February 21st, 2008
10:44 PM ET

What Not to Do While Waiting for Your Candidate to Arrive

The crowd was excited, and didn't seem to mind in the least that Hillary Clinton was late for a rally.

The temperature was in the 60's on Wednesday night on the campus of the University of Texas at Brownsville, and the mood was electric.

A mariachi band provided robust and vibrant entertainment, and the thousands of people attending in this city that is over 90 percent Latino were visibly enjoying the pre-show entertainment.

The band finished to rousing applause and a young man then took the stage. Most of these rallies have local volunteers or politicians taking the microphone to get the crowd excited, and this was no exception.

The man told the crowd "Hillary will be here soon," and the throngs erupted. He told everyone to take out their cellphones and hold them high in the air.

Under a dark sky, the scene looked like the inspiring ones I remember from my college days when people would hold up their lighters at a Grateful Dead concert.

He then told everyone to type a 6 digit number in their cellphone, and text the word "WIN." Most people seemed to follow his instructions.

It was only AFTER that request, that he informed the bubbly supporters that they would now receive regular installments of Hillary Clinton campaign text messages on their cellphones.

And then, we heard a surprising sound for a crowd waiting for their political hero. Scattered boos.

Hillary Clinton's campaign is not unique in sending text messages to supporters. It is a good way to attract donations. And I would guess most of these people would be happy to receive such texts.

But those booing weren't so impressed with this stealthy technique.

I don't have any reason to believe Mrs. Clinton and her top brass knew a thing about this. But I can tell you that the enthusiasm level decreased significantly at that point.

Not something you want at this critical juncture of the campaign. Next time, they might want to consider leaving the mariachi group on stage longer.

–Gary Tuchman, 360 Correspondent


Filed under: Gary Tuchman • Raw Politics
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