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RNC Hitting Debate Airwaves

December 15, 2011

The Republican National Committee has come up with a clever way to make sure it's reaching the right audience as it seeks to build its outreach list: Advertise during a presidential debate.

The RNC will air a 30-second ad on Fox News affiliates in key states this evening, when Republicans share a debate stage for the final time before the Iowa caucuses. They'll ask viewers to enlist in the GOP's mobile army by texting the RNC's short code. Any viewer who texts that short code will be opting into the RNC's list.

The RNC isn't forking out a ton of money for the spots; it will air just a few times on Fox News during the debate in a few markets in Ohio, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Nevada and Wisconsin. Those who opt in can expect to receive texts aimed at getting them involved in their key swing states.

It's an interesting experiment in list-building. Republicans acknowledge they are well behind Democrats in building the kind of voter outreach lists at which the Obama campaign excelled in 2008. During interviews with friendly media, RNC chairman Reince Priebus has made a practice of asking viewers or listeners to text the short code in an effort to start closing that gap.

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