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Daily Digest: Obama as Clinton Redux, in More Ways Than One

BY Nancy Scola | Monday, December 1 2008

  • History's Lessons for a Wired White House: He was a young Democratic president eager to use technology to open the presidency. Wait, roll back the tape -- we're talking Bill Clinton, circa 1994. Barack Obama, writes Politico's Carol E. Lee, Barack Obama will have the new-media tools and know-how to make Clinton's dream a reality. But, warns, Lee, the 42nd president's struggles might have lessons for Obama. The entrenched White House press corps staged an immediate (and ultimately successful) revolt when Clinton attempted to rework how the press and administration intermix.

  • Tracking the Evolution of Change.gov: Tech publisher Tim O'Reilly is arguing that the transition hub Change.gov should be put under revision control, so that we the people can keep track of the tweaks and adjustments the incoming administration makes to the site between here and inauguration day. O'Reilly's commenters, though, point out an important truth -- there's no need for this to happen from the inside. We've got the tools to track changes from the outside in. That said, what would be great is for government bills and regulations to have section-by-section permalinks, so that we could link and analyze to our heart's content.

  • Incoming Administration Faces Information Overload: As of Thanksgiving day, Change.gov had attracted some 290,000 resumes for political appointments. That's more than twice what greeted the incoming Clinton Administration in '94 and more than six times what the Bush Administration pulled in in 2000. All those hopefuls are after just 8,000 jobs listed in the so-called Plum Book. That intense interest in executive branch jobs, reports the Chicago Tribune's Jill Zuckman, is causing some Administration officials to pull down their Facebook profiles -- just in case you attempt to poke them for reasons other than a friendly game of Scrabulous.

  • Palin's Unstoppable Online Power: Alaska Governor Sarah Palin is still generating a great deal of attention online, reports Politico's Charles Mahtesian. (Thanks Shaun Dakin) The Republican vice presidential candidate is putting up numbers in the political space challenged only by Barack Obama. Some of it represents unmitigatedly positive interest in Palin. And then there's that turkey-slaughtering video that has been viewed an astounding 3 million times. But either way, it's all attention that a clever once-and-future candidate can use to good effect.

  • Just How Historic Was Obama's Presidential Run?: Wired.com's Sarah Lai Stirland has a detailed accounting of a recent Center for American Progress Action Fund event on the meaning and message of the Obama campaign that featured reporters, advocates, and political practitioners.

  • American Diplomacy in the Age of Facebook: Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy James Glassman is at the New America Foundation today for a discussion on what New America's Steve Clemons is calling "Facebook/Twitter Diplomacy." It's a provocative topic (particularly post-Mumbai), as Glassman has delved into using social networking to "encourage young people with political grievances to find outlets for their protests other than violent extremism." The session has wrapped, but the webcast is archived here.

In Case You Missed It...

Nancy Scola says that somewhere there's a director obsessively managing the production of the Chicago-run of Obama's weekly video addresses. Nancy also reports on Change.gov's adoption of Creative Commons licensing and rounds up the social media response to the Mumbai attacks.

And Matthew Burton says that, from Twitter Vote Report to the Motrin Moms furor, November "'twas a good month for Twitter."