So everyone and their brother is commenting on the revelation that our beloved Phil De Vellis – I say beloved because for much of his time in Ohio he was pretty much hated among bloggers – is the supposed guy behind the Obama “Vote Different” ad. Jerid says “Wasn’t him“. The Politico weighs in after having phoned around Ohio a bit. Many are talking about it – won’t be hard to find! People will probably be talking about this one for a while – none of which will be very helpful.

Here’s the deal. Phil probably could have done the video work. I hear he is a huge mac fan and runs Final Cut Pro – it’s possible. I also hear he may have even done paid work in video editing at some point. The point isn’t whether or not “he did it”. The point is was he a lone actor and why the hell would a campaign hide from such an admittedly brilliant use of viral web ads?

I didn’t think anyone was going to pick up on all the Blue State Digital connections until I saw Cillizza’s stuff. He is on the right track, but doesn’t really dig enough. Sloat does, and gets today’s sleuth award by uncovering a very similar ad used in the Lamont campaign (to much lesser effect).

So 3 questions:

1. What are the BSD connections?
2. Why is the original story BS?
3. Why the hell pull this stuff and not just put the ad out?

1. Blue State Digital is a killer company. You don’t make Fast Company’s Fast 50 by not being. They also happen to be the technology provider for Progress Ohio. I’ve met most of them and they are damned smart people. The connection is simple. Joe Rospars is a founder and worked there until he took a job with the Obama camp (BSD did the Obama web site). Phil went to work with Blue State Digital just after I saw him at Rootscamp in DC. That might be enough to go “hmmm”, but when you consider the above Lamont video was done in July of ’06 that takes Phil out of the picture for that one. So he either stole the idea or he improved upon it. I’m betting on the latter. Here is Rospars talking about how they turned down Lieberman, in part because they were already working with Lamont:

Joe Rospars, co-founder of Blue State Digital, also said that there would be a conflict of interest in running Lieberman’s Joe2006.com Web site, because they have already been contracted by Ned Lamont’s campaign. “We’ve been with Ned Lamont since the beginning, we’ve been his Web vendor, so it’s puzzling why they would call us,” he said.

So the ad concept was not new and had been around in Blue State Digital circles since at least summer of ’06.

2. Why is the original story BS? Because first it just doesn’t “smell” right. Something is off. Like when your 8 year old explains how her sister got hurt and you get that feeling. The other reason is that they couldn’t even get their story straight. Phil says in his Huffpo outing piece: “I’ve resigned from my employer, Blue State Digital…”, yet Blue State says: “Pursuant to company policy regarding outside political work or commentary on behalf of our clients or otherwise, Mr. de Vellis has been terminated from Blue State Digital effective immediately.” This is the point at which you look at both of your daughters and say: “OK, somebody is lying here”.

Does Phil have the ability to do the video work? Sure. Did he concept this? Obviously not. Was it cooked up on a lazy Sunday afternoon in his apartment? Hell no. I’m not even sure if he has the oppo chops to come up with a nickname like “ParkRidge47”. Phil has used deceit before and I have no reason to believe he wouldn’t again. Seems pretty transparent to me.

3. Why the hell pull this stuff and not just put the ad out? I have no clue. The ad is great. It got a huge amount of play – and will continue to now. Why it can’t just be created and put out there without all the behind the scenes shenanigans is beyond me. Maybe everyone thinks now that you have to play these games instead of produce someting and own it.

Here is my message to all involved or allegedly not involved: Tighten the FUCK up! You do a disservice with this crap. As for Phil, my guess is that he is a continual pawn mucking about messing things up at every turn. I’d be very careful with Ohio. That goose is pretty well cooked.

Both videos after the break

Lamont “Nightmare”:

Obama “Vote Different”:

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