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Daily Digest: Campaigns, Congress Get Experimental

BY Nancy Scola | Friday, June 13 2008

The Web on the Candidates

The Candidates on the Web

  • Yesterday I suggested that one way of thinking about Obama's new FightTheSmears.com site (not FightTheSmears.org*, definitely not .org) is that the campaign is taking a risk by giving a prominent online spot to rumors about their candidate. A different take comes from Wired's Thomas Goetz, via Ben Smith, suggests that Obama camp is being extremely cleverly in using the campaign's vast cache of Google juice and media interest to drive anyone curious about Obama rumors to their debunking of them. (*FightTheSmears.org is currently safe for work, but has been otherwise in the past.)

  • Speaking of combating Obama-related rumors online, Daily Kos's Markos Moulitsas happened to have in his desk drawer a copy of Obama's birth certificate. How exactly did he have that on hand, hmm? Perhaps a pass-along from a particularly web-attuned campaign?

  • John McCain and his ally and former HP CEO Carly Fiorina are hosting a "virtual town hall" tomorrow aimed at wooing former Hillary Clinton supporters. But before our geek hearts go all aflutter, we should note that this virtual event is what in the old days we called a conference call.

  • TechPresident's David All, Mindy Finn, and Patrick Ruffini are quoted in a Bloomberg article calling for Republicans to get more engaged online, but some are of a different mind. RNC Internet director Cyrus Krohn says some core "older" Republican supporters "don't have the luxury of sitting around and blogging all day." Whether McCain wins in November using the web or not, he still gets called Mr. President. But digital strategists on the right are making the case that they need to build the whole party online, not just make it to the White House.

TechCongress and Beyond

  • Congressional history was made on the House floor yesterday. It involves opening up how government works, but beyond that it's all a bit of a blur. We'd been following Rep. John Culberson (R-TX-@johnculberson) has been Twittering from the House floor. Rep. Tim Ryan (D-OH-@timryan) not one to let his across-the-aisle colleagues have all the fun, started Twittering. Then the two congresspersons started going back and forth to each other! They went point for point on policy and how the House is run, and even drew one former House staffer into the debate. Micah Sifry has more details and screenshots.

  • A video camera-equipped interrogator took Rep. Paul Kanjorski (D-PA) to task for saying that any student of government knew the argument that a Democratic Congress would necessarily lead to an end the Iraq war "wasn't true." I never said that, said Kanjorksi. Except there is, of course, a YouTube record. Kanjorski responded by seemingly shoving the camera to the floor. The congressman later called it "one of those 'gotcha' moments."

In Case You Missed It...

Former Mitt Romney Internet director Mindy Finn on reports from a joint National Journal-Google event that featured her counterparts from the Clinton, Obama, and McCain campaigns.

Luigi Montanez has a look at the political rumors hopping around Snopes.com.