According to the student newspaper, the Daily Pennsylvanian, the notices were attributed to a group called Penn for Change, which does not exist. The rally, not featuring an introduction by New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson, is not booked into Irvine Auditorium. Though Obama is touring Pennsylvania as part of his “Road to Change” tour, no stops are scheduled at Penn.
Obama was probably too busy to attend after his address across the state at the University of Pittsburgh on March 28. Or so said the various websites, Facebook event listings and fliers distributed around that campus, before they were also revealed as a hoax. The Pitt News reported that the tomfoolery extended to someone fashioning a duplicate Facebook profile for Dan Gore, a sophomore who heads the university’s Students for Barack Obama chapter, in order to send the faux-invitation to the student body. The malcontent or malcontents unknown proceeded to change their “Dan Gore” to match the real Obama stumper, even through three profile picture changes.
In an interview with the Pitt News, Gore said there were certain giveaways that made him doubt the veracity of the Obama flier. "The one thing I feel that makes it illegitimate was that it was just black and white, like it was printed from a computer lab. If it was a real campaign flier, it'd be colorful and eye-catching. Obama has a lot of money," he said.
The Obama campaign has a lot of money—a record $55 million raised in February alone. True. But I query: in a race as tight as this, with every vote and every delegate essential for future success, particularly in Pennsylvania, why not take the honey when it’s free? In this economy, plastic eggs and printing, even if it’s cheap computer-lab rubbish B&W, costs bank. Take advantage of that free publicity! What’s a few thousand more democracy-addled young minds in the grand scheme of things? Only a few thousand more votes in one of the country’s most essential swing states...
Then again, maybe that’s what THEY want. It wasn’t so long ago that a band of young, idealistic rat fuckers led by Donald Segretti, fresh off ballot-box stuffing and student-election-rigging at USC, made a campaign of pedestrian miscreantery at the expense of Democratic candidates that included fudging campaign rallies. Their misdeeds came to light when a Cuban anticommunist left tape on the lock of an outside door of the Watergate, leading to the veritable deluge of clandestine political plumbing that drowned a White House. Will Obama eggs and Facebook photos now carry the banner? GOPers must be sweating at least a little bit at the sight of throngs of 18-and-overs dancing with Obamamania, and what would dull that fervor and make collegians more grumpy than dragging them away from bed and drink to a nonexistent rally?
No judgment passed here, but who was Segretti’s protégé in 1972? A one Karl Rove. And who visited Irvine Auditorium on February 20, less than a month before the faux-eggs? Karl Rove, who in the closing of his speech reportedly advised the students, "If you ever get a chance to work in the White House, do it."
Maybe a few have taken him up on the offer.
-- Joe Horton