Posted by: Ian Ross | February 24, 2008

Make Sure Your Supporters Aren’t Bandwagon Jumpers

Getting prominent supporters to publicly champion your PR campaign is normally gold. They show that your position and messages have broader public support. They offer credibility and name recognition to the press.  And they are seen as more genuiene because they aren’t being paid for their words.

However there is always the danger that these individuals are bandwagon jumpers rather than knowledgable and deeply committed supporters. When the press starts asking questions that go deeper than the surface, you need these supporters to not only stay on message but also demonstrate they have the facts and believe in them.

Barack Obama found out the hard way last week. His campaign put forward Senator Kirk Watson for a debate on CNN’s Hardball. The supportive senator could not name one of Obama’s legislative accomplishments when asked. Not one. And host Chris Matthews made Watson’s support look very shallow by asking over and over again for an answer.

At the end of the segment, you can hear laughter in the backgrounder from cameramen and producers. You can bet Obama wasn’t laughing.

Thanks to Paul Wells for spotlighting this one.

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