Subtext

A campaign blog.
Aug. 23 2008 1:41 PM

Subtext

Early Saturday morning, the 3 a.m. phone call finally came. But it wasn’t a phone call. It was a text message .

It’s hard to imagine that the method and timing of Barack Obama’s vice presidential announcement wasn’t, in some small way, a reference to Hillary Clinton’s famous "3 a.m." ad . Of the 24 hours they had to choose from, they had to pick 3 a.m. Eastern Time, the most famous hour of this presidential cycle?

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Maybe it’s just a coincidence. The message blasted out soon after word leaked via the AP that Joe Biden was Obama’s vice presidential pick. Ben LaBolt, a spokesman for Obama, denied any connection with the Clinton ad. "No—that’s an absurd assumption," he wrote in an e-mail.

Still, the 3 a.m. connection is too good to ignore. Maybe it’s trying to suggest Joe Biden is prepared for that 3 a.m. call, should the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff accidentally dial the wrong extension. Maybe it’s meant to remind everyone that the Obama campaign never sleeps. Or maybe the campaign wanted to help simulate the presidential experience for supporters. So this is what it’s like to be president!

Either way, somewhere Mark Penn is smiling.

Christopher Beam is a writer living in Beijing.

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