CHICAGO—After receiving yet another unwanted e-mail from liberal political action group MoveOn.org Monday, Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama deleted the message from his inbox without even glancing at its contents.
"Ugh, not these people again," Obama was overheard to say as he placed the unread e-mail into the Gmail folder marked "Trash."
According to official records, the e-mail, entitled "50,000 Obama buttons?" was sent at 6:47 a.m. on Tuesday morning. Aides say that Obama checked his mail at 7 a.m. before leaving for a charity fundraiser, and appeared visibly dismayed upon realizing that his new message was from MoveOn.org.
"It seems like every time I turn on my computer, another goddamn MoveOn.org e-mail pops up," said Obama, noting that this is the third message from the progressive online organization he has deleted in the past week. "How many of these things am I going to get?"
"They already know I'm going to vote for Obama," Obama added. "The only people who sign up for this thing are Democrats anyway. They're just preaching to the choir."
Obama reportedly joined the MoveOn.org mailing list while attending the 2004 Democratic National Convention in Boston. Although he was initially intrigued by the idea of receiving newsletters and updates from a group of like-minded, politically active Americans, Obama said the nonstop deluge of e-mails has made him regret his decision.
"I usually get excited when I see that I have one unread message," Obama said. "I think that maybe it's something interesting or important, but then I see it's another MoveOn e-mail and my heart just sinks. It's like getting nothing."
Obama has deleted approximately 25 e-mails from MoveOn.org in the past two months. In addition, Obama's junk folder contains nearly 60 messages from various MoveOn employees and members whose e-mail addresses Obama has previously flagged as spam. Perhaps most telling of his recent frustrations, Obama's mail records confirm that, in April 2008, he replied to a MoveOn.org e-mail entitled "10 Things You Need to Know About John McCain" with the message "Shut up."
Obama, who has traveled across the nation advocating unity among all races and social classes, said he was tired of the onslaught of MoveOn e-mails alleging the organization is making a difference with free campaign buttons, meet-ups, and "make your own Obama video" contests.
"I tried to skim over a few of them at first, but after a while, it's like, 'enough,'" said Obama, who noted that a pro-Obama house party should never be touted as "historic." "The other day, four people sent me the same freaking petition. The same one. How many times do I have to sign this?"
"I know this election is important and everything," Obama added. "But these people seriously need to relax."
Although he acknowledged that it takes little time and effort to discard the unwanted messages, the senator said that MoveOn has nonetheless become a nuisance. In recent weeks, he has begun automatically deleting any e-mail in which he sees the name "Barack Obama" in the subject line, which has only created further problems.
"Shortly after the DNC, I accidentally erased a personal message from my grandmother congratulating me on my nomination," Obama said. "Way to go, MoveOn.org."
According to Obama, however, the most annoying aspect of the MoveOn e-mails is the "self-righteous manner" in which the political advocacy group's mostly white employees have appropriated his campaign message and used it as their own.
"It's irritating that these people think they're doing everybody this great service just by clicking 'send' a million times," Obama said. "I'm trying to make the world a better place, but with all the time I've been spending deleting e-mails, it's going to take me forever."