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September 21, 2009

HmmMMMM!: Winner & Associates Was on NEA Conference Call

A bit of backstory.

Before the election, My Pet Jawa found that very-professional style supposedly "grassroots" nasty hit job videos on Sarah Palin were being posted on YouTube.

He discovered that these were created by a Democrat-connected California PR agency named Winner & Associates.

The suspicion was that the ads had been created, covertly, with Axelrod's connivance, to create a fake "grassroots viral video" that couldn't be traced to Obama.

But it couldn't be proven. In the end it was smoke but no fire. A lot of smoke, and yet no smoking gun.

Ethan Winner confessed to making the video, but claimed he hadn't had contact with David Axelrod for ten years, it was all just something he felt like spending thousands of dollars on himself. As a goof.



What was a rep for Winner & Associates doing on that conference call?

You know, the one where White House official Buffy Wicks thanked everyone for helping them win the campaign?

I don't know about this yet -- I really do not know if I can say this significantly advances the case. Need to mull it.

But it sure seems... coincidental.

Thanks to ThomasM.

Actually... What the hell is a political PR agency doing on a conference call for artists in the first place?

Are we talking art, or are we talking professional political campaign ads?

I know the answer, of course. I'm being rhetorical.

I really want to know why Winner, who was supposedly incommunicado with fellow Democratic ad maker David Axelrod for ten years (already hard to believe), was doing with a representative (for "casting") on that call.

Who thought to invite his firm? And why, exactly?

They're not artists. So what the hell?

By the Way: Rusty just got into his email and just got this tip. He will, I imagine, bring his own expertise on this whole Winner situation to bear shortly.

Michelle Malkin on the Winner Controversy: An old clip of Michelle Malkin explaining it.

Via Treacher's archives on the subject.

Explanation of Why Winner Was on the Call: This press release from Winner explains that Winner was asked (um, hired, I think that means) to "launch" the White House's Office of Public Engagement -- where Buffy Wicks is the deputy director.

That explains, I guess, why they were on the call, despite not being artists. Sort of. Except for the fact Winner does not do art, they do PR and commercials.

It does not explain how this ad agency that had nothing at all to do with Axelrod or Obama got "asked" (um, hired, I think) to help "launch" an office.

Why Winner? How did Axelrod suddenly remember Winner?

Ironically, a Winner rep explains why the Office of Public Engagement needs a PR firm all of a sudden thusly:

President Obama expands OPE's role During his inauguration, President Obama stated very clearly that "our commitment to openness means more than simply informing the American people about how decisions are made. It means recognizing that government does not have all the answers, and that public officials need to draw on what citizens know." To help fulfill this commitment, the Obama Administration sought to create an expanded role for its OPL, one that would allow it to function as the open front door to the White House, engaging meaningfully with a broad range of constituencies across the country. To help underscore this openness, the Office of Public liaison was re-launched and re-branded as the Office of Public Engagement.

Thanks to Professor Rusty Shackleford for that.

Correction: I referred to Winner as an "ad agency" twice in the post above. They are not. They are a PR firm, or "public consultants," as they call themselves. They do do political commercials, however, hence my mistake.

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posted by Ace at 02:25 PM

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