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Daily Digest: Commence Shoe Leather Phase?

BY Nancy Scola | Friday, September 12 2008

The Web on the Candidates

  • Getting from Facebook Friends to Votes: Is Barack Obama's newly-launched Neighbor-to-Neighbor tool revolutionary or nothing special? That's the question on my mind this Friday, and in a new piece on tech and elections, Financial Times' Kevin Allison and Richard Waters seem to lean towards the former: "[I]t has taken the unprecedented step of granting supporters who have registered on Mybarackobama controlled access to the Democrats’ own central voter file." (Via TechRepublican's Jordan Tuch) Here's what some on the online left have to say about N2N. Liberal blogger Oliver Willis: "A weapon in the arsenal…" Blogger "cutter" on BlueNC: "Canvassing is one of the most important methods we have to motivate and turn out voters. This tool is going to be a great help." So, what say you? Is Neighbor-to-Neighbor a game changer that will translate online buzz into votes? Or is it little more than lipstick on a pig the gussying up of age-old tactics? Let us know in the comments -- especially if you've got field experience under your belt. #

  • Vet's Anti-Obama "Mistake" Video Catches Fire: "Dear Mr. Obama: Having spent 12 months in the Iraq theater I can promise you, this was not a mistake." Thus begins an ad by Army Specialist Joe Cook that has racked up an amazing five million YouTube views. In it, Cook criticizes Barack Obama for his rhetoric on the Iraq War. The clip wraps with a somewhat surprising ending we're not going to spoil for you. Our Micah Sifry has dug into whether it's a professionally produced bit of content or a more homebrewed effort. The video seems to be spreading organically, often through an email that simply says "Hi, My son Joe just did a commercial for John McCain. Please pass this on." Its virility, though, was no doubt given a boost by Rush Limbaugh, who says he stumbled across the ad on YouTube. Be sure to click through to Micah's post for more on where the ad came from -- and where it might be going. #

  • As Does "Women Against Sarah Palin" Email: What a simple 400-word email can reap... Just after Sarah Palin was named to the Republican ticket, two New York women clicked "send" on a note (pdf) stating their extreme displeasure with the nomination: "We believe that this terrible decision has surpassed mere partisanship, and that it is a dangerous farce." The email, which asked women to reply back with their own thoughts on Palin, went out to a list of just a few dozen friends. But, they say, more than 100,000 responses have poured in, at a rate they described to ABC News as three per second. Email might not have the sex appeal of, say, Twitter. But it still, in 2008, has considerable power. (Thanks Jon Pincus) #

  • You, Too, Can Be Bob Shrum: Open Left's Chris Bowers, a.k.a. the Google provocateur is at it again. He's dropping ten dollars a day from now until November 4th on up Google Ad Words for searches related to the Republican ticket. Chris is linking his ads to unflattering materials from and Think Progress. It's a DIY media campaign that anyone with a little spare change can wage. Chris: "Instead of feeling disempowered by narratives I can't do much to change and messaging that doesn't speak for me, now I have my own anti-McCain ads." Little known fact: online ads can be exceeding inexpensive -- especially when you're snatching up keywords related to local candidates and issues. #

The Candidates on the Web

  • "Still": A new web-only ad from the Obama campaign zooms us back to 1982, the year John McCain was first elected to Congress. Set against a backdrop of Zack Morris phones and record players, the clip digs at McCain on a point familiar to us: his admission that he doesn't know how his way around a computer. The way the candidate's tech "illiteracy" is mocked can be read as a dig at McCain's age. But the ad rather adroitly handles that grenade by framing McCain as less endearingly aged and more unnecessarily dated -- a Commodore 64 in a time of MacBooks and ThinkPads. #

In Case You Missed It...

epolitics' Colin Delany outlines five simple but powerful rules of thumb for using the Internet for political advocacy. They're principles, says Colin, "that'll stay relevant as technology evolves."