On the political fundraising circuit, the Obama campaign is reportedly asking that fundraiser attendees check their cell phones at the door, apparently to prevent audio and video leaks from inside the events. Though Obama’s campaign says phone checking is standart procedure, Buzzfeed reports that “veterans of a range of other campaigns said they’d never heard of the practice, which is common in secure White House spaces where there are concerns of espionage.”
It’s not hard to imagine why collecting cell phones before the president starts speaking seems wise. In 2008 at a fundraiser in San Francisco, Obama commented that it’s not surprising that people in small towns in the midwest, where jobs fell during the past two administrations, “cling to guns or religion or antipathy toward people who aren’t like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.” After audio from the fundraiser leaked, the media extracted the “guns and religion” line, and the right used it effectively to paint Obama as an elitist. Just recently, Rick Santorum revived the so-called gaffe at a speech in Pensylvania, saying “damn right” we cling to our guns and our bibles.
Though confiscating cell phones may give the impression that Obama either doesn’t trust his ability to say the right thing or outright has something to hide, it’s probably a wise move. Obama’s almost superhuman ability to always say the right thing isn’t perfect, especially given the media’s even more superhuman ability to take quotes out of context and construct whatever narrative they need.
(via The Atlantic Wire)