Technology was never their strong point

TECHNOLOGY WAS NEVER THEIR STRONG POINT…. On Wednesday, the Washington Post noted that the McCain campaign’s Arlington headquarters was about to host a “blowout sale,” getting rid of some leftover equipment — including laptops and blackberries — at a fairly deep discount. Everything, as the saying goes, must go.

Reading the piece, a little voice in the back of my head said, “These guys do know to clean up the equipment and delete campaign-related information, right?” I assumed the staffers knew what they were doing.

I assumed wrong. Some folks from the Fox affiliate in D.C. bought some Blackberry phones at $20 apiece, 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.

We traced the Blackberry back to a staffer who worked for “Citizens for McCain,” a group of Democrats who threw their support behind the Republican nominee. The emails contain an insider’s look at how grassroots operations work, full of scheduling questions and rallying cries for support.

But most of the numbers were private cell phones for campaign leaders, politicians, lobbyists and journalists.

When the reporters called some of the numbers, one of the Republicans said, “They should have wiped that stuff out…. Given the way the campaign was run, this is not a surprise.”

Jason Linkins concluded, “You would think the McCain campaign would have known better, seeing how McCain invented the Blackberry in the first place.”

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Steve Benen

Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.