Missile Defense Sparks the Palmetto State

February 6, 2004

MDAA spent three full days covering South Carolina last week. The aim of the visit was to discover where South Carolinians stood on Missile Defense and communicate those views to the citizens, legislators, both state political parties and Democratic candidates running for President. MDAA made stops in Greenville, Columbia, and Charleston. The media engagements in Greenville focused on the Presidential debate while in Columbia, MDAA was able to spread it’s message in the state capitol.

On the heels of our recent successful trip to New Hampshire, South Carolina was another great visit for MDAA. The Democratic Candidates for President and voters statewide were inundated with our pro missile defense messages. We made presentations before civic groups, print and radio media, as well as SC business and community leaders. In each case, we encouraged them to push the issue with the candidates and ask them where they stand on missile defense. We also conducted direct meetings with the presidential candidates’ senior staff as well as the leadership of both the South Carolina state Republican and Democratic parties to communicate the voters’ support for missile defense.

Our key messages over the three days included:
– 91% of SC voters support a missile defense system
– 75% of likely voters in the Democratic Primary support a missile defense system
– 65% of likely voters in the Democratic Primary are more likely to vote for a candidate who supports missile defense.
– 85% of likely voters in the Democratic Primary support the current deployment play proposed by the President and Congress.
– Voters in NH support Missile Defense because of three reasons
– * Public Safety
– A threat to our country (76% Believe in the Credibility of the Threat, 91% believe in Significant Economic Impact

* Affordability (75% Money Well Spent)
* The Technology Works (79% Technology Works)

– Voters in SC want the system deployed and they want to vote for candidates who support deploying a missile defense system \r\n\r\nThe Candidates for President:

We met with the major campaigns for President including; the Kerry, Clark, Edwards and Dean campaigns as well as the SC Republican and Democratic Parties. In each case, our meetings were with Senior Staff of the campaigns in South Carolina and extremely substantive. The citizens of South Carolina take their first-in-the-south primary responsibility very seriously and the candidates are very eager to understand how SC voters feel about important issues like Missile Defense. Before the debate in Greenville, MDAA was able to meet with key staffers from General Wesley Clark’s campaign. During the debate, General Clark mentioned the issue of missile defense. This is the first time missile defense was mentioned by any of the Democratic Presidential candidates in a debate.

Civic Groups and Opinion Leaders:

Breakfast Speech
– SC Manufacturers Alliance
– One of South Carolina’s largest industrial leaders and a key base of support for all political candidates. We met with the president who heads the alliance and maintains close ties with numerous members of the SC legislature.

Legislative Briefing, SC State House – Held in Columbia with Speaker Pro Tem of the House of Representatives.

Meeting with SC Policy Council President – The Policy Council is a leading conservative research-based think tank with a very large membership – highly regarded by leaders across the state as a resource and educational leader.

Our media outreach included talk radio and newspaper interviews and reached across all areas of the state.

A detailed summary follows:
(40 Minutes) The Mickey Plyler Show, WCCP-FM Radio
– call-in with the upstate’s premier sports and news drive-time network. We opened the show, which reaches a primarily male audience throughout the upper third of the state.
(30 Minutes) The Andy Thomas Show We called in and talked with Andy on South Carolina’s only statewide pure talk-radio show. This drive-time program is broadcast in every region of the state.
(40 Minutes) RadioFree Rocky D, WTMA-Radio, Charleston
– Making certain to hit the low country, we were in-studio guests of one of South Carolina’s most prolific radio talk-show figures. As a self-proclaimed conservative telling the “common sense truth”, RadioFree Rocky D was able to push the MDAA message during our interview and again that same afternoon when Presidential candidate John Kerry called in.

The State
– South Carolina’s largest and most widely read newspaper sent Editor Bob Spear to meet with us. Bob is a long-time, widely respected newsman writing primarily sports and news related articles.

– We interviewed with South Carolina’s leading Associated Press political reporter, while in Greenville for the South Carolina Presidential debates. The AP publishes articles carried by every paper across South Carolina.

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