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Daily Digest: Opening Up the White House, Airing Out the Cabinet

BY Nancy Scola | Tuesday, October 28 2008

The Web on the Candidates

  • Crowdsourcing the First Hundred Days: "At this point," writes Colin Delany on techPresident, "the Internet is pretty much done." Our work here is finished! Actually, Colin's talking about the idea that new media campaign staffers' heavy lifting is behind them. But let's play dumb and indeed jump ahead a week to start thinking transition. WhiteHouse2 is basically Digg for the new president's agenda. Run by left-leaning programmer and activist Jim Gilliam the site lets any U.S. citizen rank what priorities should concern the Oval Office most. The top three today: Iraq War, green jobs and innovation, and single-payer healthcare. Then there's OpenCabinet, a wiki that aims to help flesh out the administration. Crafting a president's cabinet when you don't know who that president's gonna be is a bit tough, so keep an eye out for activity to pick up on the site in the coming weeks. That's when at least half of Washington will be dusting off their resumes. #

  • To Everything There is a Season: Will the Huffington Post and its ilk be old news by next Wednesday? That's the question being asked by Advertising Age's Nat Ives. There's evidence indicating that the answer leans "yep." Traffic from purely political sites including Daily Kos and Real Clear Politics, for example, cratered after the 2004 race. And the HuffPo, the scourge of the right, might have a tough time if a fully Democratic DC should come to pass. But count on Arianna Huffington to have a plan up her sleeve. She says HuffPo's mission of "ferreting out the truth" won't change no matter who's in power. And unlike electoral blogs, HuffPo can easily diversify. It's already expanded beyond elections to cover everything from entertainment to the environment. #

  • The Election Blogged Around the World: Washington Post's Jose Antonio Vargas has a look at how the Internet keeps a blogger in the Philippines nearly as engaged in the U.S. presidential race as a blogger in Philadelphia. But this isn't about a soccer fan in Manchester, New Hampshire watching the webcasts of a match in Manchester, England, of course; the American presidency has real impact around the world. Jose notes that most internationals blogging the election lean Obama's way, but be sure to check out the Gallup and Foreign Policy Magazine polls Jose mentions. They're a fascinating look at the different ways the two candidates are seen from various points on the globe. #

The Candidates on the Web

  • Texting the Vote is Obama's Secret Weapon: Forget robocalls, says Salon's Farhad Manjoo. Their efficacy is more rooted in myth than fact. Text messaging is where it's at, argues Farhad, and it's also where Obama and his robust mobile campaign has a huge lead over McCain and his non-existent one. SMS messages are cheap, don't feed nasty press stories, and above all, actually work -- a recent study from CREDO Mobile and the Student PIRGS found that election day texting boosted turnout by more than four percent. At about a buck fifty per added voter, that's some nice bang for the campaign dollar. But Farhad raises a great question. Today, political texting is novel, and a lovely balance of personal but non-invasive. But will the usefulness of campaign texts might shift a bit if every other time your phone buzzes it's a candidate asking for your money or your vote? (Thanks Shaun Dakin) #

  • Eye on the Vote: Just this very morning, the Obama campaign launched a new satellite into what seems like its ever expanding universe of websites. The Obama Vote Protection Center offers up everything from guidance on whether you can wear campaign gear to the polls to a rather convoluted explanation of straight-ticket voting. For it's part, the McCain camp has been signing up poll watchers on its website. In other election protection news, the robust Voter Suppression Wiki that we've profiled in the past will host a last-minute strategy roundtable tomorrow morning at 11 eastern time. And our Twitter Vote Report Project got two noteworthy press mentions yesterday. The first was by the New York Times' Kate Phillips in a post called "Tweet Your Voting Moment." And the second was, well, interesting. Twitter Vote Report was covered in a Computerworld story by Heather Havenstein on the Army's concerns that terrorist groups might be taking to the microblogging service. But no worries -- a clarification later ran on the New York Times website that made clear that, you know, TVR actually has little to nothing to do with fear-based global violence. Glad we got that cleared up! #

TechCongress and Beyond

  • Netroots Nation Now Under New Management: Back in the days when it was known as YearlyKos, it wasn't entirely certain that that first annual gathering of netroots activists and bloggers in Las Vegas would actually come off. But eventually the panels did take place, the politicians did show, and the chocolate fountains did flow. And a few short years later, the once scrappy organization now known as Netroots Nation seems to be chugging along. Its board of directors recently held an auction that pulled in $25,000. And now it has a new executive director in Raven Brooks, formerly of BuyBlue.org. The next Netroots Nation is scheduled for Pittsburgh this summer. It's going to be interesting to watch, though, how the progressive organization born in opposition to the Bush Administration navigates the post-November 4th political landscape. #