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The Romney Campaign’s Ground Game Fiasco
The Daily Beast ^ | 11-9-12 | Eli Lake , Daniel Klaidman , Ben Jacobs

Posted on 11/10/2012 5:26:30 AM PST by truthandlife

When Republican fundraisers solicited the party’s big donors on behalf of Mitt Romney this year, the centerpiece of the pitch was a state-of-the-art campaign to identify the party’s likely voters and make sure they came to the polls on Election Day. Political pros call these county-by-county, block-by-block campaigns the ground game. And while most of the media attention focuses on candidate speeches, debates, and ad buys, it’s the ground game where elections are won and lost.

On Tuesday, Republicans lost the election on the ground. As the Republican Party picks up the pieces from overwhelming defeat, the first fingers are being pointed at a GOP ground game that insiders describe to The Daily Beast as nothing short of a fiasco.

The story starts in 2008. The Romney campaign sought to counter Team Obama’s highly touted, high-tech voter-targeting system, nicknamed Narwhal after the Arctic sea mammal. Narwhal provided the Obama campaign with reams of specific data on voters—finding single women in conservative counties, for instance, or families with children who have disabilities.

In 2012, the Romney campaign unveiled its own killer app and called it Project Orca—the fierce great whale that is the natural predator of the Narwhal. The only problem: Boston’s Orca turned out to be toothless.

The system was different from Narwhal. It was designed to allow Romney poll watchers, in real time, to identify likely Romney supporters who still had not shown up at polling stations on Election Day. By uploading the names of people who had voted, the computers back in Boston could figure out who still needed to be targeted and turned out.

At least that’s the way it was supposed to work. But on Tuesday, it became clear that the deployment of Orca was doing more harm than good. “I think it’s fair to say that pretty much everything about the system that was supposed to work actually failed,” said one campaign official who witnessed the breakdown from the Romney war room on the floor of Boston’s TD Garden.

The Romney high command had cloaked the system in secrecy to maintain what it hoped would be a true competitive turnout advantage. But by limiting the number of people with access to Orca, the campaign was not able to train its field operatives to use it or do the necessary beta-testing to work out the kinks that typically plague new software.

“It was a snake-oil kind of program. I say this as a web developer. This was throwing money at a product that just didn’t work.”

“It did not work perfectly,” said Rich Beeson, the Romney campaign’s political director, in an interview. He acknowledged that Orca crashed in the morning on Election Day. At first the campaign thought the system had been hacked, he said. Passwords and user names for the 34,000 volunteers using the program had to be reset.

But Beeson also said Orca was able to provide voting data on 91 percent of the precincts and accounted for turning out some 14.3 million voters. “At the end of the day I can look any donor in the eye and say we used our resources effectively,” he said. “This is the first time we have attempted to do anything on this scale. By no means was it an abject failure.”

Others who worked on the ground for the campaign disagree, however. In many instances, the voter lists that were loaded on the smart phones of field operatives didn’t match the precincts where they’d been sent, campaign officials said. In addition, there were massive credentialing problems, so Romney poll watchers were not permitted to operate at many precincts. In many rural precincts, poor cellphone coverage made it difficult or impossible for Romney forces to transmit information. Finally, because poll watchers tend to be older, tech-averse volunteers and because there was so little training, many of them simply couldn’t master the technical aspects of the task.

“We were sold on Mitt as this brilliant manager and turnaround artist,” said John Ekdahl, one of those poll watchers in Florida who used Orca. “But it was a snake-oil kind of program. I say this as a Web developer. This was throwing money at a product that just didn’t work.” Ekdahl first published his critique of Orca on the conservative website Ace of Spades. Other poll watchers who asked not to be named had similar complaints.

The mood grew increasingly grim on Tuesday as Romney officials realized that their supposed state-of-the-art answer to the Chicago’s turnout juggernaut was a bust. Walking down the central aisle of the Romney war room you didn’t hear the humming of a well-oiled turnout machine, one campaign official recalled. You heard the panicky tones of operatives flooded with calls from the field about technical snafus and mass confusion.

As campaign officials monitored central computers in Boston, instead of taking in the metrics of a proficient ground game, they saw depressing evidence of a gang that couldn’t shoot straight—anxious messages from operatives who were at the wrong polling place, couldn’t work their smart phones, or were barred from a precinct because they lacked the proper credentials. “It was amateur hour,” lamented one Romney official.

There were other problems for Romney’s ground game in the battleground states. The Obama for America team, for example, had field operations in states like Ohio stay behind after the 2008 election and slowly but surely pick up steam as Election Day 2012 approached. The Republicans closed their field offices after the 2010 midterms.

“We were never going to have the same size and staff as the Obama campaign,” Beeson said. He added that the Republican National Committee was several million dollars in debt by the time Michael Steele left the job, putting resource constraints on the party in terms of operating field offices in states like Ohio.

Finally, the Republicans were never able to match the Obama campaign’s ability to use data from purchase histories, voting registration, and campaign contacts to tailor specific messages to specific voters in a process known as micro-targeting. Republicans first pioneered the use of this kind of data in the 2004 election cycle but mainly used the data to target television ads, direct mail, and robocalls, according to Republican strategists. The Democrats were able to use this kind of data in deploying armies of volunteer door-knockers and others who targeted their voters over time.

Beeson acknowledged that his party will be seeking to learn from the Democrats in terms of micro-targeting. “They have taken this to an organic, micro, micro level,” he said. “We will be looking at how they did it.”

At the end of the day, Beeson said he thought Romney ran a good campaign. It’s just that Obama ran a better one. “With the time and resources we had, the campaign was run very effectively,” he said. “We just did not see them being able to turn out the numbers they turned out.”

KEYWORDS: 2012aftermath; campaign; idiotsdidntvote4mitt; incompetence; romney; romneycampaign
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1 posted on 11/10/2012 5:26:34 AM PST by truthandlife
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To: truthandlife

The key thing is for the GOP, not individual candidates, to learn from this and to fund, from day one for 2014, a much better system. And that means not duplicating what the Dems did but thinking a step or two ahead to where things will be by 2016. All the TV time in the world doesn’t matter if you can’t get your people to vote. I’m not blaming the result on this, but it’s symbolic of the GOP’s inability to understand that technology and data mining have advanced even since 2004. And, again, things will advance between 2012 and 2016, so doing an up to date 2012 approach in 2016 won’t be enough.

2 posted on 11/10/2012 5:35:51 AM PST by Numbers Guy
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To: truthandlife

What is so disgusting is that one would expect Republican capitalist types to be a lot more savvy and competent than the pathetic welfare state crowd.

3 posted on 11/10/2012 5:44:23 AM PST by all the best (`~!)
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To: truthandlife; P-Marlowe; wmfights
overwhelming defeat

Nothing like sensationalist language. It was not an overwhelming defeat. It was 60.2 million to 57.5 million.

It means that for every 100 Romney votes that Obama got 105 Obama votes. I could get that flipping a coin 205 times and not consider it unusual at all.

The good news is that they did have in place a ground game plan. The bad news is they didn't test it ahead of time.

4 posted on 11/10/2012 5:46:39 AM PST by xzins (Retired Army Chaplain and Proud of It! True supporters of our troops pray for their victory!)
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To: xzins

A ground game is not a Phone Bank

5 posted on 11/10/2012 5:52:27 AM PST by scooby321 (AMS)
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To: xzins

I wish the Republicans would have fought a recount on the must win states. We all know fraud was across the board in these states. He should have especially fought PA where the Republican Election judges were denied entry to like 7 polling places for several hours. Even if the final count left him not winning; it would of made the Dems think twice that Repubs do have the balls to call them on it. Get out in front of it, etc.

Instead Romney today that many of the votes were not even counted before a State was called for Romney....

And shame on Fox news calling it when Rove was saying wait a minute. He was totally shut down. Folks may not like him but what he was saying made sense.....

6 posted on 11/10/2012 5:54:56 AM PST by Engedi
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To: truthandlife

And they laughed at the early ‘Organize for Palin’ efforts...

7 posted on 11/10/2012 5:55:52 AM PST by Timber Rattler (Just say NO! to RINOS and the GOP-E)
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To: xzins

This election was filled with voter fraud.
Compare the crowds at the rally’s between the two camps. Romney’s was packed, obama’s was half empty with folks walking out when he started talking. But it wasn’t reported that way.
Axelrod sueing the polling company’s to keep the numbers close so America doesn’t get upset.
If Obama was so loved, he would have won W.V. too. They never go red.
But how about that, obama won the states that really mattered where the fraud is being reported and nothing done about it.

8 posted on 11/10/2012 5:58:29 AM PST by sunny48
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To: truthandlife

I think an effective plan to get out the vote needs to start early, encouraging people to vote when there is still time to register. I am amazed how many people are not even registered to vote. I don’t think there is a need for a high tech secret election day gizmo. Targeted ads reminding people to get registered and vote would likely be pretty effective with those likely to vote Republican. Find someone that can rally people- Sarah Palin for example, and use their skills to get people registered and voting.

From my own observation there are voters, whose parents faithfully voted and this group has always voted as a matter of course. There are others who have never even registered, not in the habit and those are critical to reach and encourage.

9 posted on 11/10/2012 6:07:46 AM PST by Tammy8 (~Secure the border and deport all illegals- do it now! ~ Support our Troops!~)
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To: Engedi

Rove acted like an ass. The state was lost, he was wrong, the votes were not there, the turnout never materialized, his model was based on flawed data and didn’t reflect reality on the ground. They had all the information they needed to call the state, it’s not their fault it went to Obama. Most votes aren’t counted when most states are called. Did we actually have to count votes in VT, NY, CA and MA to know they were going Democrat?

Obama’s team has been in Ohio, NC and FL for over five years, they had the people in place to milk every vote. While Romney’s people were playing games and having pissing contests they were getting people to the polls and communicating messages. Even if those messages were bullcrap, they were able to convince more people to vote for their guy.

We can stomp their feet or we can learn. Ohio has a Republican governor and a Republican atty general. If there was a hint of systemic fraud, they would have investigated and pressed it. Same with Florida.

There were two different games played, Romney played the high road game and Obama played the low-road mud game. Who won?

10 posted on 11/10/2012 6:10:01 AM PST by newnhdad (Our new motto: USA, it was fun while it lasted.)
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To: sunny48
If don't turn our eyes back to God in this nation, it doesn't matter what we do.

If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land. II Chron 7:14

11 posted on 11/10/2012 6:10:48 AM PST by truthandlife ("Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the LORD our God." (Ps 20:7))
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To: truthandlife


Barack Obama voter fraud 2012

Friday, November 9, 2012 - 22 Updates Posted Today and People You Can Contact! See FRIDAY UPDATES! *

Is this what Barack Obama calls a “ground game?” All things considered, on this page and elsewhere, Mitt Romney IS our President elect. Let’s do something about it!

I’ll be adding additional links on a regular basis and forwarding all of this information to Mitt’s campaign! Please send other links.

Evidence of massive Obama voter fraud in Colorado! Ten counties show 104% to 140% turnout!

Fraud: Some told they already voted, others brag about voting multiple times

Crooked Politics: Obama Lost in Every State With Photo ID Law

Philly Polling Stations Where GOP Inspectors Were Kicked Out Had 90% Voter Turnout, 99% Voted For Obama…

[Sounds like those Black Panthers who kicked out the GOP observers and stood guard at the polling stations were not just trying to intimidate voters! They were hiding something!]

Voter Fraud Watch: Two Election Judges Replaced After Illegal Activity in Ohio - Fox News Insider

Why the Polls are Wrong: Electorate is R+6

Vote fraud alert: One out of five registered Ohio voters is bogus

via @BeachCity55 on Twitter: Senior parents in Florida told not to put their ballots through their reader but in a box. Senior votes in FL not counted?

Data Points To A Powerful Romney Campaign – And Yet…He Lost?

“You have to vote for Dems” NYC poll worker tells GOP Senate candidate #IllegalElectioneering

At least 70,000 report voting problems, mostly in swing states

Plane crash destroys Afghanistan US military ballots, most of which are for Mitt Romney

Obama’s pattern of disenfranchisement of the military vote

Another Stolen Election? Election data HIGHLY suspicious AND the George Soros’ “Secretary of State Project”

Yes, this is the same George Soros who owns part of the company in Spain Obama outsourced parts of the election to and who has been banned from Hungary because he tampered with elections there.

We will continue to add updates! Please check back often!


From my friend Lynn Victory on Facebook:

“Thanks for what you are doing. My son is friends with a guy in the Romney campaign who has actually been on since 2008. He is not high up, but said that the O campaign bought high tech equipment to target county by county where the votes were needed in battle-ground states, so that they could “bus in the needed votes”. The guy would not say fraud, but that is fraud.”

Also this referral from Lynn:

White House Insider on Obama Steal the Votes Strategy (Just Before the Election)

“But…these Obama boys…they took it to a whole other level. Votes, donations…deals…it’s a lot more Putin than it is Clinton. Pay to play…Big Labor…this country never seen it at this level.”

Voter fraud witnessed in Wisconsin by one of Mitt’s ORCA observers:

via Lori Patriot on Facebook:

52 Democrats arrested for VOTER FRAUD so far

VIDEO: Illegal Aliens Caught Voting and Stealing Elections In Florida In Vast Numbers

In 2008, John McCain Ignored Vote Fraud to Avoid Civil Unrest

[See what that got us?]

Michael Savage: How Obama fixed 2012 election

Massive voter fraud discovered in April

Is Voter Fraud Being Committed in Ohio? (Early Voting)


Pundit Press: What Luck! Obama Won Dozens of Cleveland Districts with 100% of the Vote

Photo of Ethiopians brought to Ohio voting stations by busload, 95% of whom did not speak English, and told to vote for Obama, straight Dem ticket

“Did this Dirty Trick Get Obama Re-Elected?”

Vote Fraud Expert: Romney Votes Not Counted in Key States

“Could we fix an election? Sure, they would never know it.”

Thousands of votes from our military troops uncounted or missing

Defense Department can’t put soldiers, ballots together

Voter fraud in Pennsylvania - Black Panthers return, GOP inspectors thrown out

Ohio fraudulent voter registration cards

Ohio Residents Told They Already Voted When They Showed Up At the Polls Tuesday

Poll Worker Puts Glendale Precinct’s Ballots on Car, Drives Away

Referenced above, but with more information:

Two Ohio Election Judges Removed for Allowing Unregistered Voters to Cast Ballots

Democrat Admits He’s Voted FOUR Times Already

Boston reports 129% voter turnout, 79% for Obama; 74% for Elizabeth Warren

This one could be just a calibration issue, but not necessarily based on the programer’s testimony in the next link:

Voting machine swaps Romney for Obama

Programmer Testifies About Rigging Elections With Vote Counting

VIDEO: Possible voter fraud in Pennsylvania — or just voting machine malfunction?

Voter Fraud Complaint Filed against Florida Democrats

“Ballot Re-writers” Update from Allen West

“Half the Democratic ground game is voter turnout. The other half is voter fraud.”

Voter Fraud: Obama Won 108% of Registered Voters in Wood County, Ohio

Video: Diebold Whistleblower Speaks Out on Voter Fraud

BREAKING: St. Lucie County, Florida Had 141.1% Turnout; Obama Won County

Between St. Lucie and Broward Counties, we have a pretty good idea what happened in Florida. Normal voting is what, 50% turnout? It doesn’t take many counties like this to affect an entire state by multiple percentage points.

All of these numbers between 99% (Pennsylvania) and 141.1% (Florida) turnout in dozens of counties in swing states makes me think Team Obama was panicking a lot just before the election, with Mitt up by 7% in certain early voting polls. They overcompensated so much the fraud is impossible to hide. I think they know it, which may be one reason Axelrod is stepping down. (Sound familiar Petraeus and Benghazi?)

As I told someone earlier today, this is who Obama is. This is who Chicago (the machine) is. Do we really want this to be who America is? Is this how we will define our elections from 2008 on? As Mitt says, “America can do better.” We must do better. We can’t let the message be out there that America will let this fraud go.

Want to do something about all of this? Tiffany Banks and Darin Southam forwarded me a list of people you can contact who are in the November 9, 2012 3:12 PM comment below.

Did you know voters can request a recount in certain states? (Ohio, Virginia, Florida, Wisconsin!) Take a look at the comment by @RightonMainSt dated November 9, 2012 11:45 PM below for instructions! Mitt will have to ask in Colorado himself. (Yes, you Mitt!)

It has also been suggested that we ask Republican Secretaries of State NOT to certify the election until all questions about voter fraud are abated. Some people think this may provoke a crisis, but it can’t be worse than the one we are looking at for the next four years and the impact on generations to come! America NEEDS Mitt, and Mitt won fair and square. This was not a ballot stuffing competition but an election. Let’s make sure it’s counted that way!

Thank you all. Over 7,500 people have visited this page in the first 24 hours and I hope millions will see it eventually. Please pass it on! We can do this! (Yes we can!)

12 posted on 11/10/2012 6:14:00 AM PST by patriot08
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To: xzins

In fairness to the Romney campaign (and speaking as a software developer), I’m sure they ran a very large number of tests on this system. But it’s difficult to simulate the number of simultaneous users that you have on election day and there’s no possible way to simulate all the possible technical and user-related problems that can occur on election day. My take on this is that the GOP needs to use a simpler and less-sophisticated system next time that doesn’t rely so much on real-time data from field operatives, but just gets the basic job done and enables volunteers to contact all the likely GOP voters.

13 posted on 11/10/2012 6:22:12 AM PST by socialism_stinX (Boycott all shows on ABC, CBS, CNN, NBC, and MSNBC, and report your boycott in your Nielsen survey.)
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To: truthandlife

Ohhhhhh....Romney lost because of a computer glitch. There were three or four million stupid Republican voters who didn’t know there was an election that day.
All the nifty tactics in the world won’t work if your strategy is wrong. You can have night vision technology and armored porta-potties and model airplanes with tactical nuclear weapons but you aren’t doing any good if your strategy is to attack Al-Qaeda at the Vatican.

14 posted on 11/10/2012 6:49:40 AM PST by blueunicorn6 ("A crack shot and a good dancer")
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To: truthandlife

Interesting and just like combat if you want to hold territory and “drive the enemy before you” you need “boots on the ground”. Romney gave us the Air Force version of WW2.

15 posted on 11/10/2012 6:50:27 AM PST by 1010RD (First, Do No Harm)
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To: truthandlife

WOW. So then without ORCA millions of Republicans still found their ways to the polls and voted a Republican majority in the House??? And they did that all without ORCA. Does that tell you how misguided the Romney campaign was???

If the GOP wants to win they need a computer program that shuts down cell phone transmissions for the day so that Dem operatives can’t coordinate their vote fraud.

16 posted on 11/10/2012 6:53:03 AM PST by Uncle Chip
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To: xzins


Just look at actual voting numbers from Florida:

Reg Cards % turnout
4815 6550 136.03%
1849 2352 127.20%
1996 2566 128.56%
2694 3929 145.84%
2756 4378 158.85%
590 719 121.86%
2000 2804 140.20%
4460 6215 139.35%
2871 3663 127.59%
2948 4081 138.43%
3665 5609 153.04%
3181 4670 146.81%
3202 4119 128.64%
1835 2219 120.93%
2556 2909 113.81%
1024 1443 140.92%
2737 3631 132.66%
3840 5395 140.49%
3447 4475 129.82%
1832 2513 137.17%
3555 4847 136.34%
4122 5557 134.81%
1796 2568 142.98%
561 785 139.93%
1704 2748 161.27%
379 557 146.97%
1757 2313 131.64%
1720 2301 133.78%

Is that the kind of enthusiasm you saw for Obama? I’m in Cook County and there wasn’t that kind of enthusiasm for him. This election was stolen.

Stay focused and lay off your flawed candidate meme for a bit. If they get away with this they’ll do it again and again no matter who the candidate is.

17 posted on 11/10/2012 7:23:43 AM PST by 1010RD (First, Do No Harm)
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To: 1010RD
From that same report, page 3, the "card cast" from the first page, does not match the "total votes" from page 3. In other words, we are not correctly interpreting the difference between "cards cast" and "total votes". If you add together the "times counted" and the "total votes" you get just about the same number as the "cards cast" on page 1

PRESIDENT AND VICE PRESIDENT Reg. Voters Lkwood Pk 4815 Orange Blsm 1849 Times Counted 3280 1177 Total Votes 3273 1174 Times BlankVoted 7 2 TimesOver Voted 0 1

18 posted on 11/10/2012 7:57:56 AM PST by xzins (Retired Army Chaplain and Proud of It! True supporters of our troops pray for their victory!)
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To: sunny48

Compare the crowds at the rally’s between the two camps. Romney’s was packed, obama’s was half empty with folks walking out when he started talking.

just because Willard was willing to spend more of his campaign donations bussing people in from other states to pump up the numbers, and Obama didnt this time, it doesnt mean the actual voters in Ohio or VA were going to vote for him...

Obama chose to spend his limited chest on TV ads etc, but he also seems to have used more volunteers and not wasted millions like Willard seems to have...

Willard put all his eggs in one basket and depended on a shaky computer program to win the election...

A multi million dollar white elephant...

so much for the intelligent CEO...

Obama seems to have depended on individual old fashioned VOTES to win...

and dont waste your time flaming me...

Ive still got my invitation to free bus rides and free food and accommodations in Ohio and/or VA to attend the rallies and knock on doors...

Why was I or other people in TENNESSEE being begged by Willard to help pretend he had crowds bigger than Obama if he could have got enough in the state holding the rally ???

In all the DECADES of working in GOP campaigns I have never heard of the GOP nominee doing what we accuse the Democrats of doing...BUSSING

Whenever people have gone to a neighboring state to help in their primary when its not our turn we pay our own way

Usually theyll feed you a bit but travel and accommodations is paid by us..

In Jan 2008 I went down to South Carolina to work in Duncan Hunters campaign and there were lots of people from other states for FRed or other candidates..

But we paid our own way...

and all those huge rallies for Sarah and the old guy...

50,000 etc were they BUSSED in ???

No they werent and they weere BIGGER than Willard could get...

There seems to have been alot of secret or sacred things going on in the Romney campaign that were designed to hide their awful inside polls...

Lots said about the inside polls in the threads but if Willard had to go to such extremes as to beg Nana in Tennessee to go to Ohio and attend a rally and promise it wont cost me a penny, there has to have been some bad signs going on...

and that ‘shellshock’ jumk...

If Willie knew early in the morning his fellow whale ORCA was not going to free him, how could he be said to not have had some warning ???

Something fishy there...

Anyhoo for the first time in his 65 years spoilt and pampered fair haired son Willard was told NO and that must have stung...

19 posted on 11/10/2012 8:11:13 AM PST by Tennessee Nana
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To: socialism_stinX

I’m sure they ran a very large number of tests on this system

Last night on Roger Hedgecock, Ben Shapiro said there were NO beta tests run at all...

20 posted on 11/10/2012 8:17:45 AM PST by Tennessee Nana
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