Republicans, Obama ask supporters to text hurricane relief

Both the Republican National Convention and the Obama campaign on Monday reached out to their supporters online to solicit donations for hurricane relief.

ST. PAUL, Minn.--While John McCain saw a flood of online donations last week thanks to his newly announced VP choice Sarah Palin, his campaign on Monday was steering Web donors to a site which--while not quite apolitical--some might call nobler than

Hurricane plea from McCain

The Republican party canceled nearly all scheduled events for the Republican National Convention Monday, save official business, out of respect for those impacted by Hurricane Gustav. However, a few special guests remained on the docket of speakers at the St. Paul Xcel Energy Center here, including Cindy McCain and first lady Laura Bush.

"I would ask that each one of us commit to join together to aid those in need as quickly as possible," Cindy McCain said. "As John has been saying for the last several days, this is a time when we take off our Republican hats and put on our American hats."

The aspiring first lady asked the audience to visit, a site that lists contact information for the disaster relief funds in each of the Gulf Coast states. "Visit" is emblazoned on the bottom of the site, along with the notification that the site was paid for by the McCain campaign.

Republican National Convention leaders also asked convention attendees to pledge donations to hurricane relief funds via text to the code 2HELP, using the keyword GIVE.

Shot from Obama site
Barack Obama's campaign makes an online plea for hurricane aid.

The Web site and solicitations for text donations were just a couple of the many ways the RNC is trying to support hurricane victims; the GOP plans to ship out 80,000 care packages from the Xcel Center this week to the affected areas and has set up a phone bank in Minneapolis at which volunteers are calling McCain supporters to ask for donations to charities.

"We anticipate a full and robust effort, but the last thing we want to do is try and take credit for any amount of money raised," Rick Davis, McCain's campaign manager, told reporters Monday morning.

Of course, Barack Obama's campaign could not leave it up to the Republican camp to harness technology for the betterment of the Gulf Coast. The Democratic presidential candidate contacted his cadre of supporters who receive text messages from the campaign, with a text that read, "Barack asks that you give to the Red Cross: give 5 dollars by texting GIVE to 24357 or give more by calling 1-800-435-7669 or at Please fwd."

The Obama campaign also sent an e-mail to supporters, urging them to donate to the Red Cross at an Obama-sponsored site.

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