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Daily Digest: 9/27/07

BY Joshua Levy | Thursday, September 27 2007

The Web on the Candidates

  • The new web service Me.dium is a browser add-on that lets users who are visiting the same site chat with each other (user0001: “Hey, this techPresident is a good read!” user2000: “I totally agree!”). It’s one of those cool ideas that requires a critical mass to make it worthwhile. Today might be their shot: they’re hosting a chat to coincide with MTV and MySpace’s forum with John Edwards. With the Me.dium software installed on your browser (you need Firefox or Internet Explorer), you’ll be able to watch the noontime MySpace/MTV webcast and chat with other viewers in real time. The myriad technologies that will be employed today and in future forums suggests that this could be a breakthrough moment in online politics.

  • Why do we vote on Tuesday? I didn’t know either until I watched Jacob Soboroff’s video announcing the launch of his “Why Tuesday” campaign. As Soboroff points out, the U.S. ranks 139th out of 172 countries in voter turnout, and the project’s goal is to fix that. It’s purpose is to “advance the job started by the civil rights leaders of the 1960s by sparking a national discussion about voting, and seek out national reforms which will result in an America where voting is seen not just as a right, but as a democratic imperative for all citizens.” Hear, hear.

The Candidates on the Web

  • In honor of last night’s Democratic debate at Dartmouth, Chris Dodd has relaunched his Talk Clock, a Pez-dispenser-like chart which illustrates the amount of talking time given to each candidate and the moderator. The results from last night should be no surprise if you’ve seen the clock before — Hillary Clinton was given the lion’s share of talking time, followed by Barack Obama and John Edwards. Not so surprisingly, this is the triad referred to as the “top tier.” But Hillary wasn’t last night’s most loquacious participant; that award goes to moderator Tim Russert.

  • Rudy Giuliani supporters gathered for house parties across the country last night, and they were joined by the candidate himself, beamed into every supporters’ home via webcast. He was introduced by his “good friend” Yogi Berra and proceeded to go through his “twelve commitments,” which have been a cornerstone of his stump speech. A live webcast is far from new, but slowly, it seems, Rudy’s web staffers are beginning to get through to him about using the web in a way which at least suggests interaction.

  • The finalists for Mitt Romney’s ad contest have been announced, and Slate’s funny mock-entries didn’t make the cut. But a voter-produced ode to Ann Romney did (“Finally, I get to buy pink!”), as did three other gushing, very professional-looking vids, some featuring uncanny imitations of Hollywood-style narration. Now, Romney supporters can vote for their favorite; the winner will get shown on TV. Maybe the campaign could show a little humor and also show Slate’s “Way!” video on TV? I swear there’s no snowmen involved! Way!

  • Check out this email I just received from Chris Dodd himself:

    I’m so flattered! Do you also get tired of all those phony HTML emails “from” the candidates, the ones with the big campaign header at the top and a giant “CONTRIBUTE” button to the right? I’m glad Chris (we’re on a first-name basis now) took the time to tap a little note into his BlackBerry — that’s right, no HTML, just text — gently asking for a donation. A welcome change.

In Case You Missed It…

In their column in today’s Politico, Micah Sifry and Andrew Rasiej look at John Edward’s upcoming visit to Columbus, KY, facilitated by his campaign’s embrace of Eventful. Letting supporters in on the scheduling process helps them get more involved in the political process, they write. “The path to the presidency doesn’t have to run through only the early-primary states and the big-money salons. If you trust the voters and give them more ways to participate, they’ll join the game, too.”

Spurred on by David Brook’s recent op-ed in the New York Times, David All thinks that, despite John Edwards’ outward appearance as a candidate who “gets” tech, he’s “he just a big phoney being encouraged by a savvy staff.” A good conversation in the comments is brewing — is David being to harsh?

From the details provided, Mike Connery thinks today’s MTV/MySpace dialogue with John Edwards will be a promising moment in tech politics, but he still has some serious concerns.

Eventful’s Alex Hunsucker writes up his impressions of the John Edwards Eventful contest that has led the candidate to visit a small town in Kentucky, calling it a “case study in ‘letting go.’”

Liza Sabater is also primed for today’s MTV/MySpace dialogue, daring to ask if it might be history in the making.