Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Candidates Beware: Cameras Are Everywhere

It's hard not to spot the supporters with the camera cell phones and tiny video recorders. They push close to their candidates, or hang back, eager to record the moment.

But here in Oklahoma, as elsewhere, among those "supporters" may be what are being called "Trackers," or those whose eagerness to capture the moment is rooted in the hope the moment may include the candidate's foot in his or her mouth.

There's been no use of video captured in this way yet in Oklahoma, but with 13 days to go, who knows what may happen? With Democrats Kenneth Corn, Susan Paddack, Jim Priest, Steve Burrage and others struggling to gain traction on their perceived-as-ahead Republican foes and going negative in their television commercials, some in the GOP expect anything to happen.

Some political strategists say tracking is vital to modern campaigning.

"Ten or 11 years ago you'd see it in big-money races," said Steve Glorioso, a veteran political consultant in Kansas City. "But now you're seeing it in all congressional races, Senate races, gubernatorial races...when you run campaigns now you've got to do it."

Nationwide, the "Tracker" phenomenon rocketed into politics with the 2006 Virginia "Macaca" moment that tanked GOP candidate George Allen's campaign. And in many states, including Colorado, trackers have captured moments both Democrat and Republican candidates might prefer not be seen on television. In one state, a female congresswoman brags to a select group about her "90 percent for President Obama, 93 percent for Nancy Pelosi" support and later, tries to brush it off when asked about it.

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