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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

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!










Weekly Report

10 most important and relevant items of the week are follows (in no order or chronology):

1.) Debate Day! Obama and McCain butt heads in their final debate appearance. The long awaited confrontation between Obama and McCain over William Ayers didn’t make as big of a splash as either candidate hoped for.

2.) Joe the Plumber from Ohio becomes a media sensation, after asking Barack Obama why he wanted to hike taxes on small business owners. McCain repeatedly mentions him in the debate, prompting a media storm that follows Joe back to Ohio. Thanks to the work of some intrepid reporters, it surfaced that Joe wasn’t exactly a licensed plumber, didn’t make 250,000 a year, wasn’t in a position to buy his employer’s business, and has a few outstanding tax liens against him. Oh, and a suspended driver’s license. Oh, and he voted Republican in the primary. Jonah Goldberg, Michelle Malkin and other conservative commentators pointed out that it was unfair to wage a full-scale media blitz against a private citizen. The New Republic pointed out that Malkin did the same thing when Democrats used a young boy to as a campaign prop to advance the S-CHIP legislation

3.) McCain/RNC robo-calls tying Barack Obama to domestic terrorist William Ayers and ACORN are reported in the blogosphere. GOP senator Susan Collins goes on record as condeming them, while McCain defended the calls on Fox News Sunday.

4.) The mania over alleged “voter fraud” continues. Citizen journalists at Palestra.net, a student muckraking site affiliated with Fox, uncovered that a group of out-of-staters had set up shop in Ohio and were registering voters. Michelle Malkin accused them of breaking the spirit of Ohio’s voter registration laws, and the story made it all the way to the New York Post. Ohio democrats retaliated by launching their own complaint against a group of Republicans performing essentially the same job, and who also cast ballots in Ohio.

5.) Colin Powell endorses Barack Obama for President, on Meet the Press. Powell had previously given the maximum allowable contribution to McCain’s campaign when it stalled in the summer of 2007, while McCain had previously called Powell the greatest living hero during the 2000 election cycle. Rush Limbaugh says it was totally about race, asking “what inexperienced white liberals has Powell endorsed recently?

6.) The Obama campaign announces that it has raised $150 million dollars in September, doubling its August totals and shattering all records. Throughout the cycle, Obama has raised more than half a billion dollars in campaign contributions. McCain claims that Obama’s fundraising has broken the public financing system forever. On the Congressional side, the DNC took out a $15 million loan on behalf of the DSCC to push last-minute funds into competitive Senate races, to give the Democrats a fighting chance of capturing 60 seats in the Senate (a filibuster-proof majority).

7.) Reality and comedy collide for one brief moment, when Sarah Palin appears on SNL. This season’s ratings are amongst the best the best in 14 years, undoutbedly thanks to Tina Fey’s doppleganger of Sarah Palin.. As a result of the popularity of the show, NBC has seen a spike in web traffic, as more and more users seek clips on the Internet rather than watch the live broadcast.

8.) Patriotism comes to the forefront, as several prominent Republicans essentially accuse the Democrats of being un-American Congresswoman Michele Bachmann causes a minor stir when she suggests that Barack Obama has un-American views, and goes on to suggest that the media should do an expose on other Members of Congress with un-American views. She later claims she essentially walked into a trap that host Chris Mathews cleverly laid. Her opponent immediately saw a huge spike in fundraising after her comments hit the blogosphere. Meanwhile, Sarah Palin apologized for her comment that she enjoyed spending time in the ‘pro-America’ parts of the country. Finally, Congressman Robin Hayes makes an utter buffoon of himself when he claims that liberals ‘hate real Americans that work. Hayes denied the accusations at first, but recanted and apologized when audio of his comments surfaced. His unfortunate comments happened immediately after he told the fired-up crowd, “make sure we don’t say something stupid, make sure we don’t say something we don’t mean.”

9.) Barack Obama wins the Chicago Tribune endorsement. While the paper is is hometown daily, it also has never ever ever endorsed a Democrat for President in its 100+ year history. Twice it endorsed third-party candidates (Theodore Roosevelt and Horace Greeley), but it has never once endorsed a Democratic candidate for President (not even Kennedy! Not even FDR!).

10.) Barack Obama suspends his campaign just two weeks before the election in order to spend time with his ailing grandmother, who raised him and put him through high school while his mother was still in Indonesia. The blogosphere debates whether it was a risky move, and whether it would be “classy” for McCain to do the same for the time being.

This week (Debate centric)


1) Rejection. Barack Obama rejected the proposal by John McCain that they postpone the debate to go back to Washington to work on the Financial Crisis.  Critics accused McCain of using the financial crisis as politics as usual.

2) No one is Watching Bloggers jumped on the fact that this debate received such a small percentage of viewers, calling it the least watched presidential debate in modern history.

3) Tweeting the debate Twitter launched an Election 2008 site that just in time for the debate which serves as one spot to read all tweets (Twitter messages) that focus on the election by pulling out key words such as Obama, McCain, Biden, and Palin.  Many bloggers reveled at its novelty.

4) Fact-checking the candidates The Internet and digital media in general has made it much easier for the average Joe to fact check candidates.  Note the post-debate water cooler discussions in this article on epolitics.com.

Post debate bailout chatter from both sides:

5) McCain believed the bailout would pass and spoke out saying,  “I went to Washington last week to make sure that the taxpayers of Ohio and across this great country were not left footing the bill for mistakes made on Wall Street and evil and greed in Washington,” McCain said at a campaign rally in Columbus, Ohio.

6)After the bailout failed, and Obama both delivered speeches to calm the public.  McCain’s speech however focused on a rebranding effort: “From bailout to rescue

7) The battle of the bracelets. First McCain, then Obama discussed Hero bracelets they received from mothers who lost children in the war.  Later, reports came out that  Obama was using the name of the soldier killed in the war against the wishes of the soldier’s family.

8)  Debate coverage for the digitally savy CSPAN Debate Hub embraces bloggers and social media by providing searchable, embeddable clips of the debate, accompanied by real time commentary from live bloggers and micro bloggers.

9) The next debate…The interview that just wouldn’t go away.  Sarah Palin’s interview with Katie Couric has more than 1.6 million views on YouTube.  It would be shortsided not to mention the fact that many of have said this that the SNL spoof was the first time the actual words of the candidate were used in the SNL script.

10) Not your average Joe…The Republican National Committee makes it very easy for conservative bloggers and anyone else who cares to check out their one stop shop for Biden Gaff’s with their Joe Biden Gaff Clock

Political News Summary: Week of 09/17/08 – 09/24/08

Compiled by: Nisha 

1.)   In light of the financial crisis that swept across America last week, several reporters and bloggers began evaluating the stance McCain took (and now takes) on the state of the U.S. economy. Many sources reported the 36-hour turnaround McCain took on his economic platform, shifting his perspective from “strong” to “total crisis” following the news of the government bailouts and the plummeting stocks on Wall Street.

2.)   The finalized format for the first debate between Obama and McCain was announced. The debate will focus on foreign policy, national security, the economy and domestic policy. The expectations are high – some say the match up is even, and Nielsen has already declared that this face-off will be the most-watched presidential debate in television history.

3.)   Several blogs have researched and recognized the differences in McCain and Obama’s economic platforms and, with all of the media attention on the economic crisis, the pressure is now on the candidates to clearly define how they plan to regulate the financial system.   

4.)   McCain has been under scrutiny after the Democratic National Committee discovered through public records that 177 Wall Street lobbyists work for the Republican campaign as aides, policy advisers, or fundraisers. The media is questioning whether McCain’s promises to regulate the U.S. financial system will actually be fulfilled. Of the 177 lobbyists who support McCain, at least 83 have lobbied for the financial industry.

5.)   On a press conference call with several reporters and bloggers, Steve Schmidt, the operational manager for McCain’s campaign openly criticized the New York Times for making the decision “cast aside it’s journalistic integrity to advocate for the defeat of John McCain.” The blasted comments were a response to questions on a recent NYT article that detailed the funds McCain’s campaign manager received for advocacy work he did for a group set up by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

6.)   Obama recently released a Spanish-language ad to sway Latino voters. He claims that McCain has “dos caras” (two faces) and runs anti-immigrant claims made by Rush Limbaugh throughout the ad. Several bloggers are calling attention to the inaccurate information released in Obama’s advertisement for unfairly building a perception that McCain’s views on immigration are similar to the anti-immigration opinions of Rush Limbaugh.

7.)   An Associated Press-Yahoo News poll conducted with Stanford University suggests that race could play a major role in the election. The poll found that one third of white Democrats has negative views towards blacks. Some say this surprising revelation could cost Obama the election.

8.)   FBI agents searched the home of David Kernell, as he is the primary suspect in the investigation to identify the hacker of Palin’s Yahoo email account. He is the son of Mike Kernell, a prominent Democratic state representative in Tennessee.

9.)   On an ABC roundtable on This Week, participants including Sam Donaldson and conservative columnist George Will criticized McCain’s age when he unexpectedly advocated the termination of SEC Chairman Chris Cox. The panel blamed McCain’s age for his “mixed up talking points.”

10.)While the United Nations holds its General Assembly meetings, Palin is in New York to meet with nine international leaders including leaders from Afghanistan, Iraq and Colombia. The meetings are a Republican initiative to prove that Palin is prepared to handle foreign policy. 


Weekly Report for September 17 class

Posted roughly in order of occurrence…

Compiled by KAB

1. McCain appeared on “The View” last Friday in attempt to soften his image to gain votes from white women, though most blogs agree he was grilled pretty thoroughly on the show.  Blogosphere discussions noted that it’s especially important for McCain to connect with female voters in this campaign since some white, female Hillary supporters still haven’t committed to supporting Obama.  Polls show McCain currently leads Obama with votes from this demographic.

2. In honor of Saturday Night Live’s season premier, Tina Fey returned to play Sarah Palin in a skit w/Amy Poehler as Hillary Clinton.

The Huffington Post posted instantly.  During the skit, Fey/Palin said, “Ya know, Hillary and I don’t agree on everything,” just as Poehler/Clinton interrupted the word “everything” and quipped, “ANYTHING.” After explaining that it’s not sexist to question anyone’s credentials, Poehler/Clinton ended the skit by saying, “In conclusion, I invite the media to grow a pair, and if you can’t, I will lend you mine.”

3.  The Obama campaign announced on Sunday that it passed a new fund raising record, receiving $66 million in August alone. The campaign also said it added 500,000 new donors.

4. Both campaigns took time off from the trail so as not to distract the public’s attention from victims of hurricanes and tropical storms across the country.  But some blogs critiqued the candidates, including one that said McCain should have been in Texas during Ike, and Politico’s remarks noting Obama’s continued political attacks on McCain during the storm.

5.  Oprah Winfrey, an Obama supporter who interviewed him twice on her show, will not be interviewing Sarah Palin. Because of this, the Florida Federation of Republican women is encouraging women to boycott Oprah by not watching her show and ending subscriptions to Oprah’s “O” magazine. Oprah made a decision early on not to interview candidates from either party on her show, but agreed to interview Palin after the election.  At least one blog, Daily KOS, notes the Drudge Report’s initial attention to this issue.

6. The Boston Globe dug up the fact that Sarah Palin has not visited an Iraqi battle zone after all, contrary to statements originally issued by the McCain campaign about the VP candidate’s past travel and experience.  Now, spokespeople for Palin say that she did not venture into the country beyond the Kuwait-Iraq border.

7. Karl Rove said that both campaigns have hit a new low with negative ads, and included a comment that McCain’s ads don’t pass the “100-percent-truth test.” Huffington Post commented that “When Karl Rove is saying your political ads have gone too far, you know you must be doing something dishonest.”

8.  Veterans for Freedom launched a $400,000 ad to run on CNN, FOX and MSNBC that contrasts Obama’s critique of the unsuccessful troop surge with General Patraeus’s claim that it was working.

9.  Turmoil on Wall Street gave both presidential candidates cause to explain how they would each remedy the situation as president. But Obama may get an extra, needed boost from this crisis, says Newsweek’s Stumper blog, because it gives him the opportunity to point to McCain’s out-of-touch statement that the fundamentals of our economy are strong and steers the conversation away from petty lipstick/pig arguments.

10.  One of John McCain’s top policy advisers made a statment that seemed to imply that McCain helped to create the BlackBerry, which only highlighted McCain’s lack of tech savvy–a topic highlighted in an Obama ad that ran last week.


Weekly Reports

Below are the assignments for your weekly reports. What I’m looking for in the weekly reports is a roundup of the ten most important digital campaign items of the week. These can take many forms but should be distinct from the most important MSM campaign items of the week—for instance, in this last week, Tom Friedman’s column itself would not qualify, but if you found some blogs talking about it or voter-generated content responding to it, that could count.

I’m looking each week for some combination of all of the sites that we will cover in class—from YouTube videos to blog posts to vlogs to podcasts to campaign emails to whatever else you find. TechPresident and Off the Bus are good places to start, as will be the blogs that we’ll be covering in class in the coming weeks. The format should be a 10-item list, including the title, link, and a couple of sentences about the context/meaning/importance of it (basically why you selected it).

I will be setting you each up with a account on this blog so you should be able to log-in and post directly on this. If you run into any problems logging in, let me know. I’ve set up accounts for the first two weeks’ victims reporters now, so Katherine and Nisha, check your email.  You’ll notice there’s a “Weekly Report” category, so make sure to tag your entry in that category when you post.

Here are the assignments:

Week 3: Katherine B.
Week 4: Nisha

Week 5: Sasha
Week 5: Bonnie

Week 6: Kinda
Week 6: Peter

Week 7: Arin

Week 8: Katie K.
Week 8: Byron

Week 9: Fernando

Week 10: Matt
Week 10: Elisha

Week 11: Brian
Week 12: Molly
Week 13: Katy R.
Week 14: Paul

Treat these assignments as hard deadlines (as would befit a journalist-in-training). There will be no late posts accepted. Your post must be live on the site by midnight Tuesday so that people can review it prior to class starting. If, for whatever reason, your assigned week does not work for you (travel/work/finals/etc.), it’s up to you to find another classmate to switch with. AFTER you’ve agreed to a switch, let me know and I’ll update this post. A reminder: This project is 10 percent of your final grade.

I’ve doubled up the weeks where there’s a presidential debate and the week of the election. For the weeks where there’s a debate, I want the first person listed to concentrate solely on online news/content about the debate. The second person listed should concentrate on all non-debate news/content. For the two assigned during the week of the election, the first person listed should plan on posting a news roundup on Friday evening (October 31st) covering everything that’s happened from Tuesday to Friday. The second person listed should post, as usual, on the night of the election covering all material from Friday to Tuesday.

Let me know if you have any questions.