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Barack Obama iPhone software is a political tool

October 2, 2008 | 12:22 pm

We all prioritize our friends and family, from the running partner who calls daily to the high school acquaintance whose name is hard to recall.

Raven ZacharyBut throw out that priority list. In this tight presidential election season, the new VIPs are people who live in one of the roughly 15 key battleground states, such as Florida and Pennsylvania.

That appears to be the thinking behind a new software program for iPhones and the iPod Touch. The key feature of the Obama '08 iPhone App, put out by the campaign for Sen. Barack Obama, is "Call Friends," which quickly sorts one's contacts by battleground states, making it easier for iPhone users who want to get out the vote for their preferred candidates to figure out whom to call. (Friends in California, a traditional Democratic stronghold, probably won't be hearing much from the iPhone campaigners).

The software also regularly updates the iPhone with campaign videos and news bulletins. With the device's global positioning system technology, it will give you directions to the nearest campaign office.

Raven Zachary, a consultant who offers advice for iPhone-related businesses, led the team creating the software. He said on his blog today that the program will tell you the number of calls you've made through it, the number of other people who are using it to make calls on Obama's behalf and the number of calls made by the top caller. These stats could fuel a competition, says CNet, as people try to outdo each other over who's dialing more for the candidate.   

Of course, if you want Sen. John McCain to be the next president, nothing stops you from downloading the Obama '08 iPhone App and using the software to call your friends in swing states.

"I don't see that happening on a large scale," Zachary said. "There is a psychological barrier for a supporter of one candidate to have the opposing candidate's logo on their iPhone."

-- Michelle Quinn 

Photo: Raven Zachary at the Obama campaign headquarters in Chicago, via Flickr

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