VP Announcement Look Back: There’s Still Not An App for Beating Chuck Todd


Do you have trouble sleeping? You are not alone. Want to look 10 years younger? Guess what? By inserting those four magic words,”You are not alone,” into the subject line of an e-mail, viral marketing experts say its intended recipient is 90% more likely to open it.

The phrase, “Be the first to know” achieves a similar effect, especially in politics. So, if you were one of those people who downloaded Mitt Romney’s “Mitt’s VP” iPhone app because it promised that you would be the first to know when he made his selection, and you weren’t, don’t feel so bad; you are not alone.

It was Paul Ryan.  Chuck Todd reported it first.  Before the app did.

Unlike Romney’s first app, “With Mitt,” which misspelled America to read, “Amercia,” Romney campaign Digital Director Zac Moffatt, in an interview with Politico, insists this wasn’t a gaffe, “The app did what it promised to do: It delivered the VP information to voters before the campaign officially confirmed it to reporters in the news release.”

While the app wasn’t exactly great for you being in the know, it was excellent for the campaign.  To get the alert, late or otherwise, users of the Mitt’s VP app were first required to divulge their location to the campaign by tapping, “OK, Allow Access,” when prompted. Subscribers were also encouraged to, “Sign up for VP news,” and asked to submit their e-mail addresses in exchange. So, as for performing its campaign function of collecting vital voter data, the application excelled.  What the app will do next is up in the air.

It’s not the first time an intrepid voter hankering for the skinny bought into it. A Google search for, “Be the first to know,” shows that my.Barack.Obama.com  still tops the results page. Effecting that same sense of connectedness among its supporters, “My B.O.” promised its subscribers in 2008 that, “Barack Obama is about to choose his running mate and he wants you to know first.”

Want, being the caveat there; by the time Obama HQ limped out its VP announcement via text message, news of the pick was already widely circulated, proving that, unless you’re Chuck Todd, you’ll never be the first to know.

The real world impact of Romney’s decision to go with Paul Ryan is also taking shape. Showing early signs of confidence, traders on Intrade, a political prediction market, treated Romney’s bungled announcement to a five point bump. By mid-week, expectations gradually cooled, settling the market at Romney +3.

Alleging insider trading, market watchers at PolicyMic, say Republicans in the know drove up Ryan’s numbers on the the eve of pick. “We did investigate,” said Intrade Operations Manager Carl Wolfenden in an e-mailed response to our question, “and we were not able to prove any links between any of our customers and the Romney inner-circle who knew in advance who the VP pick would be.”

Indicating that it had received a “number of complaints based on suspicions of insider trading,” Wolfenden admits that, short of a subpoena, “our investigatory powers are limited,” but contends that the company is satisfied that no insider trading took place.

We’re confident Chuck Todd was way too busy reporting the scoop to play along.  Perhaps he will also be the first to know what the Mitt’s VP app will do next.


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