Bait and switch
“Democratic White House hopeful John Edwards’ team has been collecting e-mail addresses from supporters who’ve sent his cancer-stricken wife, Elizabeth, notes – and using them for fund-raising requests, aides acknowledged yesterday.
The link on Edwards’ campaign Web site invites people to “send a note to Elizabeth and John” and features a sad letter from the former senator penned just after the couple found out her breast cancer had spread and is now incurable.
But people who’ve been sending such well wishes have been hit with e-mail solicitations from Team Edwards, asking for donations just as all candidates are looking to post big online fund-raising numbers.
In the letter, Edwards says the pair is staying optimistic and fighting hard for Elizabeth. Below the letter is a space for writing the couple a message – which can’t be sent without all sections completed, including one asking for the sender’s e-mail address.
That, in turn, is added to the campaign’s online database for boosting Internet donations.
In response, message-senders get a “thank you” for their kind words, but no other indication that their e-mail addresses are being stored.
After getting hit with a barrage of criticism for the under-handed tactics, the Edwards campaign told reporters yesterday it would add an option to allow well-wishers to decline getting future e-mails.
What a weasel.