The DNC's Pledge Hedge?

When Terry McAuliffe was the chairman of the DNC, his staff used to joke at his expense that any number he uttered -- usually a brag about some fundraising goal or field accomplishment -- had to be reduced by about a third in order to comport with reality. Dana Milbank, writing in the Washington Post, suggests that the current DNC regime is overboasting, too, about the number of Obama budget pledges it received.  

 In fact, the canvassing of Obama's vaunted e-mail list of 13 million people resulted in just 114,000 pledges -- a response rate of less than 1 percent. Workers gathered 100,000 more from street canvassing. The DNC got to 642,000 by making three photocopies of each pledge so that each signer's senators and representative could get one.

Not to echo Milbank's dismissiveness, but if the DNC brags about 642,000 pledges, one has to assume they're talking about 642,000 individual pledges from 642,000 individual people -- quite an impressive number.  But Milbank is correct. Fewer than 215,000 individuals signed on to the pledge drive.

"We delivered 642,000 pledges - I don't know how else to say it. This effort was designed to give our supporters the tools to influence their elected officials. Of course we delivered a pledge to each of their Members of Congress. How else would you have done it?," asked DNC spokesperson Natalie Wyeth.

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215,000 pledges or 642,000 pledge slips -- both numbers are hard to judge in the context od such a new endeavor. Republican staffers have been e-mailing me with a plaintive tone, urging me to pronounce upon Organizing for America's failure to mobilize Obama's grassroots army.  I think it's way too early to tell...  Turning a political campaign into a legislative action campaign is hard to do; the budget was always going to pass, so you can't credit the DNC with pushing it over the top;

And by the way, how many pledges did the RNC or any other organization collect in opposition to the President's budget?

One other point about numbers: OFA has 13 million e-mails, but only two million or so are linked to the names of people who did some sort of campaign or Obama-related volunteer activity. If you're going to compare campaign action to DNC action, you ought to start with the two million active volunteers.