December 31st, 2009
02:09 PM ET
8 years ago

'Sent from the candidate's BlackBerry.' Really?

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="A mass e-mail was sent on Tuesday from Carly Fiorina's senatorial campaign, appearing to not only come from the candidate herself, but from her personal BlackBerry."] (CNN) – A mass e-mail was sent on Tuesday from Carly Fiorina's senatorial campaign, appearing to not only come from the candidate herself, but from her personal BlackBerry.

While most campaigns send e-mails appearing to be written from the candidate, this one took the extra step of adding at the bottom, "Sent from my BlackBerry® wireless device." This tag has raised questions about why the campaign, and others which have included similar tags, would take the extra step to tell readers what is highly unlikely: it was sent directly from Fiorina's BlackBerry.

The e-mail also had embedded links and a campaign FEC disclaimer inside a box; both functions are not available on a BlackBerry.

Fiorina's communications director, Julie Soderlund, did not say whether or not the e-mail was actually sent from the candidate and her BlackBerry.

"This was an e-mail from Carly to her supporters asking for their support at the end of the year," Soderlund told CNN. "It's consistent with what many other candidates are doing at the end of the filing period."

Fiorina is the former CEO of Hewlett-Packard and now running as a Republican to challenge incumbent Democrat Barbara Boxer. But while she uses a Blackberry, those in the business of campaigning know that the candidates seldom send out fundraising e-mails themselves, let alone directly from their handheld devices.

"I doubt anyone believed Carly Fiorina typed out that entire e-mail on her BlackBerry specifically to the recipient and took the time to add in the FEC disclosure box," Erick Erickson, the editor-in-chief of, said. "It's just silly. I think it undermines the credibility of online campaigns for candidates to do stuff like that."

"I think when online outreach tries to be too cute, people stop taking it seriously," Erickson added.

Erickson also noted other campaigns were starting to sent out mass e-mails that appeared to come from the candidates' personal handheld devices. Karen Handel, who is running for governor of Georgia, recently sent out a note ending with "Sent from my iPhone." Bill Haslam, who is running for governor of Tennessee, ended a recent e-mail with "Sent from my BlackBerry."

Both Handel and Haslam use the online consulting firm Emotive for their campaign e-mail strategies. Emotive executive Peter Pasi said all of his clients do see the text of e-mails before they are sent. Pasi believes as a marketing technique, simple text e-mails that appear to come from a handheld device, are more effective in communicating with supporters.

"We have seen in some cases that plain text e-mails are opened more than those with heavy HTML," Pasi said. "But it varies case by case."

Handel does have an iPhone, but the device is not capable of sending mass e-mails. And while no campaign would ever admit their candidate did not personally pen an e-mail with their personal signature at the bottom, neither Soderlund or Pasi could confirm their candidates typed the e-mail themselves.

Filed under: Carly Fiorina
soundoff (27 Responses)
  1. Susan

    Fiorina belongs in the same box as Palin, Perino, Rove...all talkers with no ideas except ways to make the current administration look bad. I think they really believe that this method will win them seats in 2010, but it will backfire. Jobs are returning, the housing market is stabilizing, and we should begin to see troop withdrawals next year. I realize the right is praying hard for a terrorist attack to succeed, that won't happen either, unless the masterminds of the controlled demolitions at WTC are back at work somewhere else.

    December 31, 2009 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  2. Gary Bonner


    We have the government we deserve. As long as we are moved by silly gimmicks we will continue to be victimized by poor government that does not solve real problems. I pray the we begin to wake up and invest the time to become truly informed about pressing public policy issues and STOP falling for "campaign tactics" like this. WAKE UP AMERICA!

    December 31, 2009 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  3. Marc Taylor

    I'm not surprised... Fiorina was exceptional at the slight-of-hand while in Lucent Technologies... reaffirms my perception of her.

    December 31, 2009 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  4. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    Does it matter where the e-mail was generated? No, it doesn't really. The important thing is what the e-mail said. Does it say that she truly understands that she knows what the Senate is like and that she plans on working across the isle with Democrats? I don't think that is likely. Does she say that she has a legislative plan? I think that is remote.

    December 31, 2009 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  5. Adam B.

    Carly Fiorina will never be elected to a public office because she cannot convey empathy with peoples' struggles. She was dreadful as the CEO of Hewlett-Packard, and completely destroyed what was once a great place to work. Also, she doesn't look healthy.

    December 31, 2009 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  6. Melissa

    I can tell you why. Because the politicians want you to think they're listening and that you are in personal contact with them. A blackberry is especially personal since its literally a direct personal line to them. Its also a load of garbage. I know very well that my emails to President Obama and Governor Landreau didn't go directly to them, and I'm fine with that since they seem to have heard what I said. I'd be very worried about their security if I had a direct line to them. I'd rather they be alive than dead because of some nutbag.

    December 31, 2009 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  7. Amazed

    Ruined HP, now she thinks she is qualified to be a senator. That's what you call "California Dreamin".

    December 31, 2009 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  8. Tim

    What happened to her hair?????

    December 31, 2009 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  9. Randolph Carter, I'm no expert but...

    Wow, Annie Lennox has really let herself go. Have a nice day!

    December 31, 2009 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  10. Four and The Door

    Barbara Boxer could personally arrive at my door asking for my vote and Carly would still get it instead. I don't think anybody really cares about the method of contact. We do pay attention to ideas, philosophy about representation and in BB's case the voting record.

    December 31, 2009 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  11. J. Rochester, NY

    WOW that is a real expose.

    Who actually believes that the emails are not written by aids or some other staffer?

    This is dumb and a waste of time and resources.

    December 31, 2009 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  12. alybuilder

    This kind of insincerity continues to perpetuate the notion that politicians, of any party, are only interested in the power and prestige rather than serving the interests of their constituents. Do they really think this kind of petty deception is effective in convincing people they are qualified for public service? If they are willing to do this, then what else are they willing to lie about? Probably everything.

    December 31, 2009 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  13. charlie in Maine

    She is hoping to pull the wool over the voters eyes. This may work in the primary but for the general election she will have to appeal to voters with a brain size larger than a walnut.

    December 31, 2009 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  14. Jim

    God help California if she is elected, I can only imagine that she will do the same to California and she did to HP –

    December 31, 2009 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  15. FRANK, Las Vegas

    Is anyone really surprised that a republican candidate sent out an email that was a lie? I also like how they always brag that she was the CEO of HP, while they forget to tell you that at that job she ran HP into the ground and was fired! Now she wants to be a senator? NOT.

    December 31, 2009 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  16. walleye

    Im glad to see she knows how to use a computer. Too bad she didnt know too much about running a company. Having her in Govt. would be a BIG MISTAKE.

    December 31, 2009 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  17. Jason in NY

    I got a very similar email from Senator Kirsten Gillibrand today. I thought it was very odd that it said "Sent via BlackBerry by AT&T" under her name at the bottom. I figured there was no way that was possible and thought it was a pretty cheap ploy – not to mention, i have no idea what benefit they could get from it. Money from RIM and AT&T? I have no idea.

    December 31, 2009 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  18. Bill

    She should use her golden parachute from the company she ran into the ground, Hewlett-Packard, to finance her own campaign.

    December 31, 2009 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  19. Ready for 2012

    How silly.

    Doesn't matter anyway, Barbara Boxer will probably beat Fiorina by a wide margin in the next election.

    December 31, 2009 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  20. robert h.

    Uh, perhaps she forwarded the email from her Blackberry to whoever ultimately sent it out? I've seen that many times at work; a forwarded email left with the first signature from the Blackberry on it? Really, this is a news story?

    December 31, 2009 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  21. Anna SW Missouri

    Ah yes, isn't the dumbing down of American's great. These idiots know that the people who receive these messages WILL believe that the candidate actually spent the time to type and send these messages specifically to them (and no one else got one).

    December 31, 2009 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  22. Concerned Democrat

    Seriously.......this is so petty and a perfect example of why we don't get anything done.

    Everyone focuses on petty partisan politics instead of focusing on the issues that really matter.

    Whomever took the time to write this piece of useless news, needs to get a life or at least a refresher on journalism 101.

    Come on CNN, you continue to lose credibility on a daily basis.

    It's time to get rid of the petty political game play and focus on professional news reporting. That's what you USED to be known for......

    December 31, 2009 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  23. ex-HP executive

    Carly barely knows how to use a cellphone. She would have one of her shoe-shine boys do anything that required typing.

    December 31, 2009 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  24. Mark Robinson

    Why should she start being honest now? It won't work for her later in the campaign nor will it help in DC. If I were RIM (owner of Blackberry) I would be pissed, as this foolishness devalues their product. As far as Carly goes, probably can't devalue her any more than she herself has done.

    December 31, 2009 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  25. JR

    Seems kind of phony, but then she is a republican.

    December 31, 2009 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
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