Americans for Prosperity dispatches buses on voter turnout push
August 28th, 2012
05:58 PM ET
2 years ago

Americans for Prosperity dispatches buses on voter turnout push

Tampa, Florida (CNN) - Representatives for Americans for Prosperity, the conservative group behind tens of millions in political advertising, said Tuesday their separate issue advocacy arm was sending three buses around the country to rally activists helping the group gather data on persuadable voters.

The buses, making their debut in Tampa during the Republican National Convention, are plastered with statistics on the national economy, making the case that President Barack Obama is pursuing a "failing agenda."

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"The failures just keep piling up," the side of one of the buses reads. "$1.7 trillion health care takeover. 42 straight months of unemployment above 8%. $16 trillion national debt. Billions wasted on Solyndra and green energy scams."

Quote bubbles over photos of Obama spell out past remarks from the president that Republicans have utilized heavily in their attacks: "The private sector is doing fine" and "You didn't build that" are both prominently featured.

Levi Russell, AFP's director of public affairs, said the quotes could be changed easily, so if Obama or Vice President Joe Biden make a new remark Republicans find illustrative, it can be quickly switched in.

Tim Phillips, the president of Americans for Prosperity, said the bus tour would make one its first stops next week in Charlotte, site of the Democratic National Convention. After that the busses head to 15 different cities in North Carolina, a critical battleground that went for Obama in 2008 but that Republicans are confident they can take in November.

Americans for Prosperity, partially funded by the influential brothers Charles and David Koch, has 80 full-time staff members in offices scattered over 32 states, Phillips said, and a wide network of field operations in 18 states they consider priorities. Florida alone has eight field offices.

When the tour arrives at each location, activists in AFP's network will work from the bus to reach voters who the group considered persuadable in November's election.

"These are people that we know they're going to vote, and based on what we know about them, it would lead us to believe they need to hear our message," Phillips said.

AFP's teams will be armed with tablets already loaded with addresses (including GPS-generated maps) and contact info for voters the group has identified as targets. Canvassers will be able to enter survey information from the voters as the group's team goes door to door.

The tablets will also be loaded with pre-programmed scripts targeted to each voters' top issues, including spelling out what they see as Obama's failed economic plan.

The digital effort - which is similar to a digital canvassing tool unveiled by the Obama campaign earlier this summer - will eliminate errors from transcribing hand-written voter information, the group said, and will make for faster, more efficient data collection.

Despite AFP's goal of electing Romney president, the group's bus tour (run by the issue-advocacy arm that focuses on policy issues and generating grassroots action) and political advertisements (run by the express advocacy arm) have taken a different tack from fellow independent groups that are trying to defeat the incumbent Democrat.

The issue-advocacy arm and the express-advocacy arm are run separately.

"We don't call names," Phillips said. "I would argue we have the tamest ads on the air."

Voters who can still be persuaded to vote for either candidate have a low tolerance for harshly negative ads that have become commonplace in presidential campaigns, Phillips added.

"They have incredibly low trust level for campaign messages," he said. "They hate the idea of traditional campaign messages. They like this president personally, there's an emotional attachment. They voted for him last time. And they're deeply concerned economically, not the social issues. Their concern right now is economy. And that impacts how we reach out to them."

AFP's television advertising has focused largely on economic issues, including criticizing the president for not doing more on the national debt. The group's latest ads, announced last week, feature voters who supported President Barack Obama in 2008 but who are now critical of how he's handled the economy.

The group is currently in the middle of a $27 million ad buy hitting markets in battleground states. Phillips said the bus tour and get-out-the-vote efforts would cost AFP additional tens of millions of dollars.

soundoff (28 Responses)
  1. truth hurts

    How could they possibly have found a bus big enough to list ALL of Obama's failures?!! Is it a quadruple decker or is it 300 feet long?!!

    August 28, 2012 06:01 pm at 6:01 pm |
  2. Gurgyl

    We rather have him than Mittzy. That Bain a capital sells this nation to china, India true.

    August 28, 2012 06:04 pm at 6:04 pm |
  3. truth hurts

    Ohhhh, I see! They just had to write really really small to fit them all on there! They should add Reid and Pelosi to the bus as well to drive home the point that Obama's failure had help from them too! It'll help the Senate candidates as well.

    August 28, 2012 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |
  4. Pander Bear

    The Koch brothers Tour of Lies.

    August 28, 2012 06:20 pm at 6:20 pm |
  5. Larry L

    It's quite appropriate their slogan would be a sentence purposefully taken completey out of context. Dishonesty is the trademark of the new Republican Party. The President's actual of the term showed compassion and understanding of the team effort required for America to prosper. The Republicans chose dishonesty – again.

    August 28, 2012 06:20 pm at 6:20 pm |
  6. Joshua

    Thats why I support Americans for Prosperity. Time to start talking about the destructive policies of no Hope and a Change for the worse. To to boot the do nothing President.

    August 28, 2012 06:23 pm at 6:23 pm |
  7. Anonymous

    It might be nice if they contributed some of that money to the national debt that they are so all concerned about.But that would be doing the right thing and that is totally foreign to republicans.How much difference would Sheldon Adelsons 100 mil make on that.This rhetoric makes me sick.It's all about seizing power and cutting breaks for their millionaire buddies.

    August 28, 2012 06:27 pm at 6:27 pm |
  8. DENNA

    You people are sooo typical. The GOP has done everything it can to impede President Obama's progress. They have held this country hostage since the 2010 election, refusing to do their darned jobs governing and NOW they claim that President Obama has failed. Because of you people, we have paid the GOP congressmen for doing nothing for 2 years. Talk about welfare queens.

    August 28, 2012 06:27 pm at 6:27 pm |
  9. Romney Hood's a FRAUD

    Is it just me or does everyone else see the irony of this bus traveling on roads paid for by taxpayer (government) dollars?!?! The president was exactly right....you didn't build that! How sweet of team Romnay Hood to help make the point that the president was speaking of the highways and other services businesses use to get their product to market. Wow! Thanks, willard!! Keep up the good work! LOL

    August 28, 2012 06:28 pm at 6:28 pm |
  10. once upon a horse

    be careful what you ask for when you want a higher voter turnout. There are MORE registered Democrats than Republicans and the Hispanic and African/American vote you are trying to suppress may get even more energized. I doubt very seriously though if the Koch Brothers have the nerve to run that bus through those communities.

    August 28, 2012 06:29 pm at 6:29 pm |
  11. Neil

    Americans for Prosperity huh? I have a feeling they're speaking of their prosperity not mine.The republicans are one sick party and I don't mean that in a good way.

    August 28, 2012 06:31 pm at 6:31 pm |
  12. truth hurts

    > Larry L - It's quite appropriate their slogan would be a sentence purposefully taken completey out of context

    The clown said it! Live with it!! He dropped his pants and showed us all the socialist he really is. The closet socialist opened up a little before he tried to slam it closed again to continue the Obama con game.

    And under what context is a statement like that ok??? NONE.

    August 28, 2012 06:31 pm at 6:31 pm |
  13. kayla

    how low can they go? desperate times , desperate measures

    August 28, 2012 06:31 pm at 6:31 pm |
  14. Silence DoGood

    @Larry L "...[Obama] showed compassion and understanding..."

    I would have preferred to have had Obama actually do something.

    August 28, 2012 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |
  15. Jane

    @truth hurts: 1. The Republicans have "We Built It" painted on the wall of the convention center, which was built with appx 70% taxpayer money. 2. Ten to one that bus that they're using for their "Emotionally Immature Tour" wasn't built in the US. 3. He Didn't Say it – shut up, sit down and listen to a tape of what he said (without Fox's editing) and live with it.

    August 28, 2012 06:37 pm at 6:37 pm |
  16. scott

    Love the bus, it spreads the message of truth, Cry Liberals, Cry your tin god Obama is a loser with a capital L.

    August 28, 2012 06:44 pm at 6:44 pm |
  17. cali girl

    That is fine, the Robmey bus tour says they are for the Middle class, going right under the bus and being run over time and time again.

    August 28, 2012 06:48 pm at 6:48 pm |
  18. Rooney

    That bus makes me feel patriotic...

    August 28, 2012 06:49 pm at 6:49 pm |
  19. Kojo

    Wonderful idea. Just love this bus...

    August 28, 2012 06:54 pm at 6:54 pm |
  20. Suzanne

    That's disgusting, divisive, and downright nasty. Anyone who will fall for "bus decorations" obviously will not be an educated voter - but, whatever works, right, Mitt?

    August 28, 2012 07:04 pm at 7:04 pm |
  21. Larry L

    @truth hurts

    > Larry L – It's quite appropriate their slogan would be a sentence purposefully taken completey out of context

    The clown said it! Live with it!! He dropped his pants and showed us all the socialist he really is. The closet socialist opened up a little before he tried to slam it closed again to continue the Obama con game.

    And under what context is a statement like that ok??? NONE.
    ----------------------------------------------------–
    If you'd read the actual transcript you might understand. Maybe... However, I'm quite certain you won't find the speech on Fox News. It was about all of the things we all do to make a successful business climate. He spoke of the infrastructure of roads, bridges and airports required for commerce. He talked about the financial, educational, and technological aspects of building a business – all the parts played by all of the people associated with every business. Get somebody to listen to the speech and explain it to you. If you actually understand the dishonesty and still feel good about the practice, just go back and sit in front of Fox and soak up some more conservative dishonesty...

    August 28, 2012 07:06 pm at 7:06 pm |
  22. truth hurts

    Obama – You didn't build that by yourself. The government empowers you to build that by first taking most of what you make, giving a big percentage to our union backers, and then building roads (with more union backers) with the rest of the money. So I guess yes, you really did build that since it was your money.

    Obama – Power and Freedom is granted by government, ie. Solyndra. Solyndra didn't fail all by themselves, they needed government to make it happen!

    August 28, 2012 07:07 pm at 7:07 pm |
  23. GonzoinHouston

    First they wreck the economy, then they do everything possible to prevent Obama from doing much of anything to fix it, then they blame Obama for the economy not being fixed, then the propose to do more of what wrecked the economy in the first place. This might make sense on the other side of Alice's looking glass, but on this side it looks crazy.

    August 28, 2012 07:09 pm at 7:09 pm |
  24. Larry L

    @Silence DoGood

    @Larry L "...[Obama] showed compassion and understanding..."

    I would have preferred to have had Obama actually do something.
    ---------------------------------------------------–
    I would have preferred for the President not to inherited a terrible recession from a Republican Administration of 8 years. I would have preferred President Bush had not started two wars – one of them purely optional. I would have preferred that 4,500 Servicemembers not died in those wars. I would have preferred the Republicans in the Senate not to have filibustered every initiative. I would have preferred the "birthers" not to be hateful racists. I would have preferred for the Tea Party in the House not to have held America hostage during the debt crisis so long the S&P lowered our rating. I would have preferred the Republicans not to have planned obstructionism on THE FIRST DAY of the President's term. Those are things "I would have preferred"...

    August 28, 2012 07:12 pm at 7:12 pm |
  25. Larry L

    @truth hurts
    ---------------------------------------------------Here’s the entire quote:

    If you were successful, somebody along the line gave you some help. There was a great teacher somewhere in your life. Somebody helped to create this unbelievable American system that we have that allowed you to thrive. Somebody invested in roads and bridges. If you’ve got a business, you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen.”

    How many business were built without the knowledge from a teacher, the sweat of the people who built the roads, the postal service, the banking industry, or the workers who did the everyday tasks? This phrase is used by Republicans because they don't want to talk about Romney's tax returns, the obstructionism of the Republicans in Congress, or Romney's ruthless vulture capitalism at Bain Capital. They are "swift boat" dishonest to the core.

    August 28, 2012 07:19 pm at 7:19 pm |
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