Obama 2012 Makes Donors Ditch Phones at Fundraisers

Cell phones confiscated in strange practice
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted May 15, 2012 10:56 AM CDT
Obama 2012 Makes Donors Ditch Phones at Fundraisers
Apparently Eva Longoria got her cell phone through security at an Obama fundraiser hosted by singer Ricky Martin and the LGBT Leadership Council at the Rubin Museum of Art, May 14, 2012, in New York.   (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

President Obama’s re-election campaign is asking donors to not only open their wallets, but fork over their cell phones before entering small fundraisers, a practice that veterans of other campaigns find very odd. The practice of turning over cell phones is common in secure spaces where state secrets would be discussed and espionage is a concern, but BuzzFeed reports that it is unheard of in terms of protecting only political secrets. The president is relatively unscripted at fundraisers, and reporters are asked to leave before the Q&A sessions commence.

A Washington Post reporter first revealed the practice, which an Obama aide calls “standard operating procedure.” Aides to Mitt Romney and former aides to Hillary Clinton, Rick Perry, and Jon Huntsman all said they had never heard of such a practice, and the Clinton aide called it “absurd.” He suggested it’s a response to the embarrassing leak from a 2008 Obama fundraiser, in which Obama called rural Pennsylvania voters “bitter” and noted that they “cling to guns or religion.” Quips the former Perry aide, “In addition to religion and guns, voters like to cling to their cell phones.” (Read more cell phones stories.)

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