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Decision Virginia Archive 8/08- 7/12

Obama campaign clarifies RSVP policy for Richmond visit

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It is not a surprise that the announcement that President Barack Obama planned to kickoff his campaign in Richmond generated a tremendous amount of interest. It is also not a surprise that when the event was described as “free and open to the public” that the first question people asked is “how do I get tickets?”

The first place we sent people was this website. It was also a place the campaign sent people looking to learn more information about the event.

The site gives you an opportunity to fill out a form to get more information and “RSVP” for the event. What it doesn’t promise is tickets or guaranteed access. That caused confusion from many people who called our newsroom or contacted us for more information. 

I asked the Obama national press secretary Ben LaBolt how people will get into the event and he told me, what many people thought the campaign was suggesting when they first pushed the web site.

“Well certainly he wants to see as many Virginians as possible and I think it will be open to the public as many people as we can seat,” said LaBolt. “If you just go to BarackObama.com that is the place to get tickets and we will accommodate as many people as we can.”

To LaBolt’s credit, he is based in Chicago and not deep in the weeds of planning an event in Richmond. His colleagues on the ground here, worked to clarify what exactly it means to RSVP on the site. The campaign made it clear that the RSVP does not guarantee that you will get in to see the President on May 5th.

The campaign is in the early stages of a monster undertaking. It is planning that requires the okay of the Secret Service. It is not until they get a read on how many people will be allowed in, that they will unveil exactly what it will take to gain access to the Seigel Center next Saturday. The RSVP, the campaign says, is to simply get a gauge how much interest there will be in the president’s visit and to have system to quickly alert those interest in attending, if his schedule is forced to be altered.

The campaign did not reveal how many people have RSVPed for the event, but from this blog along more than 1,000 people have clicked on the RVSP link. The link was posted in many different places. The max capacity of the Seigel Center is just north of 7 thousand.

The campaign promised that there will be special access for volunteers that reach certain goals. They said they will release a specific admission policy sometime next week.

The other question is what becomes of the e-mail address and phone number you provided the campaign when you RSVPed. The campaign said the goal is not to farm contact information for future solicitation, but they will have access to that information to that if they wish. The first email you get after sign up tells you, that future emails with information about the upcoming event are forthcoming. 

I have more information about the ticket confusion on NBC12.com. We will update you when the campaign reveals more information about the event.

Written by Ryan Nobles

April 27, 2012 at 10:54 pm

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