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Daily Digest: Google Announces Political Checkout

BY Joshua Levy | Thursday, January 17 2008

The Web on the Candidates

  • Ian Faerstein at the National Journal’s Blogometer rounds up conservative bloggers’ reactions to Mitt Romney’s win in Michigan. Most agree that, with three separate winners of three separate states, chaos has descended on the GOP. “Folks, if you know who’s going to win this nomination you are dreamin’. Three states. Three separate winners,” writes CBN’s David Brody. There is no frontrunner, the race is totally up for grabs, and a brokered convention is increasingly likely. No, we’re not referring to the Democrats.

  • Wired’s Sarah Lai Stirland also has a superb writeup of the conservative blogosphere’s strategic thinking about Romney’s win. Power Line’s John Hinderakener thinks Romney should have been “truer to himself and more credible to voters” had he held back on the social conservative stuff and emphasized his economic and defense strengths. Wired’s John Heilemann thinks Romney just pandered to Michigan voters. Pander? Romney? I’ve never seen those words appear in the same sentence. Ever.

  • A group of Ron Paul supporters who had raised money to fund a GOP vote recount in New Hampshire suddenly had their PayPal account suspended, writes TechCrunch’s Duncan Riley. In his latest “tin foil hat alert,” Riley says a group call the Granny Warriors “had fund raised the $55,600 required to be lodged with the New Hampshire Secretary of State yesterday but had their account suspended by Paypal at the last minute.” No word on why the account was suspended. It does seem fishy.

  • Riley also picks up on a brewing controversy involving Paul and Digg. He noticed that Paul stories that received just one bury for spam completely disappeared from the “upcoming” sidebar on the site. Either the rumors that Digg has superusers — Diggers who have the ability to remove articles with one fell click — is true, or Digg really does hate Ron Paul. Yet another vote for “fishy.”

  • Yesterday Ars Technica, a tech site not known for swimming in political waters, stepped into the kiddie pool. In the face of alleged discrepancies between hand- and machine-counted votes, Jon Stokes has been poring through online data and discussion boards to find out what, definitively, happened in New Hampshire. After some number-crunching he concludes that, “when you control for town size and a few other factors, vote-counting method (Diebold or hand) still correlates with the outcome (Clinton or Obama) to a non-trivial degree.” Yeah, but that still won’t get the Granny Warriors their PayPal account back.

  • Google has announced a their new Google Checkout for Political Contributions. Google charges low transaction fees and lets candidates easily process campaign contributions through embeddable buttons, making it easy for bloggers to fundraise on their site. Could Google do to sites like ActBlue and Slatecard what it does to all its competition, namely, squash them? At this point, it looks like while Google collects FEC data, it doesn't do the filing itself, which is one of ActBlue and Slatecard's main selling points. We’ll have to see if candidates end up using it.

The Candidates on the Web

  • A few weeks ago Elizabeth Edwards told us about John Edwards’ new ad contest in which supporters are encouraged to submit 30-second campaign ads, the best of which will be aired on TV. After a brief glance, it’s safe to say that Edwards supporters are a talented bunch. Many of the submissions — even if they’re a little lo-fi — are ready for prime-time (we especially like one from friend-of-techPres Adam Klugman). Mitt Romney had a similar contest last summer, but provided users with pre-packaged video clips to use. The end result was a parade of stale and cliched ads; this time, with no help from the campaign, Edwards supporters have created a bunch of unique and heartfelt ads.

In Case You Missed It…

Jonathan Alter has a fun scoop in Newsweek: a rare interview with Ross Perot, America's most reclusive political figure. Three things jumped out at Micah Sifry in the interview, which was mainly about Perot's dislike of John McCain...

Barack Obama sent out an email yesterday making a bold claim: his campaign has raised money from 100,000 online donors since the beginning of the year. That’s darn impressive, and it looks like he has displaced Ron Paul to become the online fundraising juggernaut of the campaign.