‘What a bunch of malarkey’: Bogus Biden robocall instructs NH Dems not to vote

Self-sabotage bled into actual concerns of voter suppression in New Hampshire after reports of a robocall featuring the president pushing “malarkey” triggered an investigation.

Troubles around the Democratic National Committee’s (DNC) long-term decision to bypass the New Hampshire primary and skip ahead to South Carolina were compounded by alleged violations of election law ahead of Tuesday’s vote. According to a statement from the Granite State’s Attorney General’s office, the Election Law Unit is looking into “spoofed” calls of President Joe Biden telling voters their vote does not matter.

“What a bunch of malarkey,” the message said in part, sounding every bit like the commander-in-chief. “It’s important that you save your vote for the November election.”

“Voting this Tuesday only enables the Republicans in their quest to elect Donald Trump again. Your vote makes a difference in November, not this Tuesday,” the robocall was detailed as stating.

The statement from AG John Formella’s (R) office indicated, “Although the voice in the robocall sounds like the voice of President Biden, this message appears to be artificially generated based on initial indications.”

“The message appears to have been ‘spoofed’ to falsely show that it had been sent by the treasurer of a political committee that has been supporting the New Hampshire Democratic Presidential Primary write-in efforts for President Biden. The message’s content directed recipients who wished to be removed from a calling list to call the number belonging to this person.”

Faced with primary challengers, Democrats, aware of the detrimental optics of Biden losing the first in the nation primary because he hadn’t even filed to be on the ballot, launched a write-in campaign in October. Led by former state Democratic Party chair Kathy Sullivan and Democratic operative Jim Demers, the Granite State Write-In PAC had asserted their “grassroots effort” had had no communication with Biden’s campaign.

Voters were given Sullivan’s number at the end of the call and she told NBC News how recipients of the robocall had contacted her. “I said, ‘You got a call from Joe Biden, and he gave you my number?'”

“It’s obviously somebody who wants to hurt Joe Biden,” she told NBC News. “I want them to be prosecuted to the fullest extent possible because this is an attack on democracy. I’m not going to let it go. I want to know who’s paying for it? Who knew about it? Who benefits?”

New Hampshire Secretary of State David Scanlan (R) addressed the robocall when asked about it by NBC 10 Boston’s Matt Prichard and said it reinforces “a national concern that has been out there about the effect of artificial intelligence and how it might impact elections and campaigns in negative ways.”

Katie Dolan, presidential campaign spokesperson for Minnesota Rep. Dean Phillips (D) said, “Any effort to discourage voters is disgraceful and an unacceptable affront to democracy. The potential use of AI to manipulate voters is deeply disturbing.”

In their own statement, a spokesperson for former President Donald Trump denied any connection to the robocall and told NBC News, “Not us, we have nothing to do with it.”

Kevin Haggerty

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