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Daily Digest: 9/26/07

BY Joshua Levy | Wednesday, September 26 2007

The Web on the Candidates

  • Now that the New York Times’ has removed the paid firewall removed from its editorial section, we in the blogosphere can actually link to their articles! A recent column from David Brooks is sure to be one of the first to make the rounds. Brooks’ asserts that the netroots are failing to have any measurable influence on the Democratic candidates and are becoming marginalized. The evidence? Despite the popularity of John Edwards and Barack Obama on sites like Daily Kos, Hillary Clinton’s holds a commanding lead in national polls. It’s all about the center, Brooks says, and the netroots’ leftward pull is on the wane. “Both liberals and Republicans have an interest in exaggerating the netroots’ influence, but in reality that influence is surprisingly marginal, even among candidates for whom you’d think it would be strong.” In any case, Brooks’ anecdote about John Edwards not remembering YearlyKos is surprising; Ben Smith couldn’t get the campaign to comment but has a feeling Edwards remembers finding his voice as he spoke out against Washington lobbyists.

  • In a strange turn of events, the Politico’s Richard T. Cullen reports that while the pro-Barack Obama Facebook group “A Million Strong for Barack” has seen slowed growth, an anti-Hillary Clinton group, “One Million Strong AGAINST Hillary,” has surpassed it in the number of supporters, becoming “the largest group for or against a presidential candidate on Facebook.” It may be more than just Hillary-hate that inspire folks to join; moderates in both parties are struggling to find a candidate to get behind.

  • John Edwards has confirmed that he’ll be visiting the small town of Columbus, KY, on October 4th. The town won a contest organized by the Edwards campaign and Eventful, and according to a post by Shawn Dixon, who organized the town and the surrounding area to “demand” Edwards, it may be the first time a presidential candidate has bothered to show up in the area.

  • Videoblogger and, according to the Economist, “probably the world’s foremost expert on YouTube videos posted by presidential candidates” James Kotecki, who just announced he’s joined the Politico, writes a diary of sorts about his journey from dorm-room YouTuber to, er, dorm-room YouTuber with an audience. “It’s not like I originally got a very large response from the YouTube community for [his videos],” Kotecki writes at the Washingtonian. “I built my audience slowly until I got featured on the homepage. Then it took off. I thought this is something that no one else is talking about. It’s a niche for me to fill. I had something to say, people were interested in hearing it, so I kept saying it.”

The Candidates on the Web

  • Ron Paul has raised $300,000 in the last 36 hours in an end-of-quarter fundraising sprint, and he hopes to hit the $500,000 mark. While this might not seem like a lot to top tier candidates, Paul has only a fraction of their supporters and, presumably, no heavy-hitting donors. With four days to go until the end of the quarter, it’s a good bet he’ll make his mark.

  • Last week’s Hitwise stats are out, and they’re a bit surprising. For the prior two weeks, Fred Thompson had dominated the market share for the Republicans and the entire field. Last week things changed significantly; Barack Obama had the majority of website visits, with over 17% and Hillary Clinton trailed at almost 16% (they also lead among Democrats, with over 32% and 29%, respectively). Thompson dropped to #4, with just over 12% of the overall market share. Among the Republicans, Ron Paul received almost 30% of visits to candidate sites, and Thompson was in second with just over 26%. Obviously, Thompson’s online energy has dissipated somewhat since he announced he was running, though he’s still hanging in there when compared to Ron Paul, who has the most active group of online supporters.

In Case You Missed It…

James Kotecki was hired as the Politico’s new video blogger; congrats James! We’re hoping he’ll continue with his candidates-on-a-stick routine…

Mike Turk looks at what the campaigns are doing to raise last-minute dollars before the end of the fundraising quarter, but he’s (facetiously) disappointed that mini-Mitt, “the annoying and intrusive pitchman for the Romney campaign’s June finance crush,” hasn’t reappeared.

In his detailed review of Matt Bai’s The Argument, Micah Sifry takes on the role of money in politics and in reinventing the Democratic Party. Required reading.

Patrick Ruffini’s post, “Why No Republican Mashup Debate?” has continued to inspire a heated discussion about the Democrats and Fox News and whether to engage in a debate with your ideological opponent.