When I found out from Wonkette that the McCain-Palin campaign was holding a firesale of campaign sundries -- including teevees and laptops -- not far from my neighborhood, I briefly thought about driving over to see what deals there were to be had. My wife talked me out of it, telling me that what she wanted for Christmas was a gift "not drenched in the stink of terrible failure." As it turns out, I should have gone, because the campaign was selling twenty-dollar Blackberries choked with campaign emails and addresses of GOP bigwigs!
There were only 10 left. All of the batteries had died. There were no chargers for sale. But people were snatching them up. So, we bought a couple.
And ended up with a lot more than we bargained for.
When we charged them up in the newsroom, we found one of the $20 Blackberry phones contained more than 50 phone numbers for people connected with the McCain-Palin campaign, as well as hundreds of emails from early September until a few days after election night.
We traced the Blackberry back to a staffer who worked for "Citizens for McCain," a group of Democrats who threw their support behind the Republican nominee. The emails contain an insider's look at how grassroots operations work, full of scheduling questions and rallying cries for support.
But most of the numbers were private cell phones for campaign leaders, politicians, lobbyists and journalists.
We called some of the numbers.
"Somebody made a mistake," one owner told us. "People's numbers and addresses were supposed to be erased."
"They should have wiped that stuff out," another said. But he added, "Given the way the campaign was run, this is not a surprise."
You would think the McCain campaign would have known better, seeing how McCain invented the Blackberry in the first place.