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Daily Digest: Obama Clarifies What He Meant By "Public"

BY Nancy Scola | Thursday, June 19 2008

The Web on the Candidates

  • The John McCain campaign has unleashed its first
    ever Facebook application: a
    video tour of the "Straight Talk Express,"
    the McCain
    campaign's 45-foot 550-horsepower bus. (See, it's an educational video.)
    Guided by photogenic advance chief Davis White, it's
    no Barney Cam romp through the White House. Is this the sort of thing
    Facebookers have been waiting for from the all-but-certain Republican
    nominee?

  • TechPresident's Colin Delany has released an updated
    version of his free 52-page
    guide to online politics
    , focused on the tools and tactics of web-based
    advocacy work. Well worth a download.

  • Google has launched a fun Elections
    '08 Map Gallery
    that features maps showing the life trails of
    both the Democratic and Republican candidates, overlays of donor data,
    and more. The collection is, however, shall we say, anemic, and we
    look forward to even more mashups of political data and maps. Lucky
    for us, there's an API.
    Get to work.

The Candidates on the Web

  • Given his past support for the public financing of elections, Barack
    Obama
    had to know that when he opted out of the system for
    the general election it would raise some eyebrows and more than a
    few questions. He announced his decision this morning not by calling
    a press conference and opening himself up to inquiry, but by taking
    his arguments right to supporters via a video posted on YouTube

    and emailed to his mailing list. Despite his professorial mien, Obama
    didn't mince words. He called the public-financing system "broken"
    and John McCain and his allies "masters of gaming" it. Micah
    Sifry
    has more
    on Obama's announcement
    . One reason that Obama might feel pretty
    good about depending on donors heading into November is...

  • His email list is, officially, technically, ginormous. Obama has
    contact with somewhere between four and eight million supporters,
    more than 1.5 million have kicked in some amount to the campaign.
    Politco's Daniel Libit has a first look
    at what
    a list of that unprecedented size might mean
    for a President
    Obama. Could it free him from fundraising burdens a president normally
    carries? If gelled into local networks, could those contacts give
    him leverage in the districts of uncooperative congressfolk? Check
    out the take of Steve Westly, former eBay exec and
    Obama's California co-chair, who ties the potential of a list that
    size to this question: "Are you willing to let go of some control?"

TechCongress and Beyond

  • Capitol Words is a fun
    new project out the Sunlight Foundation that uses text frequency analysis
    to distill the Congressional Record down to a single word
    for each day Congress is in session. The LA Times has a good
    write-up
    . For September 12, 2001 that word was "nation."
    March 21, 2003 -- the day after the U.S. entered into war in Iraq
    -- it was "amount." But the question is, amount
    of what? Troops? Potatoes? Hours until recess? It'd be great to eventually
    track "word
    bursts,"
    to borrow a phrase from computer scientist Jon
    Kleinberg's
    tracking of the popularity of phrases in State
    of the Union addresses, to give us insight into the changes in Congress's
    zeitgeist over time. Again, there's
    an API
    . So again, get to work.

In Case You Missed It…

Italian media consultant Antonella Napolitano fills
us in on lessons
learned from 10domande
, an experiment in Italian politics modeled
after our own 10questions.

Clay Shirky is mixing
it up over on TPMCafe's Book Club
, discussing his new book "Here
Comes Everybody." Clay will be a keynoter at the upcoming
PdF '08
. Three days and counting!