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Buy a BlackBerry and get John McCain's number at no extra cost!

By Jimmy Orr / December 14, 2008

Jake Turcotte

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Forget camping out at Best Buy on Black Friday.  The place to go was John McCain's headquarters on Thursday where you could buy laptops, filing cabinets, office furniture, and even BlackBerries at prices that makes Woot look like Tiffany's.

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Plus, act today, and get John McCain's personal phone number.

Want some public relations advice on how to deal with the media?  Buy a BlackBerry and get email addresses to the Palin communications team!

Have a problem with your pipes and are uncertain about Israel?  Shop today and get Joe the Plumber's personal contact information!

All kidding aside

The problem is -- this isn't a joke.

The McCain campaign, as campaigns do, had to get rid of all their excess inventory.  So, they held a firesale.  And two FOX-5 reporters from Washington, DC decided to drop by.

Contact info

They lamented that "most of the good stuff was gone."  Little did they know, however, that in a world where connections are everything -- they got the Holy Grail.  Phone numbers, email addresses, and other personal contact information to some pretty powerful people.

Tisha Thompson and Rick Yarborough write:

The hottest item? BlackBerry phones at $20 a piece.  There were only 10 left.  All of the batteries had died.  There were no chargers for sale.  But people were snatching them up.  So, we bought a couple.
And ended up with a lot more than we bargained for.
When we charged them up in the newsroom, we found one of the $20 BlackBerry phones contained more than 50 phone numbers for people connected with the McCain-Palin campaign, as well as hundreds of emails from early September until a few days after election night.

Dial now

One of the phones had 260 personal contacts on it including email addresses, phone numbers, and physical addresses to all sorts of McCain supporters.

So what'd they do?  They started calling people.  People like former Virginia Governor Jim Gilmore, who didn't seem thrilled with the situation.

“It makes me quite uncomfortable,” he told the reporters, “It’s a matter of principle.  I gave that information to McCain headquarters, and to have it sold is bothersome.”

Mark it up!

It sounded like Gilmore also had a problem with the price of the BlackBerries.  If they're going to sell the information, they should at least make some more money he reasoned.

“You don't know who got this information,” he says.  “There's possible harassment.  And there's an enormous amount of campaign intelligence that shouldn't be sold for such a low-value."

Oops

The McCain staff admitted they made a mistake with the BlackBerries (which is odd because as you'll recall they were the ones who claimed that the Arizona Senator invented the PDA).

“It was an unfortunate staff error, and procedures are being put in place to ensure all information is secure,” said the McCain team in a statement.

Isn't it over yet?

That didn't stop one individual who was called by the FOX reporters to take a swipe at the McCain campaign.

“They should have wiped that stuff out,” the unidentified supporter said.  “Given the way the campaign was run, this is not a surprise.”

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