Presidential Campaigns Are Hung Up on Robo-calling
Upstate residents said they are tired of the constant disruption and will be glad when the phones stop ringing
Four calls within the hour just three days before the First in the South primary, it's the reason Faith Morris of Spartanburg has taken her phone of the hook.
"I hate them," Morris said. "I've never known it to be so bad."
Morris said the calls start around 4:30 p.m. each day and continue until after 8 p.m. each night.
"I usually pick it up and hang up on the recording or I take it off the hook," Morris said. "To think people can be swayed by a phone call is a bad commentary on our society. It's just too much."
Morris said that she's had countless number of calls, but that because of her method of dealing with them, she doesn't know which campaigns have called once or half dozen times.
"I just know that I'll be glad when Saturday gets here."
At a Spartanburg stump meeting for Mitt Romney, Patch stumbled across two of the guilty robo-callers.
When asked if they had been receiving numerous robo-calls from presidential candidates, husband and wife, John and Cheryl Mackin of Gunnersville, Ala., began to laugh.
"We've been making many of those calls," John Mackin said.
The two have been volunteering with the Romney campaign and have traveled to South Carolina this week to help boost support for the former Massachusetts governor.
"Between the two of us, we probably made 350 to 400 calls on Tuesday," John Mackin said. "But I know that some people are getting very tired of them. I've had a couple of people tell me they wouldn't vote at all, if they received another call."
John and Cheryl Mackin said they both have been hung up on, cursed at and asked not to call to back. But if they can change one caller's mind, they'll keep making those calls.
Donna Horton of Greenville's home phone begins ringing while she's talking to a friend on her cell phone. Horton decides not to pick up the line when she sees the number on her CallerID. "It's Ron Paul's campaign, again," she said.
Horton said she receives at least six of the calls a day and she's taken the phone off the hook for hours at a time.
But what are folks hearing when the robotic voices greets them?
"Hi Smith family, it's Mitt Romney calling, again." Romney encourages the Smiths to vote and tells them all the reason they should choose him.
"Hi, it's John McCain..." McCain, who just recently endorsed Romney, calls to tell voters why they, too, should choose Romney.
An enthusiastic, "Jill," is super-excited to announce that Romney, along with Nascar-great David Pearson, will be in Spartanburg.
But then there's the Ron Paul callers.
"Hi, I'm State Sen. Kevin Bryant..." Bryant, who recently endorsed Paul, talks about anti-abortion issues, before telling the listener to vote for Paul.
Then there's the recorded voice of a man who is glad that Paul is pro-Israel, the OB-GYN who has delivered lots of babies and a Paul campaign organizer who wants to tell the listener the wonderful things Sen. Jim DeMint has said about Paul.
A woman in an Easley Verizon Wireless store on Sunday said that she was ready to turn off her home phone because of the incessant calling and to just use her cell phone on a permanent basis. But even an employee of the store said they've had some customers complain that the robo-callers had gotten to them, too.
Campaign officials said they expect the calls will cease after the polls close on Saturday.