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Daily Digest: The Obama Money Bomb Bombs?

BY Joshua Levy | Tuesday, April 22 2008

The Web on the Candidates

  • Furthering the mutual back-scratching tradition of web companies teaming up with mainstream news organizations for election coverage (see Facebook & ABC), MySpace and NBC are joining forces to launch — get ready, and use a booming voice — DECISION08. Among other things, the site displays videos from NBC News, MSNBC.com, and from MySpace users, and links to the profiles of network anchors (the Facebook/ABC site did this too; no offense, but are socnet users really interested in Chuck Todd’s MySpace profile?). From the companies’ point of view, it’s a win-win. The team-up also gives NBC the chance to align themselves with MySpace’s significant voter-engagement stuff, which was deployed so well in the presidential dialogues they produced with MTV. And MySpace becomes “legit,” though it already was kinda legit in our book.

  • Newsweek’s Andrew Romano — who’s quickly become one of the savviest campaign reporters on the trail — has a great post about headline-happy mainstream campaign coverage. Writing about a low-key Obama event, he says, “While Obama chatted about things that, you know, actually matter to people—like how to solve the nurse shortage crisis with a woman recently paralyzed from the waist down—the media types in attendance did everything and anything but listen.” He goes on to say that the national press corps doesn’t see a story unless there’s a potential gaffe involved. “Today’s so lame, there’s just nothing,” one reporter said as he watched Obama talk with a group of voters. Where’s a macaca moment when you need one?

  • MoveOn has been ramping up their efforts to support Barack Obama in the last days before the Pennsylvania primary, asking the public to vote on videos they’ve received for their Obama in 30 Seconds ad contest, most of which are pretty well-produced and funny (see Wired’s Sarah Lai Stirland’s review of her faves).

  • Remember that million-dollar-in-a-minute Obama money bomb we mentioned last week? It was supposed to take place at precisely 1pm ET yesterday, but it looks like the mission wasn’t accomplished. “Because of the overwhelming response, we are encouraging everyone to donate anytime today. All donations will be counted towards the minute,” said a message on An Obama Minute. Hmm, that doesn’t seem right! Meanwhile, the Politico’s Ben Smith discovered that $245,000 came into the Obama site in that minute, which ain’t too shabby, so why not advertise it? Yet the Obama Minute site hasn’t changed since yesterday afternoon. Curious.

  • John Hockenberry, host of the new public radio show The Takeaway, showed up at a random Cabela’s — the hunting, camping, and outdoor gear store — in rural PA and asked shoppers who, if they had to choose, they’d vote for: Obama or Clinton. They overwhelmingly chose Obama. Surprised? We don’t know what to think anymore.

  • Tech news site ChannelWeb polled a bunch of IT execs, developers, academics, and bloggers about their presidential preferences, and while John McCain was favored by most of those polled, the two Democrats combined were more popular. Take two: Surprised? We don’t know what to think anymore.

The Candidates on the Web

  • Mark Weiner of Syracuse.com profiles one Mac Cummings, who started a software and consulting company in his Cornell University dorm room in 1998, and who is now running online finance for Hillary Clinton. Cummings, whose company works with mundane clients like beverage distributors and retailers, initially showed up as an unpaid volunteer for the Clinton campaign after Super Tuesday and what was supposed to be a three-day gig turned into a newly created position of “director of online finance” after the campaign had the epiphany that they needed to use the web to raise money. Cummings sounds like Joe Trippi when he says that “There will not be another presidential election that fails to have the Internet as a major part of the strategy,” though he may have been frustrated about the campaign’s approach. “Right or wrong, (the Clinton campaign) made the determination that their base of supporters was not Internet savvy,” Cummings said. “And the data that I’ve seen tends to back up that assessment.” Wow. Note that, in this piece, the campaign seems to view the web entirely as an ATM; those little people otherwise known as the voters don’t seem to figure so much in their thinking. Also, it’s almost impossible to find an in-depth story about the Clinton web operation because the campaign is so tight-lipped (as are Obama and McCain, most of the time), but here the alumni magazine scored a coup.

  • The YouTubing of politics spreads to the London Mayoral race, where the venerable BBC has invited Londoners to post questions to the candidates. The results start rolling out tonight.

In Case You Missed It…

Patrick Ruffini reports that the use of Twitter as a discovery vehicle for raw political intelligence takes another step today with Election Journal, a project by Republican election watchdog Mike Roman. The site is using Twitter, Flickr, and Google Maps to cover primary election day in Philadelphia, with Twittering correspondents stationed around the city.

News Briefs

RSS Feed today >

First POST: Reminders

Why the RNC hasn't managed to reboot how Republican campaigns use voter data; new ways of using phone banking to get out the vote; how the UK's digital director is still ahead of the e-govt curve; and much, much more. GO

tuesday >

First POST: Patient Zero

Monica Lewinsky emerges with a mission to fight cyber-bullying; Marc Andreessen explains his political philosophy; tech donors to MayDay PAC get pushback from Congressional incumbents; and much, much more. GO

monday >

First POST: Front Pagers

How Facebook's trending topics feed is wrecking political news; debating the FBI's need for an encrypted phone "backdoor"; democratizing crisis data; and much, much more. GO

friday >

First POST: Tracking

Questions about whether Whisper is secretly tracking its users' secrets; the FBI's continued push against the new wave of encrypted phones; community service, high-tech-mogul-style; and much, much more. GO

thursday >

First POST: Hosts

Airbnb in hot water in NYC; Knight Prototype Fund backs some civic tech projects; pondering Google's position on net neutrality; and much, much more. GO

wednesday >

First POST: Africa Calling

How some techies are starting to respond to the Ebola crisis; everything you need to know about GamerGate; how Twitter may upset the 2015 UK elections; and much, much more. GO

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