Good Press, Bad Press: It's All Money In The Bank

Who knew calling someone a liar could be worth so much? After Rep.


Who knew calling someone a liar could be worth so much? After Rep. Joe Wilson (R-S.C.) yelled, "You lie!" at President Obama during his address to Congress last week, money has flooded into both Wilson’s campaign account and that of his Democratic challenger, Rob Miller.   Miller has already hauled in $1 million and, according to his website, Wilson has raised $1.7 million. As Wilson and Miller's bulging war chests prove, events that spur a national media feeding frenzy create fundraising opportunities for both the culprit and his or her opponent. Several fundraising consultants noted that there are some things candidates can do to maximize their war chests both in the immediate aftermath and down the road. This isn't the first time something out of the ordinary has happened and candidates have gone on to benefit from it financially. Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) remarked last October that then-candidate Barack Obama may have "anti-American" views. Bachmann's opponent, Elwyn Tinklenberg, seized on the comment and went on to raise $640,000 from 13,000 contributors in 48 hours.   The most important tool immediately after the event for both candidates is the Internet, consultants from both parties said. "Pay attention," said Peter Pasi, the executive vice president of Emotive, a Republican firm specializing in online fundraising. "Opportunities are created immediately and the web provides donors and supporters a way to immediately express their support or displeasure."   He said it's important for candidates to keep their websites updated with new content and use that content to direct users to fundraising pages. Both Wilson and Miller have done just that since the congressman’s outburst. Wilson was quick to post this video explaining his actions. He then updated the site in the following days, switching out the video for the statement on he made on the House the debate preceding his official reprimanded. Doing so made him a darling of the anti-Obama right and encouraged contributions from conservatives across the country.   Similarly, Miller's website provides links to two contribution pages, including his ActBlue account. Pasi added that investing in Google search ads also provide an effective response. So, for example, when someone searched "Joe Wilson, You Lie," they would have immediately seen ads to Miller or Wilson's websites.   "The more you do and the more nimble you are, the more dollars you raise," said Pasi. There are also ways for Miller to capitalize on Wilson's outburst in the long term. Carl Silverberg, a Democratic fundraiser at Silverberg and Associates, said that Miller should hit all the liberal blogs and mass emails lists, just as he did with this DailyKos post. He also recommended using any and all text messaging campaign services.   Since the election is still a long way off, Silverberg said Miller has enough time to nationalize the race. "You change it from you running against Joe Wilson to Joe Wilson running against the President of the United States," Silverberg said. Wilson's "You lie" was like the first quarter of a football game, he added, and now Miller can devise ways to capitalize on it all the way to Election Day. "It's not just Democrat versus Republican," he said. "It's respecting the office of the President of the United States.” <!--EndFragment-->


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