Daily Digest: Obama Clarifies What He Meant By "Public"
BY Nancy Scola | Thursday, June 19 2008
The Web on the Candidates
The John McCain campaign has unleashed its first
ever Facebook application: a
video tour of the "Straight Talk Express," the McCain
campaign's 45-foot 550-horsepower bus. (See, it's an educational video.)
Guided by photogenic advance chief Davis White, it's
no Barney Cam romp through the White House. Is this the sort of thing
Facebookers have been waiting for from the all-but-certain Republican
TechPresident's Colin Delany has released an updated
version of his free 52-page
guide to online politics, focused on the tools and tactics of web-based
advocacy work. Well worth a download.
Google has launched a fun Elections
'08 Map Gallery that features maps showing the life trails of
both the Democratic and Republican candidates, overlays of donor data,
and more. The collection is, however, shall we say, anemic, and we
look forward to even more mashups of political data and maps. Lucky
for us, there's an API.
Get to work.
The Candidates on the Web
Given his past support for the public financing of elections, Barack
Obama had to know that when he opted out of the system for
the general election it would raise some eyebrows and more than a
few questions. He announced his decision this morning not by calling
a press conference and opening himself up to inquiry, but by taking
his arguments right to supporters via a video posted on YouTube
and emailed to his mailing list. Despite his professorial mien, Obama
didn't mince words. He called the public-financing system "broken"
and John McCain and his allies "masters of gaming" it. Micah
Sifry has more
on Obama's announcement. One reason that Obama might feel pretty
good about depending on donors heading into November is...
His email list is, officially, technically, ginormous. Obama has
contact with somewhere between four and eight million supporters,
more than 1.5 million have kicked in some amount to the campaign.
Politco's Daniel Libit has a first look
a list of that unprecedented size might mean for a President
Obama. Could it free him from fundraising burdens a president normally
carries? If gelled into local networks, could those contacts give
him leverage in the districts of uncooperative congressfolk? Check
out the take of Steve Westly, former eBay exec and
Obama's California co-chair, who ties the potential of a list that
size to this question: "Are you willing to let go of some control?"
TechCongress and Beyond
Capitol Words is a fun
new project out the Sunlight Foundation that uses text frequency analysis
to distill the Congressional Record down to a single word
for each day Congress is in session. The LA Times has a good
write-up. For September 12, 2001 that word was "nation."
March 21, 2003 -- the day after the U.S. entered into war in Iraq
-- it was "amount." But the question is, amount
of what? Troops? Potatoes? Hours until recess? It'd be great to eventually
bursts," to borrow a phrase from computer scientist Jon
Kleinberg's tracking of the popularity of phrases in State
of the Union addresses, to give us insight into the changes in Congress's
zeitgeist over time. Again, there's
an API. So again, get to work.
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