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Daily Digest: 4/20/07

BY Joshua Levy | Friday, April 20 2007

The Web on the Candidates

  • OpenSecrets.org has built an amazing Flash tool that graphically represents the links between the top five contributors to presidential campaigns and the candidates. The candidate and donor names are featured in bubbles, and when you click on, say, Mitt Romney's bubble, you'll see his top five donors (Goldman Sachs, Bain Capital, HIG Capital, Kirkland & Ellis, Marriott International). Click on the Goldman Sachs bubble and you'll see who they've contributed to (Hillary Clinton, Chris Dodd, John Edwards, and Barack Obama) and on and on... [via epolitics]
  • Unbeknownst to most followers of the candidates, John McCain is a huge Beach Boys fan. He recently displayed his love for the '60s group by singing his favorite song, "Bomb Iran," at a recent campaign stop. No, I'm kidding! He was actually asked by a supporter how he would deal with the threat of Iran, and he nervously laughed and said, "You know that old Beach Boys song 'Bomb Iran?'" and proceeded to sing "Bomb Bomb Bomb Iran..." Now, inevitably, the clip is on YouTube, and in the YouTube era it could be a pretty damning document. AirCongress has more, including an odd statement from Arizona Rep. John Shadegg, who came to McCain's defense.
  • Marc Ambinder is wondering about the relationship between the netroots and the general public: "Is there a correspondence between the average reader of DailyKos and the average Iowa caucus goer? The average participant in the New Hampshire primary? The average New York primary voter? The average labor voter? The average single woman voter? The average white working class Dem voter? Is there a correlation between those blog readers who vote in online straw polls and those blog readers who vote in primaries?" The questions are a response to Matthew Yglesias' assertion that Hillary Clinton is doomed because she's lost favor with the netroots. "It seems to me that a more satisfying and ultimately more precise way to describe the power of the Democratic blogosphere is to characterize them as the 'leading edge' of base opinion. In the same way, national presidential preference polls, which Hillary still tops, are trailing indicators," Ambinder writes.
  • Phil de Vellis, the creator of the "Vote Different" 1984 video that caused such a fuss a few weeks ago, has released a new video. This time his target is besieged World Bank president Paul Wolfowitz, taking him on using the best weapon available: The Office. It's a classic mashup, intercutting Wolfowitz's speeches with scenes from the TV show, selecting scenes that show the Office characters looking simultaneously dumbfounded and bored (which typically provides most of the comedy on the show). As a piece of propaganda it's less successful than the 1984 video; it doesn't pack the same punch or tap into the same vein of frustration. But de Vellis is great at this stuff, and it's entertaining nonetheless.

The Candidates on the Web

  • It appears that Elizabeth Edwards, who has been known to comment on blog threads, has shown up in a comment thread following a post on the blog Cadillac Tight about her dispute with Monty Johnson, her neighbor is North Carolina who she was quoted as calling a "rabid, rabid Republican" and who she claims once pulled pulled a gun on workers investigating his property. In her first comment, Edwards says she was misquoted in saying she "wouldn't be nice to him, anyway": "As far as I know, I have never laid eyes on him. I undoubtedly expressed some wariness about him, but it has never been my style not to be nice, and anyone who knows me will tell you it doesn't even sound like me." William Beutler at Blog PI is doing the investigative work on this one; check out his post for the Chandleresque narrative behind the story.

In Case You Missed It…

Edwards’ You Choose video gets “cut”
by David All
David All takes a look John Edwards’ YouTube Spotlight video.

SEO 101 For Campaigns: An Interview with Neil Patel
by Fred Stutzman
At techPresident, we’ve previously explored how candidate sites are faring in search engine rankings. The placement of search engine results proves to be very important, as research shows that individuals are more likely to pay attention to (and ultimately click through) the top results in a search engine. As it happens, the placement of search results (known as SEO, or Search Engine Optimization) is also a big industry. TP sat down with Neil Patel, the founder of ACS, a firm specializing in SEO and social media marketing. We asked Neil some basic questions about SEO, and why it matters to presidential candidates.

Trippi Joins the Edwards Campaign
by Joshua Levy
Former Dean campaign manager Joe Trippi has signed on as Senior Advisor to the John Edwards campaign.

Do the Best Sites Make the Most Money?
by Joshua Levy
A team of researchers out of Bentley College, Christine Williams an Jeff Gulati (we’ve covered their analysis of Facebook and elections a couple of times) have released a new content study that shows that the “presidential candidates who have the ‘most comprehensive and innovative websites have also raised the most money.” While helpfully adding to our body of knowledge about the candidates’ use of the web, the study raises more questions than it answers.

Team McCain previews the “Big Announcement”
by David All
The McCain camp just passed along this YouTube link of a preview video for John McCain’s “big announcement” on April 25 that he’s… wait for it… a bit more… RUNNING FOR POTUS. (Shock, awe.)