Is the Clinton campaign stealing a page out of Karl Rove’s book on “How to Slime Your Opponent in 10 Easy Lessons?” Or is the GOP behind a series of peculiar robo-calls in North Carolina targeting African American households highly similar to ones which occurred during the Virginia primary and in Ohio last year? (h/t to Pam Spaulding of Pam’s House Blend):

As reported yesterday in the Raleigh News & Observer, African-American households are receiving anonymous robo-calls with misleading information about voting. Facing South has now learned that those calls are very similar to tactics recently used in Virginia and Ohio, suggesting they may be linked to a national voter deception strategy.

In one North Carolina call, the caller falsely states that voters must send in a “voter registration packet” before voting. The State Board of Elections released a transcript of the call (you can also listen to it at the Democracy North Carolina website):

“Hello, this is Lamont Williams. In the next few days, you will receive a voter registration packet in the mail. All you need to do is sign it, date it and return your application. Then you will be able to vote and make your voice heard. Please return the voter registration form when it arrives. Thank you.”

Facing South has learned that voters in Virginia received calls with the same message before that state’s Feb. 12 primaries — although, the Virginia State Board of Elections curiously viewed it as an attempt at identity theft, not voter disenfranchisement. […]

Something tells me this has nothing to do with identity theft. That it also occurred in the days leading up to the Virginia primary points the finger of suspicion directly at the Clinton campaign. Virginia was another state in which African American turnout was expected to be high, and after the South Carolina results, was expected to break heavily for Barack Obama (which it did). That similar calls were made last year prior to a November election in Ohio is some evidence that perhaps Clinton are not behind this effort.

However, it may just be that someone in her campaign (or acting on its behalf) hired the services of the group that made those earlier robo-calls. Or this may be just typical GOP dirty tricks since we know they would rather run against Clinton in the Fall than against Obama, if only to bolster turnout of their base, who hate Clinton with a passion. We’ll probably never know for certain, but the fact that nearly identical and highly deceitful calls were made in two states in which black support for Obama is critical to his victory is cause for alarm.

Whoever wins the Democratic nomination, expect to see a lot more of this type of voter suppression effort this Fall. If Clinton wins, she should also expect to see targeted calls to African Americans reminding them how she sabotaged the Obama candidacy during the primaries, with the intent of degrading her support among black voters as well as suppressing their turnout overall (a message to which the African American community would be highly susceptible after what’s occurred during the primary campaign). This would have a very deleterious effect, not only on Clinton’s chances to win the general election, but also on down ticket races.

And I used to think 2004 was the nastiest election campaign I’d ever seen, one which could never be topped. Silly me.

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