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Daily Digest: 10/9/07

BY Joshua Levy | Tuesday, October 9 2007

The Web on the Candidates

  • A new site called Political Base, launched by CNET co-founder Shelby Bonnie, wants to help voters connect the disparate dots in American politics, helping them follow the money, compare the candidates’ stances, and contribute their own voices to the online political cacophony. At first glance, we’re impressed. You can compare the candidates’ stances on a multitude of issues, and you can even build your own “comparison grid” to compare specific candidates and issues (which produces an amazingly attractive and easy-to-use chart). They’ve aggregated fundraising data from the FEC, there’s a bio and informational page about each candidate, and much more… Plus, it’s a wiki! You can add or edit content as you wish, though the underlying structure of the site won’t change. At every corner, users have a chance to contribute and to interact. There’s so much going on here, the site risks overwhelming users with data and options, but it should be a huge asset to folks tracking politics online. Check out TechCrunch’s review for more.

  • According to a report from the Wireless Communications Association, only 6 out of the 17 presidential candidates have outlined their broadband policy. “Qualifying criteria included having broadband policy positions listed on campaign websites, policy quotes in recent speeches, responses to WCA’s survey sent to each campaign and position statements made via new media outlets such as podcasts and YouTube videos,” says the WCA. It looks like we’re still on the prowl for America’s first techPresident.

  • A new project of Congresspedia (a joint project of the Sunlight Foundation and the Center for Media and Democracy) has the goal of producing citizen-written profiles of each candidate for Congress in 2008. Wiki the Vote is seeded with 300 profiles that need to be updated and expanded by citizens. Each state has a “portal,” navigable by map or a list. It looks great so far; we’ll stop by in the future to check in on its progress. (Disclaimer: techPresident’s Andrew Rasiej and Micah Sifry are advisors to the Sunlight Foundation.)

  • Eventful’s Jed Sundwall traveled to Columbus, KY last week to attend John Edwards’ Eventful-organized rally, and shot some great video interviews with attendees. He chats with regular folks from Western Kentucky, giving a glimpse at how regular folks sucessfuly used the web to interact with a candidate. Pretty cool.

The Candidates on the Web

  • The New York Times’ Patrick Healy writes that as Hillary Clinton’s lead for the Democratic nomination grows, her willingness to engage voters shrinks. Clinton “is running a classic front-runner campaign, holding fewer unpredictable events where voters can lob bombshells at her,” Healy writes. This includes the web: Clinton announced that her HillCasts would enable a conversation between her and her supporters, but her last entry was added on March 14 of this year, and she hasn’t developed any new ways to reach out to her supporters. As her overall strategy becomes even more careful and calculated, can we expect even less of the “conversation” she promised us when she announced?

  • YouTube user “britethorn” agrees that Hillary’s YouTube strategy is at odds with the way the site functions. Although his video is titled “Is Hillary Clinton abusing YouTube,”, he points out that her campaign is making some basic mistakes, like making sure her voice is synced up with the image. They tried to tell the campaign about it in the text responses but — alas — text responses are disabled on her YouTube profile.

  • I tried to check out Mitt Romney’s new social networking site, the Team Mitt Action Center, but it wouldn’t take my password after I started an account (I tried twice). Maybe I need to be approved? Or is there a bug his team should know about? I’ll check in later.

In Case You Missed It…

Zephyr Teachout says the lack of meaningful information about the candidates on their websites is irresponsible, and slightly offensive.

Using the Flesch-Kincaid test to determine the readability of the candidates’ sites, Zephyr finds that Fred Thompson, Mitt Romney, and Hillary Clinton have the most readable sites.

David All covers the launch of John McCain’s daughter’s strange new blog, McCain Blogette and gives it a thumbs-up.