"Last-Minute Trick": Robocalls Tell Voters Obama Endorses Garcetti - NBC Southern California

Information about candidates and issues in the May 21 Southern California elections

"Last-Minute Trick": Robocalls Tell Voters Obama Endorses Garcetti

Garcetti's camp says the robocall won't affect voters' decisions



    "Last-Minute Trick": Robocalls Tell Voters Obama Endorses Garcetti
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    LA mayoral candidate Eric Garcetti drops his ballot in the box on May 21, 2013. Earlier in the day, robocalls circulated among voters saying Garcetti had been endorsed by President Barack Obama. Both Garcetti's and his opponent's camps denied responsibility for the messaging.

    The campaign for Eric Garcetti is denying responsibility for Election Day robocalls telling voters that the LA mayoral hopeful has been endorsed by the president and will "fight for universal health care and gay marriage."

    Garcetti’s office began receiving numerous calls from Angelenos Tuesday that automated phone messages were circulating as voters heading to the polls.

    "This is obviously a Greuel ally," said Jeff Millman, spokesman for the Garcetti campaign. "We are not behind this."

    Millman speculated that the calls were used as a tactic against his candidate to target Republicans, who likely would have been displeased with a candidate backed by the Democratic commander in chief.

    Los Angeles resident Jeff Freeman told NBC4 that he came home to find a suspicious voicemail at noon.

    NBC4 called the number associated with that voicemail, and heard this message:

    "Hello, neighbor. I'm calling to let you know President Obama has endorsed Eric Garcetti. Eric Garcetti will fight for universal health care, gay marriage, a strong social welfare system and immigration reform. Thank you for listening."

    Obama has not formally endorsed any candidate for the Los Angeles mayoral race. Calls to his office were not returned by the time of publication.

    Wendy Greuel's office responded, saying that the Greuel campaign had nothing to do with the robocall.

    "Nothing could be further from the truth," said Shannon Murphy, spokeswoman for Greuel. "We're just trying to speak out against the attack ads that Garcetti is running."

    Campaigns use robocalls on behalf of their candidates and the legitimate ones end with a disclaimer saying who produced it, she said.

    "This message had no disclaimer, and we didn't do it," Murphy said.

    In a Facebook post, Freeman said he received this email signed "Eric Garcetti" after telling the campaign about the message:

    "Incredible. The campaign that they are running has sunk to new lows...Thanks for the heads up. We had heard about this. We are going to win despite their dirty tricks."

    Freeman said he is a registered Republican and he supports Greuel. He invited both candidates for prayer at Beverly Hills Foursquare Church, where he is a pastor

    Freeman said he likes both candidates despite reports of attack ads and robocalls.

    "The things happening politically in this race have not been shining examples for either candidates," Freeman said. 

    The robocall is a common tactic used during elections, but are difficult to track, Millman said.

    "We normally file a complaint with City Ethics Commission, but this was a last-minute trick on Election Day," Millman said.

    Millman said he doesn’t anticipate the robocall will affect voters’ decisions.

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