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What Interest Groups Are Doing for the Debate What Interest Groups Are Doing for the Debate

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What Interest Groups Are Doing for the Debate


The national headquarters of the AARP is seen Friday, Nov. 28, 2003, in Washington. In 45 years, AARP, formerly known as the American Association of Retired Persons, has grown from a program founded to insure retired teachers to a more than $636 million-a-year empire that pays its chief executive a half-million-dollar salary and lends its name to things such as pharmacy services and Medicare supplemental insurance, and discounts for hotel rooms, cars, shopping and cruises.((AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

It's Obama v. Romney part deux, town hall style edition, and interest groups are rearin' and ready to go.

Center for Union Facts, for instance, is rolling out an ad on Fox News just before tonight's debate.The ad buy by the Richard Berman group is $120,000, and part of a larger $10 million campaign to push for Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch's and Rep. Tim Scott's Employee Rights Act.

AARP is continuing its debate presence with a series of events today in Hempstead, N.Y. The non-partisan group is a sponsor of tonight's rumble and is pushing its "You've Earned A Say" campaign to get the candidates to have an in-depth conversation on Social Security and Medicare.

In the "if interest groups were moderators" category comes National Foreign Trade Council president Bill Reinsch, who has written "Four questions that should be asked tonight --- but won't." (Not optimistic there, are we?). The questions touch upon climate change, education, innovation and America's long-term role in geopolitics.

UPDATE: Our colleague Adam Mazmanian reports:

The business group BIPAC has shelled out somewhere in the vicinity of $130,000 for a Promoted Trend on Twitter in advance of Tuesday's presidential debate at Hofstra University. The Promoted Trend is the closest thing Twitter has to a home-page ad. It places the topic #FightForJobs at the top of user trend lists worldwide for 24 hours.

The campaign's goal is to "increase reach with citizens and get them engaged and motivated to play their part in the electoral process. Not only to vote, but to pay close attention to the issues," said BIPAC New-Media Director Liz Shrum.

The campaign isn't linked to BIPAC's own Twitter presence. Instead, it's mapped to the @FightForJobs Twitter handle, a verified account that BIPAC launched in August. It now has about 19,000 followers, and Shrum is hoping that number will jump during the debate.


The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is also looking to influence the online debate with a less expensive and less visible ad buy designed to urge its followers to put questions to both candidates about how they will work on behalf of the business community.

The chamber's digital strategist, Nick Schaper, explained that the business group wants to "use the community that we built to get involved." The chamber is soliciting questions for the candidates under the hashtag #Ask4Business, and then using the Promoted Tweet ad unit and keyword-based ads to get more attention for those questions.

"They will be seen in Boston and Chicago," Schaper said.

This post was originally published at 3:37 p.m.

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