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President Barack Obama spent the weekend talking about the need to “win the future” in what sounds like the beginnings of a re-election slogan. But a conservative activist in Oregon owns the winthefuture websites, virtually ensuring that Republicans will define the catch phrase in their own way.
Obama talked about “how we’ll win the future” in his weekly address and in a video on Saturday when he previewed his State of the Union address for supporters. That video closed with a “Win the Future” graphic that elevated the phrase to a potential re-election mantra.
BarackObama.com will be the President’s online hub for his re-election campaign, but if people go to WintheFuture.com, they are likely to get a very different perspective from Obama’s vision.
Retired engineering consultant Glenn Pelikan of Portland, Ore., registered WintheFuture.com (and all associated extensions, including .org and .net) in 2007, a couple of years after former Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.) released his book, “Winning the Future.”
When Roll Call contacted Pelikan, the Republican hadn’t seen Obama’s recent remarks and didn’t even remember he owned the URLs, probably because he estimates that he owns between 200 to 300 domain names. Four years ago, Pelikan thought about setting up an Oregon chapter based on Gingrich’s philosophies, but he never did anything with the sites.
“I probably would have dropped it a year ago,” said Pelikan about WintheFuture.com. “But now, under the circumstances,” he said his initial thought was to offer the domain names to the Republican National Committee. He’s made no final decisions on what to do with the URL that could become a valuable commodity.
Pelikan, a self-described “constitutional conservative,” hasn’t chosen a candidate for the 2012 presidential race, but he’s no fan of the president and doesn’t believe in his vision for the country.
“It’s not the guy, it’s his policies,” said Pelikan, who contributed to Mitt Romney’s presidential bid in 2007.
Pelikan has also contributed to the RNC, Oregon Rep. Greg Walden (R), Democratic Sen. Ron Wyden’s GOP challenger last cycle, and the Oregon Republican Party, where he is the chairman for issues, outreach and speakers.
It remains to be seen how integral of a part “Win the Future” will play in Obama’s re-election campaign (the New York Times led with the phrase in a Saturday story about the address), but if Democrats use the phrase prominently, Republicans will be in good position to respond. Their inability to secure an important domain is in stark contrast to the praise heaped on the Obama campaign in 2008 for its unprecedented online effort.
Conservatives criticized the President’s supporters for the “Together We Thrive” t-shirts that were handed out at the Tucson Memorial service because they believed they were campaign related.
According to an Internet search, TogetherWeThrive.com was registered on Dec. 2, 2010, and is under construction, but the registrant chose to keep their details confidential.