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S.C. Obama Staffer Helped Launch Pro-Romney Websites June 20, 2007

Posted by fitsnews in 2008 Presidential Primaries.

obama laurin


FITSNews – June 20, 2007 – One of Illinois Senator Barack Obama‘s most visible South Carolina staffers helped create the Palmetto State’s most aggressive pro-Mitt Romney website, according to e-mails obtained by FITSNews.

Laurin Manning, who was by far and away the most influential blogger in South Carolina prior to taking her current position with the Obama campaign, reveals in one of the e-mails that she helped design the pro-Romney website A Daily Shot, trained its staff on website upgrades and technical administration, and is the current domain name owner and designer of another pro-Romney website, “Under The Power Lines.”

“Under The Power Lines” is the company responsible for Romney’s netroots and new media operations in South Carolina, and it was the Romney campaign’s affiliation with this company which caused the National Hotline to sever its relationship with the pro-Romney bloggers back in February of this year.

Manning, who was not employed by the Obama campaign at the time she performed these services, is widely regarded as one of the top political writers in South Carolina, and her blog was one of the most popular political websites in the state before she discontinued it to take her current position with Obama’s campaign. She also sold the rights to another website she created, SouthCarolina08.com, to two Republican political consultants in February of this year.



1. Laurin Manning - June 20, 2007

I’m afraid the suggestions this post makes aren’t completely accurate. I’d like to briefly set the record straight.

Last summer, Wesley Donahue and I spoke about collaborating to create a South Carolina-centric political news aggregating website that offered objective coverage, an idea that became The Shot. There was, at the time, no discussion of Mitt Romney. Had there been such a discussion, I wouldn’t have gotten involved. He’s not a candidate who shares my values.

Wesley showed me the site prior to its launch, and I offered advice as to how to it could be improved. I was never paid for my involvement, and I fully supported what I then perceived as a good faith effort to bring an objective political news aggregating site to South Carolinians.

Wesley and I talked over the months to follow about how far behind South Carolina political campaigns are in effectively utilizing the many capabilities of the Internet. We discussed a business venture that would offer web expertise to both Democratic and Republican candidates and were in the beginning stages of launching this business in January. I had designed a logo and a website for “Under the Power Lines,” which is what the business was to be called. I also bought the domain http://www.underthepowerlines.net.

When the opportunity arose for me to join the Obama campaign, I let Wesley know that I would no longer be able to pursue the “Under the Power Lines” venture with him. He is employed by Warren Tompkins, Mitt Romney’s Senior Advisor in South Carolina, and I anticipated that our proposed professional partnership could prove problematic down the road. I ceased all involvement with “Under the Power Lines” prior to joining the Obama campaign. Wesley continued building the “Under the Power Lines” business and brand. He had a new site built for the business ( http://www.politicalnetroots.com ) and a new logo designed. I was not involved with the building of the business’s website, did not take part in the incorporation of the business and have never been paid by Under the Power Lines, LLC.

That’s it. Not too sexy. The postscript is that Wesley and I still share a mutual interest in using the Internet as a tool for political communications and grassroots organizing in South Carolina, and in the future I look forward to helping Democrats in the Palmetto State capitalize on the nearly limitless potential of the Internet as a campaign tool.

2. sic haters - June 20, 2007

lying lying lying again willie. were on crack when you wrote this?

3. Ryan - June 20, 2007

I wonder is she is paid by Obama in dollars, or sweet cakes. It looks like sweat cakes to me.

4. FITSNews - June 20, 2007


As always, you are a class act. And as this comment capably demonstrates, there’s nobody in the Palmetto state who comes close to matching your writing talent – even us FITS gals!

We also appreciate you challenging the “suggestion” of this piece as opposed to the facts which it presents, which were all taken directly from your e-mail as a primary source. If there is an implicit suggestion in this post that you intended to facilitate the development of pro-Romney websites, we regret that we did not better clarify the distinction as we know full well that you do not share Gov. Romney’s values.

And how could you? Determining whether or not one shares Gov. Romney’s values is an excrutiating process given the frequency with which those values change. You might share them one year, but the next year he could be somebody completely different. Kind of like a Transformer, but with hair. Really nice hair.

Ultimately though, whether or not you intended to facilitate the development of these pro-Romney sites does not change the fact that you did in fact facilitate their development, albeit unbeknownst to you as it would appear. We think your recitation of the facts of this case is accurate and do not dispute it, however the “emphasis added” to your involvement taken from your e-mail dated yesterday amounts to a shout seeking credit, whereas in this comment you portray it as more of a whisper seeking distance.

We contacted you today seeking comment regarding this matter in the hopes you would articulate just as you did the true nature of things, which as far as we can tell boils down to the fact that both The Shot and Mitt Romney suck. Hard.

Needless to say, we wholeheartedly concur with both assessments.


5. Will the real Sic Willie please stand up? - June 20, 2007

Of all the top-tier Republican presidential candidates, 1) Romney is the strongest proponent of free market economics 2) Romney is the only one who’s not a career politician

As a loyal reader of FITS and FITS News, I’m somewhat baffled by your bitterness toward Romney. Of all the Republican presidential candidates, he seems to be the one who shares most of your core conservative beliefs.

Do you dislike Romney…or just the political consultant his campaign hired in South Carolina?

6. Old Buddy of Wes - June 21, 2007

I didn’t know that Wesley Donahue did productive things like set up websites. Kudos to you Wes! I remember a day when you were more interested in threatening to stab people with scissors and scaring girls so badly they took out restraining orders against you.

But a blog. I mean a real live blog. That is tremendous. It helps explain why the writing at Romney’s blog is on a fourth-grade reading and grammar level, nevertheless you’re on the forefront my man! Before you know it, you really will be a kingpin in this town like you’ve always wanted, and Franklin will be asking your permission to do more than just date your ex.

I’m very happy we were able to reconnect. It has been a while, but thanks to your groundbreaking career running a Romney blog, we will finally be back in touch. I’m glad to see you made something of yourself.

7. One, Two, Three, Four, here comes the Blog War » The Palmetto Scoop - June 21, 2007

[…] Willie over at FITSNews yesterday broke the story that Laurin Manning, a staffer for presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) and one of the […]

8. Earl Capps - June 21, 2007

Ol’ Buddy, I can see that you don’t like the guy, which is your right. … but did you really have to be so mean and personal about it?

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