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Daily Digest: Split-Screening Obama Speech and Palin VP Pick

BY Micah L. Sifry | Friday, August 29 2008

The Web on the Candidates

* There was a ton of live blogging, twittering and videoblogging last night, and we're not going to attempt to summarize it all here. Personally, I found glancing at Twitscoop, which shows the hottest terms on Twitter at any given moment, to be a wonderful way to take the pulse of the watch-erati as we all waited for Obama's acceptance speech. There were lots of obvious winners, like Crow (for Sheryl Crow) and Legend (for John Legend), but who knew that displaced manufacturing worker, average guy speaker and lifelong Republican Barney Smith would be such a hit? Obviously his line "We need a president who puts Barney Smith before Smith Barney," hit the populist chord of fame best of all.

* Speaking of covering DNC08 live, Keith McSpurren of CoverItLive, the live blogging tool that we're big fans of, shared these details with us:
"Who live blogs the Democrats? Basically, people who really don’t like Democrats. Over the past 4 days of the DNC, CiL has had a little more than 250 live blogs covering the activities in Denver. From Q&A sessions during the day, to small chats and of course, live blogging the speeches. Reasonable mix of regional television stations, newspapers big and small and of course, bloggers. Traffic was pretty level across the three nights at around 75k unique readers (total/day focused on DNC things). Granted, lots of people still do not know about CiL and we are by no means putting ourselves up as some accurate sample size of online journalism. Let’s just say, those are pretty good numbers for our service at this time and the number of new signups (people that will use the CiL service as writers) has had a big upswing as so many bloggers were sitting around each other saying "what’s that you are using”....but i digress. Last night, during the Obama speech, by far, the 3 largest live blogs in terms of audience size/reader comments and duration (how long their readers stayed online) were Redstate, Ace 'o Spades and Blogs for John McCain. There could be any number of reasons for this and I think we need to be about 50% bigger before i could say we have a representative sample (likely by election night in November we’ll be there). To be clear, there were many live blogs that i would describe as ‘supportive’ of Obama but they did not match up in terms of sheer audience size.

* Looks like the Republican bloggers who were buzzing early today about this Gulfstream (owned by McCain backer Lacy Clay) flight from Alaska that landed in Dayton Thursday night were on target, as multiple news sources confirm that Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin will be John McCain's VP pick.

* The Palin choice should make Adam Brickley happy: He's been plugging away on his blog Draft Sarah Palin for Vice President has been plugging away since February 2007, which is impressive as she only entered office as Alaska's Governor a month earlier! Right now, Brickley is looking like the Jerome Armstrong (remember his early call for Howard Dean, in 2002?) of 2008.

* It should also make the blogger behind PalinInvestigated happy: "Syrin" describes herself as a "Republican women" [sic] "committed to strengthening our Republican Party [and] empowering conservative women." Liberal investigative bloggers like Josh Marshall are already salivating at the prospect of digging yet further into Alaska's political cesspools, which he notes include a scandal around the firing of the state's Public Safety Commissioner, her former brother-in-law, who is in a bitter custody battle with Palin's sister.

* Want to know which candidates will raise your taxes? One solution: go to ObamaTaxcut.com and plug in your filing status, your number of dependents, and an estimate of your adjusted gross income. Using data from the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center and the Washington Post, the site has a frankly partisan aim: to show users that Obama would cut their taxes more than McCain. It was made by Zach Hensel, a graduate student who tells us that he "decided to make the site after seeing pretty much every McCain ad repeat the claim that Obama wants to raise taxes on everyone making more than $42,000." The site initially got a big boost in traffic from Digg, he says, but then got buried by Digg users saying it was "inaccurate." Says Hensel, "It seems that success on Digg generated some traffic that'll keep up for a while, though; most of the hits coming in now don't have referrers, so it's probably being passed around by e-mail."

The Candidates on the Web

* After hinting all day yesterday that he would announce his VP choice that evening and in effect step on Obama's speech, the McCain campaign instead took the high road and released a short TV ad on the web called "Convention Night," congratulating Obama on receiving the Democratic nomination. It was a classy move. "Tomorrow we'll be back at it," McCain added, and indeed, even before the day was done his campaign released a tough statement attacking Obama's speech.

* I don't know if it was the Palin choice, but in the rush to get the news up on the McCain website, visitors were treated to a broken home-page:

* While I knocked the Obama campaign yesterday for failing to insert the campaign's website url more frontally into the first three days of the Democratic convention, last night not only was "BarackObama.com" prominently featured on big screens at Invesco Field, the campaign also unveiled a state-of-the-art text-messaging push. Attendees in the 80,000+ person crowd were asked to text "DNC" to 62262, the Obama campaign short code, along with TV viewers, and you could see the results on a live interactive map above the field. My colleague Andrew Rasiej was on NPR's All Things Considered yesterday to talk about the value of text-messaging to the campaign.