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OMG! Beware of fake Obama VP text messages*

August 21, 2008 |  3:32 pm

* UPDATED 7:49 P.M.: Obama campaign spokesman Nick Shapiro responded to the fake vice presidential text messages with this statement:

“There is incredible enthusiasm for Senator Obama’s vice presidential announcement and unfortunately some people have used that enthusiasm and sent out hoaxes. We can assure supporters these texts are not coming from the campaign and their data is secure.”


Don't worry, Fonzie is not Barack Obama's running mate. At least not yet.

With anticipation building over Obama's imminent vice presidential announcement and his promise to reveal the news to supporters who sign up for text-message or e-mail alerts (which we wrote about as part of Obama's continued online buzz), the window was open for some mischief.

As usual, America's great technological minds did not disappoint.

The political blog Wonkette explained Wednesday that it's easy to send a legitimate-looking fake text message to Verizon Wireless customers through the company's website. "Freak Out Your Friends With Fake Obama VP TXT" was the headline on a post that offered step-by-step instructions from an operative named "Bobby."

Readers of the blog quickly chimed in with other websites for sending text messages, along with their own suggestions for whom to send them to (Matt Drudge's alleged personal e-mail account was thrown out there).

Word apparently spread quickly.

CrunchGear suggested that people freak out Hillary Clinton supporters with a text saying Obama had picked her (which some think he still might do), or add their favorite superhero or fictional character. For that last category, they suggested The Fonz (pictured above with the rest of the "Happy Days" cast), which leads to an obvious question: Has the Obama veep watch finally jumped the shark?

Andrew LaVallee, on the Wall Street Journal's Washington Wire blog today, urged people to stop it already. He said he was tired of the fake texts announcing veep choices such as Al Gore or Michael Phelps. At least no one suggested Potsie.

-- Jim Puzzanghera

Photo: "Happy Days" stars Donny Most, Henry Winkler, Anson Williams and Ron Howard. Credit: Paramount Pictures