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Daily Digest: 10/12/07

BY Joshua Levy | Friday, October 12 2007

The Web on the Candidates

  • The political blogosphere has responded angrily to Thomas Friedman’s recent piece asking why “Generation Q” isn’t sufficiently activist and outraged in the style of previous generations. Wired’s Sarah Lai Stirland links to a few posts, and asks whether Friedman has been paying attention to politics online. With events like YearlyKos, Ron Paul supporters’ online activism, and the rise of activism on Facebook, it’s clear that politics and activism are alive and well, they’ve just taken a different form, and most online activists are aware that activism needs to take place offline as well as online. “Perhaps,” Stirland writes, “the face of activism has changed so much that it’s just not recognizable anymore.”

  • I’m approaching this gingerly: the rumors circulating in some conservative corners of the blogosphere about John Edwards’ alleged affair are being vigorously denied by the campaign and the woman allegedly involved. Jerome Armstrong, who posted the woman’s statement on MyDD, calls it a “total bullshit story.” Slate’s Mickey Kaus picked up on the original National Enquirer story, going as far as to consider the possible outcomes if it were true, but now he’s doubting it’s legitimacy. And the right doesn’t seem to be biting. Jim Geraghty at the National Review flatly writes, “this story’s dead.” RedState’s Dan McLaughlin isn’t buying it either, but he thinks “this bears all the hallmarks of Clinton politics,” which, we should add, is completely unsubstantiated. Sigh.

  • In more uplifting news, Al Gore’s co-won the Nobel Peace Prize. This is, of course, re-igniting the movement spearheaded by Draft Gore calling for a presidential run.

  • According to our Technorati charts, Hillary Clinton, Fred Thompson, Ron Paul, and Al Gore have had major surges in attention in the blogosphere. This is most likely due to the release of fundraising numbers this month, and the increased attention given Clinton as she strengthens her lead over Barack Obama and John Edwards in the national polls. It will be interesting to see how Gore’s numbers are affected as enthusiasm for a presidential run ramps up once again.

  • The Washington Post’s Jose Antonio Vargas gives a progress report on Ron Paul’s goal of raising $12 million by December 31. He’s raised $633,000 so far this month, so he has a long way to go. “We’re making our goal public, and that’s pretty gutsy,” campaign spokesman Jesse Benton told Vargas. “But we realize that raising that much money is what it’s going to take to wage a national campaign.”

  • Over at Beltway Blogroll, Danny Glover suggests that while newspaper endorsements for presidential candidates have lost influence, blog endorsements can carry more weight. “Blog endorsements matter because politically engaged “influentials” who shape opinions in their local communities read blogs. They also matter because leading bloggers, unlike editorial boards, are known entities,” Glover writes. That’s why we at techPresident are tracking these endorsements; if you’re a political blogger endorsing a candidate, let us know who you are and who’s your candidate in the comments of this post.

  • Taking a look at the Spartan Internet Political Performance Index, we’ve covered before, blogger Craig Stolz finds that, contrary to the offline polls, “Barack Obama has a huge lead over Hillary Rodham Clinton, and John Edwards appears to be drifting in the direction of Dennis Kucinich.” The index incorporates over 650 quantitative factors, charting an online horserace in which Ron Paul blows away the competition, John Edwards is more popular than Mitt Romney, and Rudy Giuliani is falling behind the pack.

The Candidates on the Web

  • Earlier this week Chris Dodd announced a fundraising promotion in which contributors could get the chance to watch a Red Sox playoff game with the candidate. Unfortunately, reports the Politico’s Ben Smith, Major League Baseball has thrown a curveball in the plan, saying that the contest goes against its rules. It’s too bad, since the idea seemed like a sure home run. Given his web team’s batting average, will Dodd at least get on base as we approach the playoffs primaries? Hard to tell, as the third-base coach is telling him to hold at second. Maybe a few good at bats in the upcoming debates will give him the chance to knock in a few more runs and raise his on-base percentage. (Feel free to mangle more metaphors in the comments.)

  • Barack Obama has a new online-only video ad out, highlighting (again) his early opposition to the invasion of Iraq. Election Geek gives the strategy a mixed review. “It is time for Obama to start spending that money on mediums that average people will see. Like television and radio,” he says. “I don’t see, other than fundraising, how this ad helps him in Iowa, New Hampshire or South Carolina.”

In Case You Missed It…

In our weekly roundup of our favorite political videos, SNL’s Darrell Hammond takes on Fred Thompson, Ron Paul Girl urges us to register as Republicans, John McCain gets cold in front of medical marijuana user, and, in our favorite video, a New York City Council Member gets crazy mad in an interview with a Norwegian parody news show.

The early states of Iowa and New Hampshire have long been stomping grounds for organizers hoping to attract attention to their cause. Now with the rise of online video, activists have a new way to grab national attention.

Peter Erickson breaks down the numbers and strategies discussed at this week’s Facebook Political Summit.

Check out the raging comment thread below Zephyr Teachout’s recent post about the lack of power given to supporters by the presidential campaigns.