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Weekly Report

Joe Biden’s Replacement Named for DE Senate Seat

Biden’s replacement is Ted Kaufman, a long-time staffer and part of Biden’s transition team. Outgoing Governor Ruth Ann Minner named Kaufman to the seat in a press conference, and Kaufman has already announced his intention to only serve two years and give up the seat, presumably to Joe Biden’s son, Beau, who is currently serving a tour in Iraq.

Peter Orszag Signs Off on Blog

Peter Orszag, then-Director of the Congressional Budget Office, was named by president-elect Barack Obama to lead the Office of Management and Budget. Orszag was praised on both sides of the aisle for his work while at CBO. As part of his departure, he signed off on the CBO blog.

Terrorists Launch Attacks in Mumbai, India

Gunmen armed with automatic rifles, grenades and explosives launched a massive terrorist attack in Mumbai, India, killing 183 and wounding roughly 300. The gunmen had attacked nine “soft target” locations in Mumbai, including a train station, a Jewish center and two luxury hotels. The gunmen reportedly sought out westerners, asking hostages for their passports.

The Indian government succeeded in capturing at least one of the gunmen and have learned that they were Pakistani and had used Google Maps of Mumbai streets to find their targets.

President Bush is sending Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to India to help ease the rising tensions between India and Pakistan as part of the fallout from the attacks. India is threatening to sever diplomatic ties with Pakistan.

YouTube became a forefront in coverage of the attacks, with news organizations posting stories to the website. Bloggers in India provided accounts of the events as they transpired, sometimes with erroneous information.   According to Al-Jazeera, bloggers are voicing their ire at the Indian government over the attacks.

Sarah Palin in Georgia? You Betcha’

Saxby Chambliss has enlisted the help of the GOP national base, and they have responded in droves, sending Zell Miller, Mitt Romney and Republican presidential candidate John McCain to stump in Chambliss’ runoff race against Democrat Jim Martin. Martin has enlisted the help of volunteers from Barack Obama’s presidential campaign, and Obama has cut a radio ad for Martin.

However, Sarah Palin stumped for Chambliss across the state on Monday. It is her first campaign event since the election.

Voters head to the polls on Tuesday, and Chambliss is currently predicted to win.

Wanna Work for Obama? You and 290,000 People.

The Los Angeles Times reported that Barack Obama’s transition team has received 290,000 applications for jobs in the administration. By contrast, the Bush administration had received 44,000 applications at this point.

It should also be noted that the Obama transition team believes that the 290,000 number will reach a million by the time Barack Obama is inaugurated.

Chris Matthews to Run for Pennsylvania Senate Seat?

According to FiveThirtyEight, maybe. Sean Quinn of the website reported a high-level source saying that Matthews was going to enter the race, but the website has now stepped back, simply saying that Matthews is staffing up for a potential senate run. Matthews has issued a denial of the story. Current Pennsylvania Senator Arlen Specter is treating Matthews’ entry as somewhat inevitable, saying that he will be ready, whether his opponent is Matthews or not.

Barack Obama Names National Security Team

In a move that was rumored for weeks, Barack Obama has named Hillary Clinton to be his Secretary of State as part of his national security team. Obama also announced that he will keep on Robert Gates as Defense Secretary while retired General James Jones will become the new National Security Adviser. Three other members of the team, Eric Holder as Attorney General, Susan Rice as U.N. Ambassador and Janet Napolitano for Homeland Security, were also predicted moves.

Two Versions of the Same Story:

Al-Jazeera English

… and a link to NBC Nightly News’ Story

It should be noted that Obama hasn’t commented on the FBI and CIA positions, though presumed-front runner for the CIA director position, John Brennan, withdrew his name from consideration following outcry on the blogosphere over his involvement in torture advocacy during his tenure at the CIA during the Bush administration.

An Open White House

Tech President is showing examples of how the Barack Obama administration will open up dialogue and access to the White House in a series of posts. Dan Froomkin advocates for a “wiki White House” and Nancy Scola shows how Obama’s first attempt to do so isn’t quite what they were hoping for.

A Tale of Another Recount

Amidst all the hubbub over the Minnesota recount process, another one is about to take place in Virginia. Incumbent Rep. Virgil Goode lost his race to Tom Perriello by 745 votes out of 315,000 cast. The result is particularly surprising because Goode was perceived to be a lock in his race before the election. Perriello appears to have riden the coattails of Barack Obama in Virginia’s 5th District.

A Democrat winning in the 5th wouldn’t be a shock though. The last Republican to hold the 5th seat before Goode was John R. Brown, who lost his election in 1889. Goode was elected as a Democrat in 1997, switched his affiliation to Independent in 2001, and became a Republican in 2003.

It should be noted that Perriello used YouTube against his opponent, showing Goode’s use of a Hummer H3 in a Scottsdale, VA parade while Perriello rode with a Bio-Diesel tractor.

Wanna Be Chairman of the RNC?

The race for chairman of the Republican National Committee is heating up. Former Maryland Lieutenant Governor Michael Steele is one of the perceived front-runners while South Carolina GOP Chair Katon Dawson sent out a DVD of his biography and accomplishments.

The Fix’s Chris Cillizza discusses some of the candidates, but doesn’t elaborate on Jim Greer of the Florida GOP. The blog Politics1 revealed some suspect expenditures by the Republican Party of Florida, among them when Greer used GOP credit cards to pay for a $2,000 per night suite at a Florida hotel for Gov. Charlie Crist’s birthday.


Weekly Report

1. Newsweek reports that Obama has chosen Eric Holden to be the Attorney General. The D.C.-based lawyer would be the first African American Attorney General. Marc Ambinder chimes in on the persistent rumors that Hillary Clinton will be tapped as Secretary of State. They would join new Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel and other new appointees (Orzag, Philips, Jarrett) to the Obama transition team.

2. On Sunday, President-elect Obama resigned from the Senate. On Monday, he met with McCain (who Roll Call claims will run for Senate in 2010) to discuss bipartisanship. Beau Biden, Joe’s son and Delaware’s Attorney General, won’t accept his father’s Senate seat.

3. As president, Obama won’t be able to use his Blackberry because of security risks; this is a step back for the first digital, tech-savvy president.

4. Job applications from change.gov, Obama’s transition site, reinforce the “No Drama Obama” message, demanding the applicants disclose any embarassing emails or diaries.  ChoicePoint, a micro targeting/datamining company, will be doing the background checks for new employees.

5. Today, Senate Democrats chided Joe Lieberman before allowing him to keep his position as the chair of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs committee (despite his speech at the Republican National Convention).

6. A good week for Sarah Palin: Times Online reports she could get as much as $7 million for a book deal, and the McCain source who tipped Fox News that Palin thought that Africa is a country and not a continent was a fake.

7. Obama discusses the economy in the nation’s first radio address on YouTube.  He will use YouTube for these weekly addresses, another presidential first.  Not everyone agrees about the significance of this.  (In my opinion, it’s not nearly as cool as the Barack Roll.)

8.  In other news: A Dartmouth student beat out the incumbent county treasurer with an investment of $51 worth of Facebook ads.  eBay will not auction free tickets, at the request of Congress. Perhaps most critically, the Obamas join Bill Cosby as the only other people allowed free food at Ben’s Chili Bowl.

9.  At home: GM, Ford and Chrysler ask Congress for a bailout for the auto industry.  Congress is still hesitant.

10.  Abroad: Somali pirates capture a Saudi supertanker with $100 million of oil, then park it offshore of fishing villages.

Hillary as Sec. of State?

So, I know that the marathon that was Campaign 2008 has left some worn out and sick of political coverage. But, I am really curious to know what you all think of all the chatter about Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State. In lieu of class this week, can we get a discussion going on here??

Here are a few articles on the subject:




White House 2.0

For next week’s non-class, I’d like you to read some articles about “Government 2.0” and “White House 2.0” and then blog about what you’d like to see the Obama White House take on come January in terms of social engagement and social media. Draw upon everything you’ve learned so far in class and think about what the Obama campaign was most successful doing web-wise this year already.

Here‘s some reading to get you started. Make sure to read this transparency report (PDF) as well as this article and watch this video with my friend David Almacy, who was the White House e-communications director, and this lengthy interview.

We’re in a new world. How should the White House reflect that?

For the week of Thanksgiving, I’d encourage you to do your weekly blog post as a reflection back on the campaign. Think about what the most significant achievements were of this campaign, what was most ground-breaking, and what surprised you.

For the final class on December 3rd, come prepared with questions for the illustrious Joe Trippi. For that week’s blog post, think back to Trippi’s book (particularly the second half that’s more about how to use these tools) and answer this question: Could a frontrunner candidate successfully use the internet or is it inherently a tool of insurgent candidates? I’m really excited he’ll be our guest and I’m sure he’ll be entertaining.

At this point, I’m not going to worry about your blogs until December 3rd so don’t worry too much about when precisely you get them posted (although it’d be smart of you not to leave them all until December 2nd). Make sure you’re fully caught up that night.

You should have at least 16 entries (12 weekly posts and 4 of your choosing) and at least 20 del.icio.us links. And during our long break here, Katy, Molly, and Paul, don’t forget your weekly reports along the way! That’s 10 percent of your grade and I’d hate for you to forget about it.

Stay tuned for an email from me about the final paper.


So, um, I completely forgot to post your assignments for the week. My sincere apologies. For this week’s class, you’re supposed to be reading about datamining and micro-targeting. In addition to the Applebee’s America reading, please read these articles.

Also, if you’re up for up, dive into Newsweek’s 50,000-word article about the campaign. It’s REALLY long, yet very engaging reading. There’s not necessarily a ton of tech-specific in it, but key to understanding how this particular race was won.

Your blog topic for the week: Should we be okay with micro-targeting? Is the trade-off in personal privacy worth getting more specific and tailored political messages?

Be sure to check out change.gov.

Weekly Report

1. Obama-mercial

Obama’s prime time spot last Wednesday was the most watched program of the night, with 33.5 million viewers. Many pundits argued about the impact that this very expensive campaign tactic would have on the election. It’s looking like something has worked. Later that night, Obama held two rallies in Florida and appeared on Jon Stewart’s The Daily Show, which enjoyed its largest audience ever, 3.6 million viewers.

2. Obama Pulls Reporters from Plane

With five days left until the election, Fox News reports that Obama has pulled three reporters, from McCain-endorsing papers from his campaign plane. The reporters from The Washington Times, The New York Post, and The Dallas Morning News have tried to cause an uproar over this move. The Obama camp says that the move comes from a desire to reach a national audience, which, they say, these papers do not.

3. Palin Gets Prank called

4. Palin Not Guilty on Ethics Charges

On Monday, a report from the state board was released that has cleared Gov. Palin of the charges that she violated state ethics laws when she fired the public safety commissioner.

5. Presidential Transition 2.0

As this campaign has shown, the Internet and new media are here to stay. How will the new president use these tools in his tenure? TechPresident  shares some thoughts.

6. Facebook Effect

President Senator Barack Obama garnered almost 400,000 new friends on Facebook over the pase two weeks, bringing his total to nearly 2.4 million. McCain’s total: about 620,000. Let’s see if these facebookers are (1) able to vote and (2) actually do vote.

7. FiveThiryEight Final Projection

FiveThirtyEight filed their final polls and projections this morning. Electoral College vote split: Obama, 349 and McCain, 189.

8. Karl Rove’s Electoral Map

The consummate Republican strategist issues his final projections with an Obama victory, days behind his endorsement of John McCain. Rove projects that Florida, Ohio, Virginia, and Pennsylvania all go to Obama.

9. Redskins Rule

Following the past 17 presidential elections, there is a myth that conflates sports and politics. It is said that if the Redskins win the last home game before Election day, the incumbent party stays in the White House. The Pittsburgh Steelers clobbered the Skins, 23-6 at FedEx Field on Monday Night Football. Funny that the loss came from a team in a swing state.

10. Election Etiquette

TheRoot.com and Slate.com joined today to discuss Election Etiquette. Slate compiled a list of five things White people can’t do if Obama wins. And The Root did the same for black people.

Weekly Report

Compiled by Elisha in no particular order.

(sorry for the weird formatting at some parts. I tried multiple times to adjust it, but I gave up so I could go vote.)

Sen. John McCain on SNL
Senator John McCain made a guest appearance on Saturday Night Live.  Even Senator Barack Obama thought he was funny. Obama wasn’t the only one who watched John Mccain’s performance. Nielsen ratings reports that almost 12 million viewers tuned on Saturday night, right behind his running mate Sarah Palin’s 15 million viewers.

Obama gives money back to possible illegal aunt
Three days before Election Day, we discover that Senator Obama has an aunt who is living in the US illegally. The Associated Press discovered that an immigration judge instructed Zeituni Onyango to leave the country four years ago. Her request for asylum from her native country of Kenya had been denied. For the past four years she has been living in public housing in Boston. Senator Obama said he did not know his aunt was living in the US illegally but believes that the laws should be followed.   





Palin Got Punk’d
No, not by Ashton Kutcher, but by the Masked Avengers, two Canadian comedians who have a regular radio show in Montreal. During the seven minute on-air conversation, they talked about hunting from a helicopter to Hustler magazine’s video “Nailin’ Paylin.” Palin’s response to the incident, “C’est la vie.” I wonder if anyone has been fired from Palin’s campaign. One of Obama’s senior advisers, Robert Gibbs, said ” I”m glad we check our calls before we hand the phone to Barack Obama.” 

Dick Cheney Endorses McCain
Vice President Dick Cheney endorsed Senator John McCain at an event in Laramie, Wyoming on Saturday. However, Cheney’s hometown paper is backing Obama. Senator Obama created an ad the same day in response to Cheney’s endorsement. 
Senate Seats Up For Grabs
35 seats in the Senate will be filled after Election Day. 12 are held by Democrats, while 23 are held by Republicans. 11 competitive seats currently held by Republicans. Democrats need nine seats in order to have a filibuster proof majority in the Senate. Some states to keep your eye on: North Carolina, Georgia, Kentucky, New Hampshire, Minnesota, Oregon, Alaska, and Mississippi.
Obama’s Grandmother
Senator Barack Obama’s grandmother died from cancer Monday, just one day short of the historical 2008 presidential election. Hawaii Chief Elections officer, Kevin Cronin, tells ABC News that vote will count. Obama credits his grandmother, Madelyn Dunham, as a person who helped shape him to the man he is today. She was 86 years old. 
Palin is in the Clear

A second report on Governor Sarah Palin’s Troopergate found that she did not violate any ethics rules in firing Alaska’s public safety commissioner. A separate legislative investigation concluded that Palin had abused her power by allowing her husband and staffers to pressure the commissioner to fire a state trooper who used to be married to her sister. Palin’s lawyer, Thomas V. Van Flein, released a statement on Palin’s behalf saying the Governor is pleased with the results and with the conduct of the investigation. This could be a story line in a soap opera. 

Voting Problems
Two words: long lines. A record number of people are expected to visit the polls in order to vote in this historical election. Some voters went to their polling area at 3am in order to avoid the long lines, while others opted to vote early. Some polls are already experiencing some malfunctions. Some states may end up extending voting hours by an extra hour. Many voters have already uploaded videos on youtube of their voting experience. Here’s one guy’s short vlog on voting:
Pick ‘Em
Everyone thinks they know who will win and how it will be done. After today, we won’t have to guess anymore. The New York Times says the winner depends on what channel you watch. Most polls show Obama in the lead, but Marc Ambinder wonders what if we’re wrong?
Campaign Highlights
It’s been a long wild road to Election Day. Here are some video clips showing highlights of the 2008 presidential election. After today we will finally know who will be the next President of the US. So get out and vote in this historical election!