Saturday, March 29, 2008

Robotic phone calls lead Democratic delegates astray

Some receive false claims that conventions have been cancelled

AUSTIN — The Texas Democratic Party on Friday urged delegates to today's senatorial district and county conventions to ignore e-mails and robotic phone calls telling them that the conventions have either been canceled or had their times changed.

The conventions are a crucial turning point in Texas as the presidential campaigns of Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama fight for 67 nominating convention delegates who will be chosen through the Texas caucus process.

While Obama appeared to come out of the caucuses with a 37-30 lead, the number can change based on how many supporters for each candidate show up for today's local conventions.

That prompted Democratic Chairman Boyd Richie to put out an alert after receiving reports that delegates were being given misinformation about the conventions. Richie said all the conventions are going to occur as scheduled.

"We have received reports from delegates who have received e-mails saying that conventions have been canceled," Richie said. "We have also received unconfirmed reports that someone is placing robo-calls claiming to be from the Texas Democratic Party suggesting that county or district conventions have been cancelled."

The e-mails, at least, appear to be a self-inflicted wound by Clinton's campaign. Convention delegates who had signed up for Clinton event notices on her Web site late Thursday received notices that their local convention had been canceled. The error occurred when the campaign deleted entries for conventions that had changed times or locations, said Texas field director Mike Trujillo......

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