Obama's $750 Million Juggernaut
I can't say that it was the direct mail results alone which convinced Eisenhower that Korea was the important issue, but Walter Williams told me that it was decisive in helping Eisenhower make up his mind. Certainly, the tests proved overwhelmingly that the war in Korea was the most important issue in the public's mind.
Sidney Weinberg was the financial manager of the Citizens for the Eisenhower-Nixon campaign, and when I told him that a big mailing would pull the same percentage of returns as did the original test, he was full of suspicion. Sidney was a Vice President and partner of Goldman Sachs, and he was accustomed to financial projections that were based on 100-page business analyses—not a skimpy page of mailing test results. The whole thing smelled like Madison Avenue flim-flam to Sidney. Very reluctantly, he gave his permission to roll out with a huge, major mailing, but Sidney was prepared for the worst.
Fortunately, the big mailing pulled exactly as the test mailing projected that it would.
We mailed out some 10 million letters based on the Korean issue. And the interesting thing is that, in addition to getting 10 million messages out to voters, we were able to get some 300,000 voters to send us a contribution. These were 300,000 votes that we could pretty well count on.
The contributions were small. They averaged only $5.00 or so. But the $1.5 million that they represented easily paid the cost of our 10 million campaign. Thus, we had harnessed a powerful self-financing force.
And equally important, we had that most precious of all mail order and political properties—a list of Eisenhower supporters—people who had voted for Eisenhower with their pocketbooks. We had their names and addresses. We could go back to them again for future contributions, for campaign activities, for vote-getting and voting.