Claim: The White House is soliciting phone calls to record public opinion about a proposed war with Iraq.
Example:[Collected on the Internet, 2002]
Phone the White House at 202-456-1111. A machine will detain you for only a moment and then a pleasant live operator will thank you for saying "I oppose" (or "I approve of") the proposed war against Iraq.
The president wants to know. Tell him. Time is running out.
Then please forward this e-mail to at least five people right away.
Origins: This item is true in the sense that people can call the White House at
the phone number given above to offer their comments about whether or not the USA should initiate military action against Iraq, but the phone service was not set up specifically to record public opinion about the Iraq issue. It's simply the general White House Comments phone line, which callers can use to express their opinions about any issue on their minds. (One has to call between 9:00 AM and 5:00 PM Eastern Time on weekdays to speak to a real person, though; otherwise the number just plays a recording inviting the caller to try again when the department is open.)
Will phoning this number to offer your opinion on the USA's going to war with Iraq make a difference? The operator who answered our call at the comments line wouldn't offer any specifics about how public comments are recorded or whom they are delivered to, and even if they are indeed tallied and made available to President Bush, there's no telling how much they might possibly influence his decision on the Iraq issue one way or the other.
Public opinion is an important factor in many political decisions, though, so if you're willing to spring for a brief long-distance phone call, it certainly won't hurt to phone the comments line and offer your opinion. However, President Bush has put a resolution to authorize the use of military force against Iraq before Congress, so a more immediate and direct means of making your opinion count would probably be to phone, write, fax, or e-mail your representative and senators.
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