It seemed like a simple enough concept on Tuesday night when the campaign of the Republican nominee for president, former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, released its first smartphone app, “With Mitt.” Within hours, however, internet pranksters had found a glaring spelling error and wasted no time ridiculing the app and the campaign from one end of the Internet to another, according to the blog Mashable.
The app allowed users to shoot a photo with their phone, then emblazon it with one of 14 pro-Romney banners. Supporters could then upload their pictures to Twitter or Facebook.
“We thought this would be a fun, easy way to showcase support,” said the campaign’s digital director, Zac Moffatt. Instead, hundreds of waggish users seized upon the banner that said “A Better AMERCIA” and superimposed it on everything from spelling dictionaries to “The Simpsons” character Ralph Wiggum.
On Twitter, users created an #Amercia hash-tag and by Wednesday morning, it was a trending topic on the popular microblogging platform with users tweeting messages like “Some poor app designer is getting strapped in a cage on the top of a car and driven across country tonight. #amercia,” referring to the infamous incident with Seamus, the Romney family’s Irish Setter. Users set up a tumblr account and deluged Facebook as well with their creations, combining the misspelled banner with scenes like a group of Tea Party protesters with signs saying, “Make ENGLISH the official language of America!”
Romney spokesperson Andrea Saul fought to mitigate the damage in an MSNBC interview, saying, “Mistakes happen. I don’t think any voter cares about a typo at the end of the day.”
She said that the campaign has submitted a correction to Apple and that it would be available pending approval by the computer and software giant. As of press time, a Raw Story writer who downloaded the app reported that the misspelled banner is still in place.
David Ferguson is an editor at Raw Story. He was previously writer and radio producer in Athens, Georgia, hosting two shows for Georgia Public Broadcasting and blogging at Firedoglake.com and elsewhere. He is currently working on a book.
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