Banana phone, ring ring ring.
FOX 31's Eli Stokols reports on a weekend political "robocall" with high dirty-tricks potential that failed rather spectacularly:
Numerous robocalls purporting to support U.S. Senate candidate Gaylon Kent went out to voters late Saturday night and early Sunday morning, but the Libertarian candidate says his campaign was not behind them…
The calls seem to be intended to hurt Democratic Sen. Mark Udall, who is locked in a tight race with GOP Congressman Cory Gardner that is likely to determine which party controls the Senate next year.
Via e-mail and social media, multiple people complained of being awoken by the calls. Kent’s campaign said they received reports of calls going out between 10:40 p.m. Saturday and 4 a.m. Sunday.
“Most of the contacts came from Denver-area supporters of (Mark) Udall,” Kent said. “But one gentleman from Philadelphia called me to complain, and I got a Facebook message from a lady in Virginia, too.”
Here's a rough transcript of said midnight robocall:
"Since Mark Udall was elected to the US Senate in 2008, the United States has bombed seven countries. We bombed Iraq, we bombed Afghanistan, we bombed Pakistan, we bombed Libya, we bombed Yemen, we bombed Somalia. And now, we're bombing Syria.
In fact, with Mark Udall in the Senate, the US has bombed more countries than it did under George Bush. Not only has Mark Udall not done anything to stop this, Mark Udall has been leading the charge to bomb Syria for years and to continue the carnage that we're inflicting on the world. It's right there on his website.
There's only one true anti-war candidate in this year's Senate election: Gaylon Kent. So grab your ballot right now and vote for Gaylon Kent, and tell Washington: 'No more war!' This message brought to you by the Libertas Institute."
By all accounts, this call went out to younger, "high propensity" Democratic voters–that is, safe and core constituency voters for Democratic Sen. Mark Udall. It's not hard to imagine why Udall's opponents would try just about anything to confound and depress these key voters. Suspicion focused early on an organization called the Libertas Institute based in Utah. That group, however, claims no affiliation with the "Libertas Institute" identified in the robocall. A website for the "Libertas Institute of Colorado," however, displays this message:
Normally calls are restricted to reasonable hours, however, due to a programming error calls continued through the late night hours. It was not the intent to call people in the middle of the night, or to cause Mr. Kent any negative effect.
We deeply regret the intrusive effect of these calls and also the embarrassment they caused Mr. Kent.
Sources tell us a "Libertas Institute" also called active Democrats in 2012, with a similarly-themed call urging Colorado Democratic voters to support Gary Johnson over Barack Obama–with a message that began, "Greetings fellow Democrat!" There's no registration for this group that we can find in Colorado, so it's anybody's guess who they really represent or what their real agenda is. All of which would have probably stayed nicely under the radar had their robocall not gone out in the middle of the night, thus making it an embarrassing news story. Once it's a story, people can easily corroborate basic details like the fact that it was aimed entirely at high propensity Democratic voters.
Once those voters realize they are being played, their reaction is likely to be…other than intended.