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Daily Digest 8/7/07

BY Micah L. Sifry | Tuesday, August 7 2007

The Web on the Candidates

* There was a bit of a feeding frenzy yesterday over Slate's mini-scoop that Rudolph Giuliani's 17-year-old daughter Caroline is a supporter of Barack Obama, according to her Facebook profile. The Giuliani campaign confirmed the story, saying, “Before the presidential campaign got under way, Caroline added herself to a list on Facebook as an expression of interest in certain principles. It was not intended as an indication of support in a presidential campaign, and she has removed it.” Indeed, Caroline Giuliani's Facebook profile is now down. I checked with Farouk Olu Aregbe, the founder of the "Barack Obama (One Million Strong for Barack)" group that Caroline had joined, and he told me he didn't recall seeing her participate on any discussion boards. Duncan Black (aka Atrios) makes the argument that "journalists shouldn't be quick to publicize information from facebook pages and spaces on the internets about people, especially minors, who aren't really public figures."

* Yesterday, the Huffington Post launched FundRace 2008, an updated and expanded version of a site built by Eyebeam's Mike Frumin in 2004. The core of the site is a searchable database of contributions to the presidential candidates, which allows you to see who your neighbors are giving to (data that is also available from the Center for Responsive Politics OpenSecrets.org, just not in as geographically precise a form, due to privacy concerns). FundRace also aggregates top-line data from techPresident, showing each candidate's current number of friends on MySpace and Facebook and their video views on YouTube.

* It's a bit late in coming, but the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that California violated the First Amendment in 2000 when it shut down web sites like VoteSwap2000.com that sought to broker vote trading between supporters of Al Gore and Ralph Nader. It's far too soon to say how this ruling may affect the 2008 race, but one can imagine any number of scenarios involving supporters of third-party candidates of the right (Tancredo?), the left (Nader, again??), and the middle (Mike Bloomberg???) seeking to trade their votes online. Apparently, as long as money doesn't trade hands, it's legal to swap votes.

* Jose Antonio Vargas's story on the maleness and whiteness of the progressive blogosphere continues to make waves. Jane Hamsher of FireDogLake has a long rebuttal, noting the prominent role of women like Arianna Huffington and Digby, as well as the ethnic backgrounds of Markos Moulitsas (Hispanic), Pachacutec (one of FDL's bloggers, who is a Hispanic gay man), and John Aravosis (a gay white man). Digby has a sharp rejoinder here, too. It's possible that YearlyKos actually showcased more white men than might be expected from the progressive blogosphere because so many men from various interest groups and policy shops filled the panels; one estimate by Pachacutec is that just 28% of the panelists were bloggers. See also techPresident's Morra Aarons post on the topic.

The Candidates on the Web

* "I'm With Fred.com" Version 2.0 is up, and the 2.0 is justified. Not only is the redesigned site a hub for news of Fred Thompson's potential presidential bid and his positions on the issues, the site offers new tools for organizing events in local communities, for creating and exporting contribution and communications widgets to other sites, for registering to vote, and for allowing members to track through their profile pages how well they are doing in recruiting supporters. It's nicely done--a tribute no doubt to Michael Turk, who techPresident readers know has been agitating for this kind of GOP site for quite some time. One interesting wrinkle--you can't view comments on the site's blog without first becoming a "Friend of Fred."

* Ed Cone has a long and meaty piece on CIO Insight that explores the biggest question surrounding technology and the campaigns: how well is anyone integrating all these 2.0 bells and whistles with their core strategies and practices? Michael Turk gets in a jab at some rivals for lousy email tactics: ""On Friday night, I got e-mails from McCain, Giuliani and Romney within 20 minutes of each other. There wasn't 2 cents of difference among them, and they were sent at a time when nobody would read them." And Elizabeth Edwards makes a very frank statement about why her husband's campaign is invested so much in online efforts: "In some ways, it's the way we have to go," Edwards says. "We can't make John black, we can't make him a woman. Those things get you a lot of press, worth a certain amount of fundraising dollars. Now it's nice to get on the news, but not the be all and end all." Lots of techPresident contributors are in the piece, including Zack Exley, Fred Stutzman, and Patrick Ruffini. Kudos to Cone for one of the best survey pieces anyone has done so far this year.

* We're late noting this (blame YearlyKos again), but don't miss Mitt Romney's extended disquisition on his Mormonism, his personal beliefs (the Messiah is apparently coming back both to Jerusalem AND to Missouri), and how he plans to keep his personal beliefs from influencing his public, secular role in politics. Gutsy of the Romney campaign to take a video that was apparently shot without the candidate's knowledge by a talk radio host while they were off-air, and promote it online. The good stuff starts about halfway through the 20-minute segment. Hat tip to Jonathan Martin of the Politico.

In Case You Missed It

* Morra Aarons delves into what it means to be "Blogging While Female," digging into the rise of the women political bloggers and offering some great pointers on how to engage them.

* Micah L. Sifry gives you the full text of Howard Dean's speech to YearlyKos, including his prediction that "that because of the net, and because of the extraordinary binding of the world together, that Iran and China one day will have to decide that they have to become democracies, simply because they are forced to by the extraordinary devolution of power to their citizens because of the internet."

* Colin Delany reports the scoop on Caroline Giuliani.