"Know someone on Facebook or Twitter who, day after day, populates your feed with the latest right-wing talk-radio chatter?" Smoot wrote in the email. "Today, we’re offering you the opportunity to make a donation to the Obama campaign inspired by your favorite conservative friend or relative."
Obama's campaign website now offers donors a chance to enter the name and email of "a Republican in your life" that will be used to "send them a message letting them know they inspired you to donate."
Ben LaBolt, the Obama campaign's press secretary, tweeted later on Wednesday that "the email addresses are not stored."
In response to the controversy, he referred to popular paranormal crime-solving TV show "The X-Files," tweeting: "The tin foil hats can be retired, and Mulder and Scully can stand down."
—This post was updated at 1:54 p.m.