Random, fire-breathing comments by politicians have turned out to be gold mines for political fundraisers to the point they may no longer be accidental. An incendiary or provocative comment by a politician can quickly become a sensation in today’s world of blogs and talks shows and just as quickly be turned into a fund-raising mechanism, The Washington Post reported
Calling the practice “money blurts,” the Post said the most famous example came in September 2009 when Rep. Joe Wilson, R-S.C., blurted out “You lie” during President Barack Obama’s address to Congress. Within a week, the little-know congressman had raked in $2 million. Former Rep. Alan Grayson, D-Fla., raised $1 million after charging the Republican idea of a health plan was “die quickly,” the Post reported.
Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., has become adept at raising money after making fiery comments. Charges that Obama has “anti-American views,” that he’s “turning our country into a nation of slaves,” and that impeachment might be in order has brought in millions.
GOP consultant Ron Bonjean told the Post, “It’s a great way to attract a very high volume of small donors and drive excitement. If you’re in the money game and you say something controversial, you’ll have support from a very energetic core.”
Whether the comments are spontaneous or planned is difficult to tell, but media consultants tell the Post that campaigns are increasingly sophisticated about the timing of fundraising pitches. Online advertising network CommonSense Media’s Jeff Cosgrove said a number of campaigns are now booking ads timed to television appearances.
“These things aren’t necessarily as organic as you would think. They seem to be often premeditated,” he said according to the Post.
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