.WVWV.org

Because 22 million women can move a nation.


or their suggested live call script?

Live Call Script

Suggested Use: Week Before Election Day.

Hi, is _____ _______ in?

Hi, this is ___________________ and I am calling from a non-partisan, non-profit group that does not endorse any candidates at all, called Women’s Voices. Women Vote.

Women’s Voices Women Vote is dedicated to increasing the number of women that register and vote in elections. Women have a lot of concerns - from healthcare, to education, to Iraq, and it is truly important to our country that the voices of all Americans are heard on Election Day next Tuesday.

Women know what issues are most important to them, and the best way to make a difference on their issues, to have their views counted, is to make a choice and vote.

If you are still undecided, there are now many places where you can find nonpartisan information about the candidates and their positions on the issues. One internet site that many women find valuable is www.ontheissues.org, which is run by a non-partisan group.

Today, Women’s Voices is asking you to make a commitment to make a difference, by making a commitment to vote.

Will you make a commitment today to make your voice heard on Tuesday by voting?

[If yes] Great. If you need any help in finding your polling place or finding out when the polls are open in your community, we suggest you call your local election office.

Thank you for your commitment to vote. We appreciate it.

[If no] Well, I thank you for your time and I hope you change your mind. America is at her best when all of us make our voices heard and voting is the best way to start.

It needs to be disavowed.

I can't believe that they wouldn't have checked NC's voter registration laws before an organization like Women's Voices Women's Vote put a major drive like this underway. "I'm sorry now" doesn't cut it for me. I want to hear from Hillary herself that she is horrified that this happened.

Be the change you wish to see in the world. --Gandhi
Pointing at Naked Emperors

This is frustrating

You don't have to tie this back to the Clinton camp to be frustrated with this sort of tactic.

Somewhere in the evolution of our politics, we determined that there were two levers that we could influence to yield results in an election: we could (A) increase the level of support for our candidate or cause or (B) decrease the level of support for our opponent's candidate or cause.

I think that two views on campaign tactics emerged within the Democratic Party after Bill Clinton's presidency. (I'm sure that the tension has been there before, but the I voted first during the first Clinton presidency.) One side wants to rethink the strategy (and as a progressive, I think I fall into that camp). The other side wants to open up new tactics by fighting fire with fire (if someone tries to swift boat you, swift boat them first).

There may be better ways to divide the groups (instead of strategy vs tactics), but you have on one side massive efforts to increase the base of the Democratic party and you have on the other side tactics to suppress our own voter turnout.

As much as I dislike Karl Rove's tactics, I think we'll see these sorts of tactics implemented more and more by both sides as reliable tools (and I'd include the heavy use of negative ads in that mix as well).

Well said

The only antidote is full and instant transparency.

Interestingly, we may be seeing the first evidence of backlash on negative ads in this cycle. Moore's attempts to target blacks with lies about Perdue appear to simply be digging him deeper in the electoral hole. And Clinton's assaults on Obama's patriotism, competence and integrity don't appear to be doing her much good except among people who prefer ignorance over insight.

It's her stepson's store. In Georgia.

The ad makes it sound like Perdue moonlights as a cashier there.

(Also, apparently Richard Moore thinks black people only hang out in barbershops and diners.)

Barbershop Conversations are Great

Besides getting an inexpensive great looking haircut, you get some of the best conversations around.

But it's not untrue.

They are not lies. They're not nice, but they're not lies.

But we can't control what businesses our families are in - and that one crossed the line, for me. Blue eye shadowed Bev with her "Y'all it's not my fault" attitude, and Smiling "Pick on Someone's Family to Win" Richard Moore earned the Col. a vote from me. That's right - and I knew what I was doing, too.

Depending on who wins the LT. Gov race, I will decide who I will write in on Nov. 4. I will not vote for either of them.

Unless something changes drastically.

Be the change you wish to see in the world. --Gandhi
Pointing at Naked Emperors

I heard the ad

And no, it doesn't make it sound like Perdue moonlights as a cashier there. But I'd sure rather she be working there than in the Governor's office.

The ad is true.

I just wish Moore were highlighting a lot of other issues instead. Unfortunately, they're a little more complex and require a lot more explanation than thirty seconds typically permits. It's frustrating because a lot of people know about Perdue, but they're not gonna pipe up, and they'd lose their comfy positions if they did.

Yes, it really does

"Have you heard about that old Confederate junk she's selling in them stores she owns?" one man asks.

"What junk?"

"Perdue's stores sells those hats with Rebel flags and that Confederate junk."

"She's selling?" What does that mean in common usuage?

Some may think all is fair in politics, but at some point we ought to expect the people who want to lead us would demonstrate some moral fiber when seeking our support.

Is it any wonder why good people no longer want to have anything to do with politics? We can argue this ad forever, but it's clear what Moore's attempting to do.

I just can't understand why he and his staffers don't realize the damage they have done with many African American voters.


Thanks for the transcript

I hadn't heard or seen....don't know if it is radio or television. That's pathetic. It's sad. It reeks of desperation.

Robin Hayes lied. Nobody died, but thousands of folks lost their jobs.

Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

On the Dome.

It's a radio ad. Linked in a post upthread.

I actually enjoyed the ad

Now I want to hear the diner one.

All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing
-Edmund Burke

Diner one is up on the Dome

Diner one is up on the Dome too now.

Aside from the misleading Confederate junk aspect, I'm particularly troubled over the background racial dynamics of these ads... Are they written and directed to have exaggerated dialects? Is it just who they picked to read the ads? Just seems to play up stereotypes and comes off a bit too cute by half for me...

I think that's a good analysis.

Remember the first swift boat campaign? We all knew it didn't "really" come from W. But we knew it would benefit him.

With this one, we know it will benefit Mrs. Clinton. Or maybe I'm making assumptions - maybe it will benefit Barack Obama. Or maybe the ultimate winner in this is John McCain.

I want our Democratic Candidates - the ones who purport to want to lead us - to disassociate themselves from this kind of tactic right now.

Be the change you wish to see in the world. --Gandhi
Pointing at Naked Emperors


That was the sound my head exploding. This kind of tactic, from a supposedly-progressive, trusted organization - makes me so mad!!! We worked with WVWV when I was at Planned Parenthood, so I feel particularly slimy and nauseated now.

It doesn't matter if Clinton herself is behind it, obviously her people are (Podesta, etc.) and the main point is to DISENFRANCHISE BLACK PEOPLE! This is the same basic struggle for civil rights that has been waged for the past century. Don't go thinking it's all better now.

Trying to stop delivery?

Part of the newest release from this organization.

From: Sarah Johnson
Date: Wed, Apr 30, 2008 at 5:40 PM
Subject: UPDATE - Organization Trying to Stop Remaining Mail in North Carolina


Wednesday April 30, 2008

Sarah Johnson
Communications Director
(202) 659-9570


Statement of Page Gardner, President, Women's Voices, Women Vote.

Organization Trying to Stop Remaining Mail in North Carolina

"In an attempt to prevent further confusion surrounding our voter registration efforts prior to the North Carolina primary, Women's Voices. Women Vote took the extra step of attempting to stop the remaining mail from being delivered to homes. In total, 20 postal trucks are carrying Women's Voices. Women Vote registration applications. Four of the trucks have already delivered, but Women's Voices. Women Vote is making every attempt to delay the delivery of the remaining sixteen trucks.

Glad someone has something to say @ moore's ads

Finally!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! You guys see how horrible this stuff is. African Americans need to step up and demand more from the people who represent this country and state. Do you finally see how awful the electoral process can be. Who would think that someone would be so desparate to win an election that they would disenfranchise thousands of people. Maybe this is why there is so much mistrust by the minority of the majority. I think moore's ads are especially evil because they use exaggerated dialect to portray these characters. Listen, I think that he has dug a big huge whole. I don't think the AA electorate will take the bait. He has miscalculated his audience. Most are much more suffisticated than he thinks. Hasn't he heard that the AA electorate has no fear of the KKK and therefore will not succomb to his tactics. Good grief, he accuses Perdue of being racist but I am starting to wonder about him. This is right out of the KKK play book. Wow is all that I can say. Where is he getting this advice from. I would much better have Perdue represent me than a man who basically belittles the thoughtfulness of many of north carolina's productive citizens. I wonder if we had a large hispanic voting population what would he air. Or if the asian population was larger what would he air. I believe that North Carolina will go to the polls on May 6th or before and choose someone who will represent us without such hateful tactics. We sure know one thing. richard moore is not be hind the Lamont Williams calls.

Warning ticket from the Grammar Police

Reeaaaaaaaar. Clickclickclickclickclickclick. "License, registration and dictionary, please."

Most are much more suffisticated than he thinks.

c.1400, "use or employment of sophistry," from M.L. sophisticationem (nom. sophisticatio), from sophisticare "adulterate, cheat quibble," from L. sophisticus "of sophists," from Gk. sophistikos "of or pertaining to a sophist," from sophistes "a wise man, master, teacher" (see sophist). Meaning "wordly wisdom, refinement, discrimination" is attested from 1850; sophisticated (of persons) "worldly wise, discriminating, refined" is attested from 1895.

But in all fairness, "suffisticated" OUGHT to be a word

And it shouldn't be too difficult to come up with sophisticated definitions to suit it.

(It might even deserve more energy than was generated by the still smoldering "pansy" firestorm)

Well . . . you know . . . there were lots of posts

Not that there's anything wrong with that, of course. And not to say that we didn't all enjoy it immensely, either. Why, it was . . . er . . .quite a special something.

But maybe just that while dissecting the past and present connotations of an existing word (over and over and over) was an educational exercise, the creation of a *new* word altogether might yet add to the cerebral muscle that is now, thanks to the "pansy" discussion, so nicely toned.

That's what I meant.


Okay, try this:

Suffistication: the inappropriate usage of adjectives and adverbs by a pugilist when he describes his punching abilities. (see Mike Tyson)

Excellent suggestion

I was focusing on the first four letters and thinking of suffering, but "fist" as the root makes better sense.

Now, of course, I feel compelled to give it more thought.

All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing
-Edmund Burke


You all are hilarious. I have laughed all morning because of this. I am sooooo sorry. I was in such a state that I just let it fly. And to think, I have a doctorate. What is NC producing. Thanks for making my day. I am still laughing. My staff thinks that I am crazy.

Doctor Sam!

It is pretty dang funny.

Then again, I also find people falling down (regardless of age or infirmity) incredibly entertaining and laugh-worthy, right up to the point where blood or tears (or both) enter the scene. By that time it's too late to take back my bark of laughter, so I get "the look" ;( from other, more empathetic witnesses.

OMG, Sam.

That's too funny - almost too funny for words! Please tell me the doctorate is not in English!

Be the change you wish to see in the world. --Gandhi
Pointing at Naked Emperors

No Linda, not in English

Now that would really be funny. I actually got it in speling. Boy do we ever need free tuishun for comunite colege and universeity.

You know what?

Y'all scare the hell out of me. Especially since this is my think tank of choice for political news and commentary. :-p

... and grammar lessons. ;)

"It is amazing what you can accomplish if you do not care who gets the credit." - Harry Truman

"They took all the trees and put them in a tree museum Then they charged the people a dollar 'n a half just to see 'em. Don't it always seem to go that you don't know what you've got till it's gone? They paved paradise and put up a parking lot."

How about

From sufficere -- "to supply" and fist for "fist"

Suffistication: the provision of brute force to
assist the cause of a person whose oral argument is failing. Thus: "the resolution under debate was eventually determined by suffistication."

All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing
-Edmund Burke

By Jove, I think she's got it!

Speaking of, who the f**k is Jove?

You know what? Just forget I asked. I don't really want to know who Jove is/was.


I believe "Jove" is another name for Jupiter, the Roman version of the Greek god Zeus.


Don't piss Him off. He'll have a sufficient supply of lightening bolts in his fist for ya. :)

Be the change you wish to see in the world. --Gandhi
Pointing at Naked Emperors

NC AG Calls for investigation of robocalls

From TPM:


North Carolina AG Opens Investigation of Robo Calls
By Paul Kiel - April 30, 2008, 6:22PM
And yet another development on those calls by Women's Voices Women Vote.

North Carolina's attorney general has just put out a press release (pdf) saying that he's investigating the calls and taking credit for having them stopped. "Regardless of the motivation, the robo-calls violated the law and they needed to stop," Roy Cooper said. He also includes a correspondence with the group's lawyer. In the letter, Cooper requests a variety of information about the calls.



NC Verified reacts to outside group's deceptive actions

I called the general counsel for the NC State Board of Elections today when I heard about this.

This non profit org, Women's Voices, Women Vote did not seek advice or counsel from the SBOE before they launched their "registration efforts". They made a decision to use their resources in our state without asking for guidelines or learning our voter registration rules and laws.

This is a out of state non profit sticking their nose in our eletions. They have caused trouble NC before and also in other states.

Earlier this year they mailed thousands of partially pre-filled voter registration forms to women. Many of these women were already registered to vote and called their county BoEs and local newspapers to ask what was going on.

Some voters mailed in the forms, and what happened is that our county BoEs around the state were flooded with lots of registration forms for voters already registered.

During the busy time of year this means that BoE's have a harder time processing the legitimate registration forms for voters who AREN'T registered.

Advice for all voters in NC:

Time is running out, people with registration problems can still register and vote from now until May 3rd

Important Election Dates:
2008 Primary Election May 6th
Last day to register to vote: Apr. 11
Absentee Voting: Mar. 17 - Apr. 29
One Stop Absentee Voting: Apr. 17 - May 3

Go to the North Carolina State Board of Elections website to check your voter registration. They also have information for new and current voters on how to register, where to vote, and more. Voters without internet access should call their County Boards of Elections to find out if they are registered).

See our website, NCVOTER where we now have an online form where voters can report their voting problems.

Also, voters can call 1-866- MY-VOTE-1
to report voting problems.

Is it true, is it true? Recover money for robo calls

Is it true that according the the statute, you can recieve up to 5000 if you received one of these robo calls. I am sure that the people who received these calls would like to receive their check in the mail. Can they send them out in trucks to. Read the letter faxed to the attorney for the group from the AG. Link is above.

Is it true, is it true? Recover money for robo calls

Is it true that according the the statute, you can recieve up to 5000 if you received one of these robo calls. I am sure that the people who received these calls would like to receive their check in the mail. Can they send them out in trucks to. Read the letter faxed to the attorney for the group from the AG. Link is above.

William McNary Statement

During five election cycles, I have worked with the Rainbow/PUSH Coalition where I co-directed targeted voter registration campaigns and 'get out the vote' efforts to the African American community. I have also had the great privelege of serving on the Board of Directors of Women's Voices, Women Vote -- a non profit, non partisan organization whose mission is registering underrepresented Americans, primarily, unmarried women.

I am also a voter. And in this election, I am supporting Barack Obama, whom I've known and worked with for years. I am also an elected delegate to the Democratic Convention for Barack Obama.

Given my candidate preference and my background and associations in voter registration efforts, I can say with great conviction, there was no effort to suppress or confuse African American voters, or any other voters in the state of North Carolina by Women's Voices, Women Vote.

I have seen up close the work of Women's Voices. Women Vote and know well the commitment, passion and leadership our organization has shown in helping make the voices of unmarried women and other underrepresented voters heard. There may have been mistakes made in this particular registration drive in North Carolina, but Women's Voices, Women Vote's motives were not malicious or intended in any way to confuse voters. Ironically, just the opposite. I know the staff is making every effort to right the situation.

By William McNary, President of USAction, Co-Executive Director Citizen Action/Illinois and Board Member of Women's Voices, Women Vote

Some other notable progressives have also been stepping up to defend Women's Voices, Women Vote. I have a hard time understanding how the "honest mistake" argument works, particularly when there is no explanation of how the mistake occurred, or why it has occurred repeatedly in several primary states right before their respective primaries.

- - - - -
McCain - The Third Bush Term

As the Executive Director of a non-profit, I can't understand

the honest mistake bit, either.

Because nothing leaves the office without my say-so. Nothing. Granted, we're a smaller shop, with a smaller budget, but the last question we ask is - who checked this/? To send a huge, expensive campaign into a state about to have a primary without checking the voter registration regulations is so beyond the pale that I'm sorry, I don't buy it.

Presumably, this non-profit has board of directors as well. In my organization, it's up to me to protect them from messes like them. Unless of course, they direct me to make messes like this. (In which case, I'd resign, but you know, that's just me.)

Be the change you wish to see in the world. --Gandhi
Pointing at Naked Emperors

It's a mistake, alright, but it's not an accident.

If it's an accident, they need to tell the public what went wrong and who is fired.

People are stepping up to defend them because they have a legitimate front to their operations, and I'm sure the whole board wasn't aware of the voter suppression tactics so people are also stepping up to defend the other important people on the board.