Orca: Inside team Romney’s whale of an IT meltdown

“It was supposed to be a ‘killer app,’ but a system deployed to volunteers by Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign may have done more harm to Romney’s chances on Election Day—largely because of a failure to follow basic best practices for IT projects,” Sean Gallagher reports for Ars Technica.

“Called ‘Orca,’ the effort was supposed to give the Romney campaign its own analytics on what was happening at polling places and to help the campaign direct get-out-the-vote efforts in the key battleground states of Ohio, Florida, Pennsylvania, Iowa, and Colorado,” Gallagher reports. “Instead, volunteers couldn’t get the system to work from the field in many states—in some cases because they had been given the wrong login information. The system crashed repeatedly. At one point, the network connection to the Romney campaign’s headquarters went down because Internet provider Comcast reportedly thought the traffic was caused by a denial of service attack.”

“To build Orca, the Romney campaign turned to Microsoft and an unnamed application consulting firm,” Gallagher reports. “The goal was to put a mobile application in the hands of 37,000 volunteers in swing states, who would station themselves at the polls and track the arrival of known Romney supporters. The information would be monitored by more than 800 volunteers back at Romney’s Boston Garden campaign headquarters via a Web-based management console, and it would be used to push out more calls throughout the day to pro-Romney voters who hadn’t yet shown up at the polls. A backup voice response system would allow local poll volunteers to call in information from the field if they couldn’t access the Web.”

Gallagher reports, “As one Orca user described it to Ars, the entire episode was a ‘huge clusterfuck.’ Here’s how it happened.”

Read more in the full article here.

See also the original article by John Ekdahl at Ace of Spades HQ, “The Unmitigated Disaster Known As Project ORCA,” here.

MacDailyNews Take: No word on what computers, operating systems, software, etc. were used, but it all sounds rather Microsoftian.

UPDATE: 4:18pm EDT: Ah, as per the comments below, it was Microsoftian. (We’ve added the paragraph with the info about the MSFT involvement above.)

[Thanks to MacDailyNews readers too numerous to mention individually for the heads up.]

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Apple iPads, laptops stolen from Romney presidential campaign staff – March 27, 2012
Republican candidate Mitt Romney confirmed Apple iPad user (with video) – March 19, 2012


  1. Of note, the article says that volunteers spent days trying to find the Orca app on both the iTunes and Google Play stores, only to learn that there was no app for either. The Orca app itself was hosted on a single generic server (great redundancy there), which was probably a Linux and an IIS box. But most important, even though Romney lost, his consultants still got paid.

      1. Greetings from your Emperor Oblabla!

        I am paying extra for all my Obama phone ladies to produce as much offspring as possible. I need as many idiot voters as possible to ensure my soon to be announced coronation.
        Make sure there is no father in the home, otherwise I can’t pay you.

        I love all my FAT POOR peasants.

        1. Another bigot in the wall. Must come from one of the poorly educated states that voted against progress. Conservatism by definition tries to keep things the same and is against change. The only way to have progress is to change the things that need improvement. Single parent families need help and not your denigration. Calling someone like you stupid will not make you any smarter. You also need help.

        2. “The German prefix über can have connotations of superiority, transcendence, excessiveness, or intensity, depending on the words to which it is prepended.”
          None of which can ever apply to an ignorant, puerile, bigoted redneck like you, shit-for-brains. A pity there isn’t a DNA test for people like you, then you could have been aborted early, saving the whole planet a lot of grief.
          You are a total waste of oxygen.

      2. Hostess going out of business; 18,000+ to be laid off

        North Texas-based Hostess Brands, Inc. has decided to go out of business and liquidate its assets after failing to win back striking workers.

        The company posted a statement on a website set up specifically for people following the strike.

        “We deeply regret the necessity of today’s decision, but we do not have the financial resources to weather an extended nationwide strike,” said Gregory F. Rayburn, chief executive officer. “Hostess Brands will move promptly to lay off most of its 18,500-member workforce and focus on selling its assets to the highest bidders.”

        About one-third of the company’s workers are union members who are unhappy about the company’s cutbacks during its bankruptcy reorganization.

        But problems with several unions — including the Bakery, Confectionery, and Tobacco workers and the Grain Millers International Union — have prevented the company from moving forward.

        Hostess said it will seek bankruptcy court permission to sell all of its assets. The company said bakery production has already shut down.

          1. @First 2014

            This just proves ObamaCare is working. I am more than happy to pay a 5% increase in the price of my burger if it means that the employees and their families have access to healthcare. I guess you’d rather save 50 cents and let the employee, and their families die of cancer?

            As far as cutting hours; This just proves the company is stupid. If they could do the job with 30 hours, why have they been paying them for 40? Let’s see how profitable it will be for Denny’s when we have to wait 25% longer in line for the burger. I will gladly pay 50 cents more, but I won’t wait 10 minutes longer on my lunch hour.

            Sounds like ObamaCares is working and Denny’s management is stupid.

            …but that is just an opinion of mine, because obviously people like you would rather save 5 percent on your burger even if it means the workers kids have to die a painful death with no medical care. You leave me struggling to decide who I feel sorry for more. You TOTAL loss of having to pay 5% more for a burger, balanced against the suffering of families without medical insurance.

            It’s obvious a tough balance for you, and a price too high?

            1. Denny’s plan is clear. Slap at Obama and more rednecks will come and pay more for their food and it will keep all those liberals out of their stores (calling them restaurants is too much of a stretch). It’s a win any way you look at it.

              Unless the majority of the country supports the idea of better health care access, then Denny’s management look like a bunch of ass hats. I’m guessing they’ll be needing some Lysol shampoo.

              It’s too late. The election is over. Obama is President and we have health care access for more people. Try not to be too upset, and quit whining.

        1. You are really good at critical thinking aren’t you?

          1. Hostess is in it’s SECOND bankruptcy proceeding since 2004.

          2. Their business is in decline because they peddle in empty calorie, sugary, fat cakes. People are wise to the fact that eating this shit makes you unhealthy and fat. People are making healthier choices.

          3. Blaming workers for not accepting pay cuts and benefit reductions “to save the company” when management is clearly inept and unable to devise a strategy to diversify and improve the company is moronic at best. The writing has been on the wall for a long time about the future sustainability of their business, they failed to come up with healthy alternatives and instead did things like buy dolly madison and add more sugary garbage to their “food” lineup.

          Good fucking riddance Hostess. If it means some fat bodies in the lazy red states are upset, well too f-ing bad.

          Head on over to glassdoorDOTcom and look at the reviews from inside the company 2 stars, overwhelmingly the employees have no faith in the inept management of the company. The writing is on the wall, you just refuse to acknowledge it because it doesn’t fit your narrative. You sir are a lemming..

          1. Hostess has been flipped several times since 1980, in a low margin industry (food), there is noting left of value for a Bain like company to suck out, the MBA’s, Lawyer’s, and Accountant’s have sucked it dry and the only thing left is the actual worker and dead carcass. The actual worker and the government will get the blame for bad management, after all Amazon will in time share the same fate and guess who Bezo’s will blame.

    1. The irony must be so heavy as to have crushed your pea brain for it not to have registered.

      If Obama is the king of anything, it’s of not taking responsibility and perpetually blaming anyone but himself.

  2. Despite MDN’s take, it’s clear what OS was used.
    From the article:
    “To build Orca, the Romney campaign turned to Microsoft and an unnamed application consulting firm. “

  3. “To build Orca, the Romney campaign turned to Microsoft and an unnamed application consulting firm.”

    From the article, it was MS doing another stellar job. BTW, Ford reliability demise was MS’s work as well on MyTouch.

    1. The American Republic will endure until politicians realize they can bribe the people with their own money.

      And/or the people are so debilitatingly dumbed-down that they forget what made the American Republic great in the first place.

        1. Just because the videos from F14T16 above happen to feature people of color – or whatever you progs are calling your indentured voters today – doesn’t make the videos “racist.”

          1. Well inferior being, you are sort of right.

            It is not the fact that they are black that is racist. It is how neocons like you two idiots use the imagery. You always use the most extreme example as if it is the norm, you always use minorities as if they are the majority users of the program, both of which are outright false. The dirty truth is that this imagery is used to pander to RACISTS and get them to share your irrational lie of thought.

            Another example would be how FAUX news this week used subtle pandering imagery when discussing the latino vote, viewers were treated to stock reel footage of illegals carrying drugs across our border. The subtle message: those illegal mexicans stole the elections, which couldn’t be further from the truth.

            So you keep telling yourself it isn’t racist and we will keep reminding you that it is. It also happens to be dishonest. But by all means republicans keep getting on tv and making this a race/free stuff issue. Keep it up and watch your clocks get cleaned in the midterms. I can’t wait.

        2. Regarding reelecting “President Mulligan” for his ‘do over’ presidency, ‘For the first time in my adult life, I have never been more ashamed of my Country!’ And I didn’t need help… I DID say that!

      1. Peddling excuses- the Republican stock in trade. $3 Billion, rigged election laws, gerrymandering, voter suppression through caging lists and all the rest and your team- headed by a guy who has been running for President for 6 Years- lost by about 3 million votes.

        BTW- if 2010 Congressional Districts were sill in use the Republicans would have lost the House. It’s called Gerrymandering- not a mandate, Mr Ryan, Cantor and BONER.

  4. The American Republic will endure until politicians realize they can bribe the people with their own money.

    And/or the people are so debilitatingly dumbed-down that they forget what made the American Republic great in the first place.

    Nice to see the truth for a change. It’s so rare nowadays.

  5. “A computer that monitored drilling operations on the Deepwater Horizon had been freezing with a “blue screen of death” prior to the explosion that sank the oil rig last … ”
    “.. computer control system in the drill shack would still record high gas levels or a fire, but it would not trigger warning sirens, ”


    Will People Never Learn.

  6. You think the debt is big now. Just wait 4 more years of Obama. You think unemployment is big now. Just wait. Leave this socialist country now while you still can. Do you all know what comes after socialism….communism.

    1. Yup, George Bush started two wars that will cost this country $3 trillion, and you blame Obama for raising the debt. That’s what an eighth-grade education will do for you. We’ll take Obama’s “socialism” over the Republican Party’s fascism any day.

      1. George Bush. Still?

        George Bush didn’t start shit. He was working on education reform when the U.S. was attacked by the filth that Bill Clinton (D) passed on.

        So, give it a rest, loser. Only losers blame others for their inability to produce positive results. In Obama’s case, he blames others constantly because he has a massive case of Narcissistic Personality Disorder that’s on display in sickening fashion every day. “I, I, I, I, I…” It takes a real mental case to be an egomaniac even though he’s been affirmative-actioned along every single step of his life. Except when he was doing blow in Chicago – maybe even then, too.

        Barack Obama isn’t fit to shine George Bush’s oxfords.

        $3 trillion (your number)? Well, The One has already added $7 trillion to the national debt, so $7T-$3T=$4 trillion.

        What’s was that other $4 trillion for? That’s a lot of food stamps and Obamaphones!

        The Democrat Party. The party of leeches.

        1. He was fucking up education reform is the truth, WITH Ted Kennedy no less.

          NCLB is a horrible, unfunded, unattainable, failed attempt at education reform.

          Besides, I thought you republicans were for states rights and small government? WHy does your plan involve federal mandates and control. I thought states and local control know better than the Fed? Which is CONS?

          BTW, I’ll take an egomaniac over a drunken fool any day..

        2. Both Bushes started wars to get their hands on Middle East oil reserves, thereby inflaming anti-western Islamists. And they persuaded their ass-licking lackey Princess Blair to lie to the British people, dragging us into their illegal wars, and causing the unnecessary deaths of hundreds of British troops. I despise them and everything they stand for.

    2. Lou, I’ll be glad to pitch in for your ticket… would Somalia be suitable. You can carry your guns, look out for yourself, do whatever you want (as long as someone doesn’t kill you first,) and never have to worry about taxes to the federal government… maybe just ransom payments to gangs. But please… take your own advice, and GTFOOH. The smell of your kind is making me sick.

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