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October 20, 2008

Obama and Cummings: Let's share

I'm a contented resident of the 7th District in Maryland, which means my congressman is Rep. Elijah E. Cummings.

You know who else knows that?

Barack Obama.

I just received an email from Obama, alerting me that there is "a candidate for change in Maryland."

"Dear David," the email says. "You can change politics in this country at every level -- up and down the ballot. Our records show that you live in Maryland's 7th district. There's a candidate in Maryland who'se working to bring the change this country needs, and that candidate is Elijah Cummings."

The email then gives me a link to Cummings's Web site.

I find this to be a pretty slick use of Obama's impressive data-collection efforts, which have been chronicled extensively, including in this piece by David Talbot of MIT's Technology Review.

It's not surprising that Obama would look to help Cummings -- who endorsed the Illinois senator early and is a co-chairman of the Maryland effort for Obama.

But in the old model of politics, it would be the incumbent congressman who turns over his or her resources for a presidential campaign to use. Obama has flipped that model on its head.

Before the angry emails start, let me say this: The Obama campaign has my email address not because I am a supporter or donor or even a registered Democrat -- which I am not. (I am registered as an independent, not affiliated with a political party.) But I did provide the campaign with my e-mail address for journalistic purposes such as keeping track of its solicitations, and accessing information about local events. I did the same with the McCain campaign.

I don't recall giving the Obama campaign my home address, however. (Perhaps I did when registering on their Web site, but it was months ago, and I just don't remember). If I did not, then they used database tools to match my name and other identifying information with my home address and congressional district.

That's even more slick.

Posted by David Nitkin at 1:11 PM | | Comments (1)
        

Comments

Yes, Cummings is all about change. He is helping to make this country less free and moving us toward fascism (defined as merging big government with big business) by voting for the Wall Street bailout! Your tax dollars are going to wealthy bankers - that is "change" for you. I had voted for Cummings in the past, but no more. His opponent, Dr. Mike Hargadon, will actually listen (and respond) to his constituents. Cummings ignores the people and will ask the special interest groups that donate heavily to his campiagn how to vote. Something to keep in mind on November 4th.

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Annie Linskey covers state politics and government for The Baltimore Sun. Previously, as a City Hall reporter, she wrote about the corruption trial of Mayor Sheila Dixon and kept a close eye on city spending. Originally from Connecticut, Annie has also lived in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, where she reported on war crimes tribunals and landmines. She lives in Canton.

John Fritze has covered politics and government at the local, state and federal levels for more than a decade and is now The Baltimore Sun’s Washington correspondent. He previously wrote about Congress for USA TODAY, where he led coverage of the health care overhaul debate and the 2010 election. A native of Albany, N.Y., he currently lives in Montgomery County.

Julie Scharper covers City Hall and Baltimore politics. A native of Baltimore County, she graduated from The Johns Hopkins University in 2001 and spent two years teaching in Honduras before joining The Baltimore Sun. She has followed the Amish community of Nickel Mines, Pa., in the year after a schoolhouse massacre, reported on courts and crime in Anne Arundel County, and chronicled the unique personalities and places of Baltimore City and its surrounding counties.
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