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Daily Digest: A Day of Remembrance, Service, Matt Damon

BY Nancy Scola | Thursday, September 11 2008

The Web on the Candidates

  • Streaming the "ServiceNation Presidential Candidates Forum": Having curtailed their negative ads today, John McCain and Barack Obama will participate in a joint visit to the former site of the World Trade Center in observance of the seventh anniversary of the attacks of September 11th, 2001. And then tonight at 8 pm EST, MTV's will live stream a community service forum at Columbia University. Both candidates will appear -- though separately -- to detail their visions for the future of civic engagement. One detail of particular interest here: ServiceNation, the just-launched organization behind tonight's forum, has entered into a partnership with Facebook that extends the social-networking giant's philanthropic activities. #

  • Good Will Voting?: In an interview with the Associated Press, actor Matt Damon ripped into Sarah Palin, calling her sudden rise to the vice presidential nomination "a really bad Disney movie." (How bad, Matt? Like "Legend of Bagger Vance" bad? We kid, we kid.) A video clip of the segment has caught fire online. With a cherubic face and childlike sense of wonder, Damon says "I need to know if she really think that dinosaurs were here 4,000 years ago. I want to know that, I really do. Because she's gonna have the nuclear codes." Added to YouTube just yesterday, the two-minute clip has already racked up more than 200,000 views. (Palin's team issued a quick response, chiding Damon's comments as "little more than blatant name-calling.") #

The Candidates on the Web

  • Honoring 9/11 Online: Both presidential candidates have adjusted their website splash pages for today, finds techPresident's Michael Whitney. McCain's page reads "We Remember," features an American flag backdrop, and connects to "a call to service for all" page with links to suggested service organizations. Obama's features a lowered flag, as well as a short essay on 9/11 and renewing a "sense of common purpose." See Michael's post for screen shots. #

  • Mac's Copyright Woes: Team McCain has been forced to pull yet another web ad from YouTube over copyright claims, this time a complaint from CBS that his "Lipstick" advert improperly used footage of anchor Katie Couric. The liberal blog Think Progress puts it at the sixth time the McCain camp has had to change course over copyright troubles. #

  • On Search, Both Campaigns Have Room for Improvement: We've seen several articles coming in lately that analyze how well John McCain and Barack Obama are using paid-for ad results like Google Ad Words. One thing that makes that analysis challenging, though: online ad tools let campaigns target ads to viewers based on their web behavior. And add to that the fact that certain parameters, like how many daily impressions a campaign shells out for, can change which ads run from morning to afternoon. Marketing Vox, an online marketing hub, finds that its searches turn up different paid links than a fellow marketing blogger. All in all, though, they conclude that John McCain is trouncing Barack Obama in search ad relevance. Though, they say in summary, "neither does great." #

TechCongress and Beyond

  • Congressional Thumb Typers: The latest in National Journal's HillTweet Blues series (insert long and loud groan here) follows the Twittered musings of Indiana Republican Rep. Dan Burton. With micro-posts like "Burton Energy Compromise covered in California," either the good congressman likes to talk about himself in the third person or he's not actually the one typing them. Maybe John Culberson can hold a brown bag and fill his colleagues in on a better way to tweet. #

In Case You Missed It...

Our own Andrew Rasiej was highlighted in this story in the Le Monde. Much to my French-creole-by-way-of-Louisiana mother's chagrin, my French doesn't extend much beyond ordering a croissant and cafe au lait in a Paris cafe, so please have a look and let me know how it turns out.

Nancy Scola consults a campaign finance expert to help make sense of the disclaimer attached to McCain's online fundraising efforts.