September 22nd, 2009
11:24 AM ET
12 years ago

Online, campaigns take advantage of 'You lie!' storm

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/09/14/art.youlie.gi.jpg caption="Joe Wilson and his online team turned what could have been a PR disaster, in to an online success story."]WASHINGTON (CNN) - When Rep. Joe Wilson yelled "You lie!" at President Obama, the South Carolina Republican's political team quickly launched an online strategy to capitalize on the incident.

Wilson's heated outburst came on the House floor as Obama addressed a joint session of Congress about health care.

Within 12 hours, Wilson media consultant Brian Donahue had sketched out a plan that included buying ads on Google, cutting videos on YouTube and using Twitter and Facebook to raise money and counter the congressman's critics.

"We knew that influencers and news outlets would want to find out more information about what happened and what Joe Wilson's response was, and they would be looking for this information online," Donahue told CNN. "The events were happening by the minute and by the hour. Online was where we needed to be to respond and provide new information from Congressman Wilson. Traditional print media couldn't keep up with the pace of this issue."

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Follow Eric Kuhn on Twitter @KuhnCNN


Filed under: Facebook • Joe Wilson • President Obama • Social Networking • Twitter • YouTube
soundoff (37 Responses)
  1. Big Ed

    Republicans are taking advantage, Democrats are taking advantage and the voters are taking it on the chin. Thanks Congress!

    September 22, 2009 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  2. Jay T.

    Joe Wilson voted to keep the Confederate flag flying over the state building in South Carolina. That should be enough to provide a little window into the modern day Conservative movement. It is a Regional Party. Deal with it!

    September 22, 2009 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  3. BOBBY K. FROM BIRMINGHAM, AL.

    No! Mr. Wilson "YOU'er a LIAR"!!!!!!!!

    September 22, 2009 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  4. ThinkAgain

    The GOP is all about making money, including off the rude behavior of their self-righteous, hypocritical members of Congress.

    And they complain about how "Liberals" are destroying our country! HAH!

    September 22, 2009 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  5. Proud Member..Party of No

    Joe Wilson: Truth-teller and Patriot.

    Maybe this is who we need in The White House instead of the current liar-in-chief that we are stuck with.

    September 22, 2009 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  6. Bill

    Joe Wilson Yelled Because:

    1. He could not control his emotions.
    2. It was a Sudden Outburst.
    3. He was Very Upset.
    4. It was Not Intentional and Not Premeditated.

    Every person who Murders says the same defenses 1 to 4 above.

    Do we exonerate all Murderers based upon the above defenses?

    Yelling inside the Capitol is STRICT LIABILITY, like you get Ticketed for jumping a Red Light, with no Exceptions. 😐
    In Congress we need only Decent and Learned People, not Yellers.

    September 22, 2009 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  7. VB Lincoln Park NJ

    Congressman Joe Wilson (LOL!) is the real liar.

    September 22, 2009 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  8. Ken

    Yeh, all the birth-baggers love Joe Wilson. He's their kind of guy: uber-patisan, under-informed and willing to embarrass himself in front of the nation to promote his party's quest to take this country back into the dark ages. He's one of the new mullahs for the christo-fascists that run the [R] party. That there are enough neo-twits out there to waste a donation on this moron is a sad comment on the state of our country. The rightwing is continuing where bin Laden left off.

    September 22, 2009 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  9. LacrosseMom

    The GOP have a long history of telling LIES, or at the very least fear-mongering, here is a short list:

    The internet rumor in 2007 that Barack Obama is really Muslim. To frighten Americans.

    The whisper-campaign about "Death Panels" told by many far-right-folks, including Palin. Another fear tactic and a ...... lie!

    The LIES told by the McCain/Palin campaign that "Obama pals around with terrorist." Lie.

    The lies told regularly on AM Hate-Radio by Hannity, Reagan, Savage, etc., and the lies on Faux News.

    The LIE told to us by Bush & DICK, that Iraq was building nuclear weapons and had WMD's so we must attack. Thousands of our Troops have died. Millions of Iraqis have died and been displaced.

    The GOP's politics of hate, lies, fear and division is vile and just plain evil.

    September 22, 2009 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  10. trying to be reasonable in WV

    Both Wilson and his opponent will continue to generate lots of national interest (read: bux) because of the incident. How will the influence of money play out in next fall's campaign? Forget your partisan preferences for a minute (as if that were possible, but . . . .). and ask yourself how will the people of that congressional district be served by all of this. The answer could go either way, but I'll confess that I doubt having the big media guns on EITHER OR BOTH sides will serve the people of SC particularly well. "Campaign discourse" is a nearly total oxymoron: campaigns these days are about disinformation, not information. (sigh) It's a free country, of course, so stay tuned.

    September 22, 2009 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  11. Jimmy

    "YOU LIE" Wilson speaks the truth and the Democrats can't handle the truth. Where was all the uproar with the Democrats during Bush's speech. Oh the good old Democrat double standard, gotta love those hypocrites.

    September 22, 2009 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  12. www.robmillerforcongress.com

    "When Rep. Joe Wilson yelled "You lie!" at President Obama, the South Carolina Republican's political team quickly launched an online strategy to capitalize on the incident."

    It's not like Republicans were able to move fast to take money from their followers because the "You Lie" outburst was staged or anything.

    I donated to Rob Miller for Congress.

    Since Wilson's outburst, he's been caught in no less than TWO lies in his public statements.

    Rob Miller, Joe "The Heckler" Wilson's 2010 challenger, is a former marine and Iraq War veteran, and owns a small business in South Carolina.

    September 22, 2009 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  13. Brain Dead in Ohio

    Is it too much to ask to respect the land of opportunity by not turning it into the land of opportunists?

    I don't care if this guy is racist unless he's slightly retarded he shouldn't be blurting out like a 5trh grader with ADD.

    September 22, 2009 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  14. TH - Atl

    You Lie!

    September 22, 2009 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  15. joan

    I say,crap!

    September 22, 2009 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  16. Ted Tartaglia

    I am sure there those who will want to support this ill-mannered fool. Moreover, there are those who condone his rude and boorish behavior. If Wilson is an example of the contemporary Repub politician, it is no wonder that few will admit to being Repub party members.

    It is time for the Repub party to end their obstructionism and come to the table with new ideas instead of a rehash of failed policies. Step up Repubs and become part of the solution instead of being part of the problem.

    September 22, 2009 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  17. Clyde

    Is that interesting that they were just so quick to all those avenues of information up and running so quickly? Makes me wonder, are they that good? OR, was it all planned out?

    September 22, 2009 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  18. Kat

    So instead of focusing on the fact that the health care bill, which ever one is bouncing around now, will tax the people, increase the deficit and lessen the quality of care for all Americans, focus on the fact that Joe Wilson pointed out that Obama was lying!!!!

    September 22, 2009 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  19. jon,philadelphia

    It's disgusting that money can be made on such bad behavior. It scares me to think that people admire this clod.

    September 22, 2009 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  20. Stacy from Leesburg, VA

    Joe Wilson needs to put his civil war re-enactors’ uniform away and stop trying to channel the ghost of Jefferson Davis. Is it a requirement that every politician that comes from South Carolina be a complete idiot? Either there isn’t much to vote for down there or there are some real idiots marking ballots down there.

    September 22, 2009 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  21. J.P.

    So let me get this straight. Cops across the country are forbidden from enforcing immigration laws, but somehow your doctor or hospital will be allowed to do it?

    This is what Joe Wilson was talking about. There is NO enforcement mechanism in ANY of the bills that would preclude illegals from obtaining medical care paid for by the American Tax Payer. What, you expect ol' Doc Brown to "card" his patients at the door like a bartender cards for booze?

    I understand and acknowledge Joe Wilson's breach of Congressional decorum, but tell me again how he was wrong when he said, "You Lie." Because so far, neither Obama nor his Congressional O'bots has lifted a finger to rectify the enforcement mechanism problem.

    2010 can not come fast enough.

    September 22, 2009 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  22. Laurie

    this is what wrong with our country. reward a congressman for being a racist. nice example we're setting for our kids. absolutely terrible and disgraceful.

    September 22, 2009 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  23. Robin

    Rude? Yes. Out of line in that venue? Yes.

    Was Joe Wilson wrong? NO, ABSOLUTELY NOT!

    Illegals will be covered. It will raise our deficit. It will raise our taxes. Even the dems know that. Why do you think it has not been pushed through yet?

    We do need insurance reform. Let's start with tort reform and fraud and start building from there. If we do this right, it would be an actual fix that will be better for us in the long run. If we do it wrong, it will be a bandaid that will bankrupt us.

    September 22, 2009 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  24. ThinkAgain

    Joe Wilson is NOT a truth-teller! HE is a LIAR!

    HR 3200 expressly prohibits subsidies for illegal immigrants.

    Go to HR 3200 on the Web and look at Page 143, Section 246, entitled, "No Payment For Undocumented Aliens".

    Here is the entire text:

    "Nothing in this subtitle shall allow federal payments for affordability credits on behalf of individuals who are not lawfully in the United States."

    September 22, 2009 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  25. Kim

    Gop on previous blog........"reviving their economy" doesn't seem to be Obama's priority. He is too busy increasing spending and raising taxes to bother looking at the rising unemployment numbers.

    Exaclty who's taxes has he raised? Still lying ?.....Taxes have been decreased to add more to your paycheck.

    Stop Lying!

    September 22, 2009 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
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