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Daily Digest: Cindy McCain's Farfalle Scandal

BY Joshua Levy | Wednesday, April 16 2008

The Web on the Candidates

  • I admit it, I love finding recipes on candidates’ sites. Last summer I was quick to grab John Edwards’ mothers’ pecan pie recipe, and it was delicious and authentic. So when John McCain’s wife announced “Cindy’s Recipes,” my nostrils perked up. Ahi Tuna! Farfalle pasta! But I require authentic presidential cuisine, and it turns out “Cindy” stole those recipes straight from the Food Network. Repeat after me: if you steal something from the web, people will notice.

  • Yet more Bittergate news: Off The Bus co-founder Jay Rosen writes in support of Mayhill Fowler, the Off The Bus citizen journalist who broke Barack Obama’s comments about “bitter” small-town Americans. Rosen, a fantastic critic of the mainstream news media, has a beef with Tim Russert, noting that when he highlighted Obama’s comments on Meet the Press, he failed to attribute the story to the Huffington Post or Off The Bus. From there follows a parade of critiques of various members of the MSM for their treatment of, or total ignorance about, Fowler, the Huffington Post, and the entire enterprise of citizen journalism. In the words of Micah Sifry, “Voter generated content is the wild card of 2008.”

  • Activist/coder Aaron Swartz has announced his new gig, a very cool project called that pulls political data together and lets people search by location, giving them a chance to write or call local politicians or publications. This will be paired with a “collaborative database of political causes” (more on that later, apparently). Swartz is guided by a open-source philosophy and is live-developing the site, so expect things to look a little simple now as he and his team continue to work. A fascinating project. ( is funded by the Sunlight Network, the sister organization of the Sunlight Foundation, for which techPresident’s Micah Sifry and Andrew Rasiej are advisers.)

  • Anti-John McCain YouTube user DoubleTalk express posted a retro-style video pairing up John McCain’s comments about the economy with the same from George Bush. It score points for using a neat TV/old school metaphor to reinforce Democratic talking points.

The Candidates on the Web

  • Another retro-video, this one from the Obama campaign, hits John McCain and Hillary Clinton for their ties to lobbyists. Don’t let the Sunday-brunch vibraphone fool you, this one is serious.

  • “Leave __ Alone” has become one of the most dominant, and consistently funny, YouTube memes of the year. One of my faves is Lewis Black’s Leave Mike Huckabee Alone bit. Now comes — get this — the Ralph Nader campaign with its own version, begging us to leave Ralph alone. The woman in the video is no Lewis Black, but she has some good dingers about health care. Check out the dying-cow wail at the very end.

In Case You Missed It…

In the world of small business entrepreneurship, especially among technology startups in Silicon Valley, a standard process has evolved dictating how to raise money to start a company. Luigi Montanez writes that the Obama campaign’s fundraising approach in many ways mirrors this angel funding strategy, with a few essential differences.

Micah Sifry will be in London later today, where he’ll be speaking along with techPresident blogger Michael Turk at “Politics Web 2.0,” a two-day international conference hosted by the University of London, Royal Halloway. The conference features 120 papers organized into 41 panels, with more than 180 participants drawn from over 30 countries, and is probably a bit more academic than most of the events I tend to go to these days. His talk is titled, “The Revolution Will Be Networked: How Open Source Politics is Emerging in America.” What do you think he should cover?

Politically, 2008’s “Bittergate” will be but a bump in the road compared to 2006’s “Macaca Moment,” writes Dan Manatt. But Bittergate DOES serve as a key reminder of the Macaca Moment’s core communications lesson for 21st century campaigns: Candidates should know they are being recorded 24/7.