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18/10/2010

GOP hit list: 6 Dems under the gun

Conservative outside groups have poured millions of dollars into attack ads slamming vulnerable House Democrats – as much as $9.1 million during the last month alone, according to one estimate.

But that total may pale in comparison to what’s going to be spent over the next 25 days.

According to ad buy information provided to POLITICO by a source that tracks the buys—much of it confirmed by Democratic campaigns—more than a dozen GOP-friendly third party groups have already reserved or purchased at least $12 million in TV spots between Sept. 30 and Election Day. (See: )

The pain won’t be shared equally—a handful of junior Democrats in competitive races are slated to be on the receiving end of an ad bombardment that goes above and beyond the attacks faced by their colleagues.

Here is POLITICO’s list of the besieged incumbents who top the hit list, all of whom are scheduled to face at least $400,000 in hostile outside group ad spending between now and .

1. Reps. Alan Grayson and Suzanne Kosmas

Central Florida appears to be ground zero for the outside group attacks, with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and 60 Plus Association set to spend at least $1.7 million by the end of next week battering Reps.and .

For conservative groups, the benefit of investing heavily in the central Florida races is clear. They offer more bang for the buck since two of the most endangered freshmen Democrats in Congress represent seats within the Orlando media market—Kosmas in the 24th District and Grayson in the neighboring 8th District.

“I know there are a lot of attractive seats out there, but these are two particularly attractive seats,” said Jason Roe, a GOP strategist who is working for Florida Republicans Dan Webster and Sandy Adams, who are trying to unseat Grayson and Kosmas. “It’s an attractive situation for the NRCC and outside groups because it’s one media market.”

There are other reasons to spend big in the in the Orlando area. Each contest features Republican challengers who emerged nearly broke from competitive and expensive August primaries and unable to spend on their own TV ads.

Adams, who is the GOP nominee against Kosmas, hasn’t aired any commercials yet. Webster, Grayson’s challenger, has run just one. Meanwhile, the well-funded Grayson . Grayson raised more than $3 million for his own reelection campaign, the most impressive haul of any Democratic freshmen, and has yet to receive help from the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

While the Republican challengers have been absent from the air, the outside groups have picked up the slack. Kosmas and Grayson are individually targeted by $250,000 in ads from the Chamber, with Grayson already under fire by a Chamber spot that calls Grayson a “big mouth” and “extreme.”

And the Chamber and the 60 Plus Association have reserved a combined $1 million-plus in ads that slam Kosmas and Grayson together.

Even before the latest ad blitz, Grayson and Kosmas were softened with $230,000 in ads from the National Republican Congressional Committee.

“These [outside] ads have been lifesavers,” said Roe. “I have less anxiety and sleep a little better at night. If those ads weren’t there, I wouldn’t sleep as well knowing that we’re dark right now.”

2. Rep. Kathy Dahlkemper

More than a half-million dollars in ad spending has been—or will be—directed at , who is serving in her first term. The Commission on Hope, Growth, and Responsibility recently aired roughly $250,000 in ads targeting the Erie Democrat, while 60 Plus has targeted Dahlkemper with at least $180,000 in ads, including one tying her to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and criticizing her for supporting the “g government health care bill.”

The Chamber of Commerce, meanwhile, is also venturing into the relatively inexpensive 3rd District, spending at least $188,000 against Dahlkemper through Oct. 11. The NRCC kicked in another $300,000 of its own money on the race.

The NRCC and the conservative outside groups are playing a key role in keeping this race competitive: Through the end of June, Dahlkemper’s GOP foe Mike Kelly had just a little over $100,000 in the bank – a pittance compared to Dahlkemper’s $1 million.

“This looks like an R pick up and the conservative groups understand that. And they will continue to pour money into the district,” said Terry Madonna, director of the Franklin & Marshall College Poll.

3. Rep. Phil Hare

wasn’t on the target lists of many Republicans at the start of the cycle – but he is now.

The American Future Fund has taken out a $455,000 cable and broadcast buy that will run until Election Day against the second-term Illinois congressman—good enough for a bracing 3,391 gross rating points.

“Phil Hare doesn’t deserve reelection,” declares the 30-second American Future Fund ad, which blasts the Democrat for supporting the health care bill and for “voting with Nancy Pelosi 99 percent of the time.”

The spot began airing at the same time the NRCC announced that it too would begin taking aim at Hare. All of it will aims to soften up Hare, who faces Republican Bobby Schilling.

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has recently purchased airtime in the district to defend the congressman.

4. Rep. Carol Shea-Porter

New Hampshire Republican Frank Guinta had a paltry $158,000 in his campaign bank account through the end of September – hardly enough to run ads in the expensive Boston media market in the final weeks of an election season.

But he’s getting some high-priced help in challengingin the form of assistance from a slate of conservative-oriented groups like Revere America, Family Research Council, and Americans for Prosperity.

Revere America, an organization founded by former New York GOP Gov. George Pataki, will spend at least $400,000 on cable TV spots targeting the vulnerable two-term lawmaker – and that's on top of the $327,000 it has already laid out.

One Revere America spot rips into Shea-Porter for supporting the health care bill, saying, “It’s a plan we don’t want and didn’t need – but she voted for it anyway.”

Americans for Prosperity, meanwhile, will pitch in at least $30,000, while the socially conservative Family Research Council has thrown in $29,000 for a 30-second spot saying Shea-Porter “supported big health care, big bailouts, big debt.”

The conservative groups’ spending is bound to help Guinta, whom Democrats planned to target heavily for past ethical problems, close what would have been a large gap on the airwaves.

“Carol Shea-Porter is spending all of her energy trying to make Frank Guinta an unacceptable alternative,” James Pindell, political director for TV station WMUR, wrote in an e-mail message, “and these outside groups have helped keep the focus back on Shea-Porter and the national political environment at the moment our short general election was being defined and Guinta didn't have the money to play.”

5. Rep. Frank Kratovil

Between Oct. 4 and Oct. 10, Concerned Taxpayers of America is launching a $30,000 buy againstwhile the American Society of Anesthesiologists, is running $27,000 worth of ads.

That’s on top of the $364,000 the Commission on Hope, Growth, and Opportunity spent between Sep. 29 and Oct 5 – a sizeable broadcast station buy in his Eastern Shore-based district.

The National Republican Congressional Committee has already spent $162,000 targeting Kratovil, who narrowly defeated GOP state Sen. Andy Harris in 2008 and is facing him again this cycle. Republicans view the 1st District – where John McCain won a commanding 59 percent of the vote – as one of their top pickup opportunities this year.

The DCCC has purchased over $440,000 of airtime to defend the Maryland Democrat.

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16/10/2010

O2 Launches UK’s First Location-Based Mobile Marketing via Partnership with Placecast, Starbucks & L'Oreal are First Brands

Major UK carrier O2 partners with SF-based tech startup Placecast to offer large-scale location-based mobile marketing in the UK, enabling brands to deliver relevant SMS and MMS to 1M opt-in consumers in a more targeted, engaging and effective way than ever before. Starbucks and L’Oréal are the first brands on board.

San Francisco, CA (PRWEB) October 15, 2010

O2 today becomes the first network provider to offer large-scale location-based mobile marketing in the UK, enabling brands to deliver relevant SMS and MMS to consumers in a more targeted, engaging and effective way than ever before. Starbucks and L’Oréal are the first brands on board for the six-month trial, which relies on consumers opting into the service to receive relevant messages dependent on their age, gender, interests and for the first time, their location. With the launch, O2 immediately enables the UK’s favourite retailers and brands to reach over one million opted-in consumers on their mobile phones when they are in a mind-set to make a purchase. The service uses location-based technology known as “geo-fencing” to power the trial and is the result of O2 Media, O2’s mobile marketing arm, partnering with Placecast, a Californian company whose tried and tested platform has transformed the mobile marketing industry in the USA.

Placecast’s customers have included The North Face, quick-serve restaurant, Sonic Drive-Ins and American Eagle Outfitters. 65% of customers who were part of initial programmes made a purchase as a result of an SMS and MMS, and 60% of participants found the location-based messages to be “cool and innovative”. (1)

The partnership combines Placecast’s location-based experience with O2’s customer base of over 22 million, its network and O2 Media’s strong relationships with brands and ad buyers.It enables brands to target their audiences better than ever before and give consumers relevant and targeted information and offers.

Shaun Gregory, Managing Director of O2 Media, said: “The growth of location-based services will create a golden age for proximity marketing. It fuels a growing expectation among consumers for personalised advertising via their mobile phones that is directly relevant to their passions. The market potential here is huge - it has already had massive success in the USA - and this is another nail in the coffin of the old model of reaching mass audiences in one go.”

How it works:·     O2 customers register by text on mobile or on O2 More’s website , launched in December 2009, by inputting information about their age, gender and interests such as football, travel and cinema·     When opted-in O2 More customers are found to be within a geo-fenced area owned by Starbucks, those interested in food and drink receive an SMS offering them money off Starbucks VIA Ready Brew at a nearby branch·     When opted-in O2 More customers are found to be within a geo-fenced area owned by L’Oréal, customers interested in beauty receive an SMS offering buy one get one free on L’Oréal Elvive hair care products at Superdrug·     O2 protects its customers’ privacy by not sharing data peer to peer·     O2 does not spam its customers with irrelevant or frequent SMS or MMS – opted-in O2 More customers only receive a maximum of one SMS (text message) or MMS (text+picture message) per day from O2 More·     Customers can opt out of the service at any time·     The service works on any mobile phone (not just smartphones) and does not need an app. It has no impact on battery life as all detection is done as part of the service O2 provides for voice and messaging·     The service is not available to customers aged under 16 years

Since its launch one year ago, O2 Media has provided personalized media opportunities for brands including Adidas, Cadbury, Blockbuster and Interflora by leveraging O2’s unique customer data via O2 More. Success stories include a NatWest campaign that targeted its app at iPhone owners, which received a 26% response rate, while targeting families with teenage children gave Thorpe Park a near one-in-three download rate for its app. O2 Media has since expanded into new areas, like Top Up Surprises and Priority, to offer brands unique and innovative solutions that stand out from the traditional clutter.

Ray Conway, Starbucks UK & Ireland’s director of Consumer Packaged Goods described their thoughts on the service: “Our experience as a pioneer in social media has taught us that customers want to find Starbucks in new ways. We’re proud to be one of the first companies in the UK to use this innovative technology to offer discounts for customers who are close to supermarkets and our coffee shops where Starbucks VIA Ready Brew is sold.”

Hal Kimber, head of CRM for L’Oréal is excited about the opportunity: “We’re very pleased to be participating with O2 on the launch of this service. The opportunity to deliver timely, relevant communications to L’Oréal Paris’ various target audiences through the platform is very exciting for us and the learnings will be invaluable for our CRM initiatives going forward.In future mobile will undoubtedly become one of, if not the key channels for developing consumer relationships and we are really excited to be working with O2 from the beginning on this.”

Alistair Goodman, CEO of Placecast, stated the company’s thoughts on the partnership: “O2 is one of the most innovative mobile carriers in the market and we are pleased to be partnering with it to bring location-based mobile marketing to the UK. The service allows consumers to go about their day and automatically alerts them when they are near a special offer available at their favourite retailers. This is truly marketing as a service to consumers, not an intrusion, enabling people to connect with brands at the right place and in real-time, all via their mobile phone.”

About O2·     Telefónica O2 UK Limited is a leading communications company for consumers and businesses in the UK, with 21.6 million mobile customers and over 700,000 fixed broadband customers as at 30 June 2010.

·     Telefónica O2 UK Limited is part of Telefónica Europe plc, a business division of Telefónica S.A. which uses O2 as its commercial brand in the UK, Ireland, Slovakia, Germany and the Czech Republic, and has 54.5 million customers across these markets.

·     In 2006 Telefónica Europe acquired Be, the UK fixed broadband provider, and in October 2007 O2 launched its broadband service using the Be network.

·     O2 is the naming rights partner of The O2, the world-class entertainment venue.

·     O2 employs around 13,000 people in the UK and has 490 retail stores.

·     O2 was ranked highest in customer satisfaction for both UK mobile and fixed broadband customers according to the J.D. Power and Associates UK Mobile and Fixed Broadband Studies 2010.

·     O2 Home Broadband came top in 10 out of 11 categories in the uSwitch Broadband Customer Satisfaction Awards 2010.

·     O2 was launched on 1 May 2002 and now has more customers than any other UK mobile network.

·     O2’s UK mobile network covers 99% of the UK’s population. O2’s 3G network covers over 84% of the UK population and is fully HSDPA-enabled, providing speeds of up to 7.2 Mbps for customers with an HSDPA-enabled device.

·     Telefónica Europe also owns 50% of Tesco Mobile, which operates in the UK and Ireland, and 50% of Tchibo Mobilfunk in Germany.

·     For further press information about O2 go to

About Placecast

·     ShopAlerts is an advertising service from Placecast, a pioneer in enabling highly targeted, uniquely effective advertising. Placecast was founded in 2005 and is based in San Francisco and New York. The company is funded by Voyager Capital, Onset Ventures and Quatrex Capital.

·     Comprising a team of experts in digital marketing, mobile solutions and location technology, Placecast offers ShopAlerts as a white-label service for retailers and operators, and also licenses the Placecast Platform technology for the delivery of other types of location-based services.

·     Placecast's ShopAlerts™ service is a location triggered mobile marketing solution, giving companies the ability to deliver highly relevant mobile messages in context—tied to place and time—to their customers. Through mobile operators implementing the service with their customers, retailers can leverage the technology to reach their customers when they are in a mind-set to make a purchase

·     Since September 2009, ShopAlerts™ has run pilot programmes across the U.S. with several major retailers including SONIC® Drive-Ins and American Eagle Outfitters. Participants in the programmes were surveyed with the following results:

o    60% of participants found the location-based messages to be cool & innovative

o    79% said it increased their likelihood to visit a store

o    65% made a purchase as a result of a ShopAlerts™ message

o    73% of participants would definitely or probably use in the future

(1) Figures taken from Placecast ShopAlerts™ Pilot Studies 2009. More information on this can be seen here:

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Rachael HimselPlacecast4156779125ext. 257Email Information

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22/09/2010

Obama's aunt not sorry she accepted public housing

BOSTON – President Barack Obama's aunt says she has no reason to apologize for accepting public housing and other government assistance even though she hasn't contributed to the system.

Zeituni Onyango said in an interview with WBZ-TV that the United States is supposed to follow the teachings of Jesus Christ.

"This country is owned by almighty God," she said in her first interview since being granted asylum in May. "You people who preach Jesus Christ, almighty God, and the rest of it, you are here to help people, help the poor, help other countries and help women. That's what the United States is supposed to do."

The station aired the second part of the interview on Tuesday night.

Onyango came to the U.S. from Kenya in 2000 and was denied asylum by an immigration judge in 2004.

She stayed in the country illegally, living in Boston public housing, where she remains to this day. She also currently receives $700 per month in disability benefits.

She was granted asylum earlier this year by the same judge who said she could be in danger if she returned to her homeland because of her relationship with the president.

"It's a great country," she said of the U.S. "It's nice to live here. You can do whatever you want when you live here."

She said in the first part of the interview she intended to return to Kenya but fell critically ill and was hospitalized. When she was discharged, she could not afford to move and had to live in a homeless shelter for two years.

She said President Obama never intervened in her immigration case. Onyango is the half sister of Obama's late father.