Cashing In on a G.O.P. StarBy Julie Bosman
“Make a donation to Planned Parenthood,” the anonymous e-mail message urged. “Of any amount. In Sarah Palin’s name.”
The message, which began circulating widely on the Internet last week, had one more instruction: request that the personalized thank-you card from Planned Parenthood be sent to Ms. Palin, the Republican vice-presidential nominee and a vocal opponent of abortion, at the McCain-Palin campaign headquarters in Virginia.
So far, the scheme seems to be getting a strong response. As of Friday, Planned Parenthood had taken in $802,678 in donations from 31,313 people, said a spokesman for the organization, Tait Sye. More than two-thirds of the individuals are first-time donors to Planned Parenthood, Mr. Sye said, and money came in from all 50 states.
Ms. Palin’s status as a fund-raising draw for Planned Parenthood puts her in the company of President Bush, who was the target of a similar scheme in 2001, said Patt Morrison, a columnist for The Los Angeles Times who took credit for the idea.
“I envisioned a scene out of ‘Miracle on 34th Street,’ ” Ms. Morrison wrote on The Huffington Post last week, “sacks and sacks of thank-you cards from Planned Parenthood, delivered to Bush in the Oval Office.”
Cecile Richards, the president of Planned Parenthood, called the response “phenomenal,” and said she wanted to personally thank the “tens of thousands of individuals who responded to this call to action.”
Planned Parenthood said it would begin mailing the thank-you cards next week. The McCain campaign declined to comment.