NDN Blog

Could it Be?

From the AP:

BAGHDAD (AP) - Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice and Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari said Thursday the two countries have agreed that timetables should be set for the withdrawal of U.S. troops from the battle-scarred country.

Appearing together at a news conference, Rice and Zebari mutually asserted that a final agreement between Washington and Baghdad on a withdrawal plan and accompanying strategic framework pact is close to fruition - but not there yet.

Quick '08 Update: Fake Txts and Unknown Homes

- First off, our thoughts and prayers are with the family of Congresswoman Stephanie Tubbs Jones, a woman and public servant for whom we all had an immense amount of respect. She'll certainly be missed in this office.

- Want to be that friend? Wonkette shows you how to send fake texts announcing U.S. Sen. Barack Obama's VP.(Update: I've heard about a few of these today, so when the real text happens I'll most likely doubt it.)

- Simon takes a quick look at recent polling.

- Be sure to check out Marc Ambinder's coverage of who speaks when at the Republican Convention.

- Obama Ad Update: If you haven't already done so, take Jake's advice and watch "Seven". Also check out "Backyard", "General Three Times", "Never", "Dangerous", and "Better Off". Read more at CBS News and First Read.

- Perhaps as a result of their own experiences, the Obama campaign and the DNC are making a joint effort to make changes to the primary process.

- Also check out this video of Obama using the 40th Anniversary of the Prague Spring to talk about Russia and Georgia.

- How many homes does U.S. Sen. John McCain own? He doesn't even know.

- Lynn Sweet says that U.S. Sen. Hillary Clinton's IL delegates were given the treatment during a meeting at Obama headquarters.

- OH, MI and PA voters will be getting an AFL-CIO mailer that goes after John McCain on trade with China. Meanwhile in the FT, Jagdish Bhagwati suggests a total rethink on trade.

- Meanwhile in Dunmore, PA, Hillary Clinton's Brother, Tony Rodham, met with Carly Fiorina, a top surrogate of the McCain campaign. (Via Jake Tapper.)

- Lynn Sweet reveals McCain's hopes of putting a dent in Obama's Jewish support.

- The timing of Obama's choice has its ups and downs, says Cillizza. Yet according to the Political Wire, many other past nominees have made "late" announcements.

- Hang on. John McCain actually said that in order to capture Osama bin Laden, we need to enact the draft? Ambinder says not so fast.

- David Leonhardt has a huge piece coming out in Sunday's New York Times Magazine on How Obama reconciles dueling views on the economy. Along similar lines, today's New York Times features a story on Obama's shifting message, which focuses on everyday concerns like the economy.

- The Trail notes that, unlike the DNC, the RNC is not filing McCain's victory fund reports monthly.

- David Gergen says that Obama is in need of a game changer. What about an Obama-Caroline Kennedy ticket, a suggestion from Michael Moore?

- In a letter to McCain, ConservativeHQ.com chairman Richard Vigurie expresses concern over VP speculation. Not surprisingly, Laura Ingraham expresses similar concern.

- In the Gulf Times, Jeffrey Sachs writes on how the internet and mobile phones are ending poverty by closing the isolation gap.

- Check out Howard Wolfson's new blog, Gotham Acme.

- And last, but certainly not least in my opinion, Ben's Chili Bowl will be celebrating its 50th anniversary this week. The festivities kick off tonight with the Ali family set to host a free gala featuring celebrities like Roberta Flack and Bill Cosby, who is the only person who receives free food at Ben's. (Thanks to our own Ben Cahen for sending this along!)

Quick '08 Update: Health Care and the #2

- VP Update: Ambinder warns not to read too much into an event in Indianapolis on Saturday.

- Obama Ad Update: U.S. Sen. Barack Obama is going on the attack through ads his campaign is airing in key states. Read more about the ads - and see one - in Jim Rutenberg's piece in the New York Times. For more, Michael Tomasky comments on the ad and Obama's strategy on his blog.

- McCain Ad Update: In the last 24 hours, U.S. Sen. John McCain's YouTube account added two new radio ads. Check out "Recipe", a Spanish-language spot running in CO, NM, and NV and "Millions".

- PowerPAC, described as a national, non-profit organization aimed at increasing civic participation among young people and people of color, is also up in NM with an English- and Spanish-language version of its pro-Obama ad, "What Matters".

- If you're wondering which candidate loyal Wal-Mart or Target shoppers prefer, AdAge has the answer.

- A head's up: Don't be surprised to see plenty of advertising for Oliver Stone's upcoming movie, W. while walking around Denver.

- Reggie Love, Barack Obama's body man, is the focus of a nice profile video over at ESPN 360. (Thanks, Dave, for the tip.)

- Before diving into VP speculation, check out this Atlantic piece from Ron Brownstein on partisanship and which candidate has a better chance of governing in a bipartisan fashion.

- Analysts have been discussing what the VP candidates will be getting themselves into by showing possible areas where there presence could have a major impact. David Gergen, Josh Marshall and Robert Reich threw their opinions into the hat and they are definitely worth a read.

- Rush Limbaugh didn't take lightly the news that John McCain was potentially gathering opinions on a pro-choice VP pick. All this while Ridge downplayed the impact his pro-choice position would have on a McCain presidency even though it appears as if McCain will be in Ohio with another possible pick the day he is expected to announce.

- I understand the irony in saying this, but I agree with Jake and Avery.

- Meanwhile, former Gov. Mitt Romney is speaking at a counter-rally organized by the GOP in Denver and U.S. Sen. Joe Lieberman is being vetted.

- Wait! According to Mark Halperin, Ridge is out.

- CBS News says that Obama's decision will be made public on Friday.

- Jake Tapper notices Obama used the pronoun "he" in the context of disucssing his VP. Tapper is quick to point out that this might be looking way too into it, but notes it as unusual.

- Though he said he's not the guy, speculation over U.S. Sen. Joe Biden was rampant. Over

at 538, Nate Silver goes with speculation and analyzes Biden's impact through past polling.

- Matthew Yglesias weighs in and points out what he sees as an issue heading into the general: Biden's "MBNA Factor".

- Noting that it doesn't mean Obama will announce that day, Chris Cillizza discusses Obama's scheduled event in Springfield on Saturday.

- Bloomberg dove into vetting process by taking an unusually close look at Evan Bayh's wife, whose past participation on several corporate boards is used against in the case against Bayh.

- Continuing the inside analysis of each campaign, Marc Ambinder offers another socratic dialogue, this time about the current state of the McCain campaign.

- The DNC is jumping all over McCain's comment that rich is having $5 million in income.

- Check out the tools the Obama campaign is sending its volunteers who are hosting watch parties around Convention.

- Assessing the current climate, Gallup reveals where the polls are. The LA Times offers its own insight with its new poll, which Daily Kos contributor DemFromCT reported on as well.

- Check out this YouTube clip of Obama striking back at McCain during his speech to the VFW. Obama's remarks drew this response from the McCain campaign's blog, the McCain Report.

- Haim Saban, one of U.S. Sen. Hillary Clinton's top fundraisers, puts to rest any possible wavering and restates his support for Obama.

- With the economy is at the forefront of the campaigns - or at least it should be - it is worth noting MIT's Technology Review profile of Austan Goolsbee, which emphasizes, above all else, health care. An interesting section from the piece:

Where might future jobs come from, though? "There's a joke within economics that 40 years from now every economist will be a health-care economist, because if you simply extrapolate from the current trend, the whole economy will be health care." While we currently think of health care as a cost of business, Goolsbee continues, he can imagine it becoming a central driver of the economy. "Firstly, these are great engines of growth. Secondly, they make us healthy--and what's better than that? Spending on medical research and science, by any crass economic calculation, has a massive payoff, because if you put any value on life--for instance, if you've medicine that keeps people alive for an extra two years--the implicit value of that is great. I could easily see some emerging combination of medical science, biotechnology, and computing as the foundation of much of our economic growth going forward."

- Speaking of health care, Ezra Klein notes the return of Harry and Louise. Meanwhile on the trail, Obama touts a single-payer system. (Remember that the single-payer issue was a point of contention in the primaries between Obama and Hillary Clinton.)

- Finally, check out the latest video in Robert Greenwald and Brave New Films' "REAL McCain" series, "McCain's Mansions":

The "Nuevo Dia" Continues

As we have noted on this blog many times, the views of South Florida's Cuban American community are changing, giving the area's GOP incumbents their most serious challenge in nearly 20 years. (You may recall that one of the Democratic challengers is former NDNer, Joe Garcia.) What is allowing this to happen? As Time recently wrote in its article, Big Trouble in Little Havana, there are two reasons: More younger Cuban Americans are becoming eligible to vote, and the Cuba issue is viewed in relation to other issues like the economy, all of which affect South Florida and are believed to have been mishandled by the GOP.

On the New Generation of Cubans and related issues:

But the Miami challenges have caught the GOP off guard. Democratic voter registration in Miami-Dade County, as in other places, is up, and Republican registration is down. Some of the shift stems from elderly voters like Coto, but younger Cuban Americans are restless too. Like their elders, they want to liberate Cuba, but they also want to get by in Miami, where the middle class is shriveling and home foreclosures are soaring. "I'm not running for President of Cuba," says Martinez. "Cuban Americans finally see themselves as part of the wider U.S.A., and they care about other issues." 

On Cuba:

Still, a likely decisive issue in these races involves Cuba. In 2004, as a gift to conservatives, President Bush tightened restrictions on travel and remittances to the island. Cuban Americans--only those who have immediate family members in Cuba--can now visit just once every three years and send only $300 each quarter. The move backfired: most Miami Cubans oppose the new rules, according to an FIU poll, and they have been particularly unpopular among younger Cuban Americans. That was a big reason Miami computer programmer and lifelong Republican Joe Infante, 47, who has relatives in Cuba he can no longer visit, is now a registered Democrat. The regulations, he says, "have kept Cuban families separated but haven't put a dent in the Cuban regime." The move suggests that leaders of Florida's anti-Castro movement may have lost touch with the region's changing demographics. What would have worked in 1985 to deepen GOP support had the opposite effect in today's more diverse Miami. Says Garcia, sipping a café cubano in Little Havana: "Bush succeeded in dividing what was once a monolithic vote for his party." 

All of this will make sense to those familiar with NDN's work on Cuba. In fact, the views represented above are consistent with what we found in our poll from October of 2006. They are also consistent with U.S. Sen. Barack Obama's stance on Cuba, which Fareed Zakaria wrote about a few months ago. (You can see two examples of our coverage of Obama's position here and here.)

For more, check out a forum we held in February of 2007 where we discussed what a Post-Castro Cuba could look like.

Quick '08 Update: Where's the VP?

- Michael Tomasky looks at the difference between the attacks from the GOP (attacks on character) versus those from Democrats (attacks on policy/record). More from Jake Tapper's Political Punch here and here.

- In today's Wall Street Journal, Amy Schatz writes on Google's involvement in the "Big Tent" at the DNCC. She cites Simon on the impact this will have on convention coverage and, more importantly, the likelihood of private discussion for elected officials.

- Check out the statements of both U.S. Sen. John McCain and U.S. Sen. Barack Obama on Musharraf's resignation.

- Simon covers Greg Sargent's piece in TPM on McCain outspending Obama in key states below, but it is definitely worth mentioning again.

- The Washington Post's Dan Balz takes a look at Veep Week Speculation.

- According to the New York Times, Obama is ready to announce his pick for Vice President. Hint: Tom Daschle doesn't think it'll be him.

- Phew, at least we know when McCain will announce his choice for Vice President. 

- Via Jake Tapper, Rich Lowry at the National Review tells us that the McCain campaign is seeking out key GOP state officials for their response to what could be a pro-choice VP.

- As we look ahead to Convention in Denver, check out this op-ed from U.S. Sen. Ken Salazar from the LA Times on "How Democrats can mine the West".

- Marc Ambinder has a playful, but very interesting way of presenting the different feelings he suspects Democrats have about the current state of the Obama campaign.

- Other news: PA Gov. Ed Rendell will be casting his vote during the roll-call for U.S. Sen. Hillary Clinton in Denver. In VA, NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg is being placed on the presidential ballot by the commonwealth's Independent Green Party.

- Ralph Reed, a long-time friend and associate of Jack Abramoff, was a no-show at McCain's fundraiser last night. The Political Wire wonders who's telling the truth.

- Taking a break from VP speculation, the American Prospect's Dana Goldstein and Ezra Klein show how Obama is more focused on beefing up the Democratic Party than any other candidate in recent history.

- Building on that, the Washington Post's Tim Craig looks at Obama's voter registration efforts in Virginia.

- Hopefully Obama continues to do things like calling to thank his 2 millionth donor along the way. The little things resonate.

- Along those lines, the New York Times takes a look at how the Democrats are presenting their case across the ticket, particularly in Congressional races.

- The LA Times looks at the dual roles of Randy Scheunemann, a top foreign policy advisor to John McCain and former lobbyist for Georgia. Via Think Progress, McCain is proud of supporting Scheunemann's lobbying efforts.

- The McCain campaign clarified itself on two issues we've discussed in these updates: McCain's alleged plagiarism of Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, and Andrea Mitchell's reporting on whether McCain knew Rick Warren's questions before his turn at the Saddleback Forum.

- Speaker Pelosi emphasized the role of women in changing the country in a video encouraging women in Michigan to vote for Obama.

Quick '08 Update: Big and Specific Ideas Needed

- CNN shows Tropical Storm Fay getting stronger.

- In case you missed the Saddleback Forum, The Atlantic's Andrew Sullivan covered it live on his blog.

- On the ad front, PrezVid previews two of U.S. Sen. John McCain's new ads, "Taxman" and "Maybe". Ambinder puts up an ad U.S. Sen. Barack Obama is running on the economy in Colorado.

- CQ wonders whether McCain is once again plagiarizing.

- In the Politico, Ben Smith and Glenn Thrush suspect Obama will announce his Vice Presidential pick this week. Their colleague, Jonathan Martin, keeps speculation in a whirlwind by highlighting U.S. Sen. Richard Lugar's positive feelings for Obama.

- Over at The Atlantic, Marc Ambinder looks at the candidates' schedules and offers his thoughts on the VP selection.

- Bloomberg's Lorraine Woellert points out a flaw in McCain's pitch for nuclear power by looking at the recent nuclear submarine leaks.

- Obama returned to San Francisco to haul in a cool $7.8 million. Jake Tapper has more on the event where Obama showed he was not afraid to go on the offensive.

- On the fundraising front, Seth Colter Walls writes more on what the candidates and party committees raised in July, noting that the DNC outraised the RNC for the first time since October of 2004.

- More trouble in McCainland: LA Gov. Bobby Jindal's had trouble pointing out the "big ideas" being proposed by McCain on Meet the Press. (via Think Progress) Maybe he should've pointed out that McCain wants everyone to have a mansion or be 5-million-dollars rich.

- The New York Times points out that party leaders are also asking Obama to highlight specific policy proposals, giving some substance to his campaign narratives of hope and change.

- McCain's campaign manager, Rick Davis, will be meeting with NBC to protest Andrea Mitchell's statement about McCain's alleged knowledge of the questions being presented at the Saddleback Forum.

- The New York Times published an in-depth piece on the McCain Doctrine. Meanwhile, Daly Kos reader smintheus highlights McCain's foreign 'policy' problem.

- The countdown to the Democratic National Convention is nearing its end. Wilshire and Washington gives some clues about what each candidate will be doing next week. Continuing the convention theme, Matthew Yglesias posts on the Convention bump.

- Finally, the quote of the day from Political Wire:

"Bullying and intimidation are not acceptable ways to conduct foreign policy in the 21st century."

-- President Bush, quoted by the Associated Press.

Obama's Website for the General?

The Obama campaign has made some tweaks for the second time to its campaign website. The latest iteration is much more subtle than the first revamp during the primary process, which included an entirely redesigned site, but seems to be their site of choice to take them through the general election. Below are the new things I noticed about the site on first appearance. If I've missed or incorrectly pointed something out, please let me know!

  • Banner header: The top image of the website has changed slightly. You now see an American flag in the shape of the Obama logo weaved in and two of the campaign's critical action items, donate and find an event, are situated on top of one another. Also, the quote and image of Obama changes (hit refresh a few times) between his first quote about bringing change to Washington and a new quote about his agenda. I imagine this will rotate to reflect the policies Obama is focusing on.
  • Log-in bar: Atop the banner header is a new log-in feature where users can log into their MyBarackObama.com account (or MyBO as they call it). This makes the online community an even more prominent feature on the site, so I'm sure they expect it to continue to play a large role in the campaign.
  • Featured content box: The featured content box now cycles through horizontally, allowing the image in the box to be much bigger and more prominent. Also, I'm wondering if there will be synchronization between the featured policy and the quote in the banner. For example, I wonder if, when the Obama campaign wants to highlight its immigration policy, it will coincide with a quote at the top on the same issue. Just a thought.
  • The Obama brand: A general observation is that pictures of Obama are starting to change at key places. Where before he was superimposed in front of a graphic of crowds, emphasizing his movement, the pictures now are beginning to be superimposed on top of more traditional symbols like American flags.

Quick '08 Update: ABBA, Sec. of Moonshine, and Debates

- U.S. Sen. John McCain finally explained his appreciation for ABBA.

- Always finding ways to keep it light, The Onion has a piece on U.S. Sen. Barack Obama's half-brother who hopes to become Obama's Secretary of Moonshine.

- Anticipating the announcement of Vice Presidential choices, Chris Cillizza looks at the possibilities and weighs in at The Fix. Cillizza also gives a nod to the Obama campaign's agreement to allow U.S. Sen. Hillary Clinton's name to be put forth for nomination in Denver.

- Over at AdAge, Evan Tracey uses the latest ad strategies of the campaigns to show that negative advertising could dominate the airwaves over the next 100 days.

- The Atlantic is really writing some interesting stuff. Two pieces from them recently of note are Joshua Green's musing on whether Mark Penn could/would find his way into Obama's campaign, and James Fallows' in-depth piece on what the primary debates showed and what we should expect as we look to the Presidential debates.

- Jake Tapper discusses a recent ad from the Matthew 25 Network that touts Obama's support of families and seems to take aim at McCain's past. The Matthew 25 Network might be hoping that the ad will derail some of the progress McCan has seen in getting the Republican base behind him.

- Wondering who from Hollywood is headed to Denver? Check out Wilshire & Washington for a list of folks planning on attending Starz's Green Room events.

- Matthew Yglesias takes on the RNC for mocking Barack Obama's tendency to take his shirt off at the beach.

- Finally, the obvious statement of the day goes to the McCain Report Blog. Not that McCain shouldn't be allowed on the beach, but the campaign needs to do as little as possible to highlight McCain's age even more. Heck, even T. Boone Pickens joked about McCain's age.

10 Downing Street 2.0

Via an announcement that the British Prime Minister's Office had partnered with Brightcove for its official online video destination, Number10TV, I just came across the new 10 Downing Street website. And I'm very glad I did. It is an amazing sign that politicians not only recognize the impact of technology on politics, but embrace at least certain aspects of it.

Beyond the Beta mark in the banner image, this is obviously no traditional government website. Sites like Flickr, YouTube, and Twitter all have a prominent role on the right sidebar, major headlines are prominently featured in a Huffington Post manner, users can still use YouTube to Ask the PM, and they can sign as well as create petitions. Check out what else is new in the New Website Guide. Also check out the video below introducing the site:

While the French government's website doesn't feature picture or video references to U.S. Sen. Barack Obama as the British site does, it is also worth checking out for its prominent use of video. Our move, whitehouse.gov. (Unrelated shout out to everyone in France not on the men's 4x100m relay swim team.)

Txtual Seduction: Obama to SMS VP Choice

Plenty of people just received an interesting SMS from the Obama campaign. It reads:

Barack will announce his VP candidate choice through txt msg between now & the Conv. Tell everyone to txt VP to 62262 to be the first to know! Please forward.

To me, this decision is telling for two reasons. As we've long discussed, technology is changing the way we conduct and interact with politics. New tools like SMS - as well as many others - are making it easier for more people to become involved in the process, ultimately making our democracy more participatory. The Obama campaign clearly understands this and is hoping to continue to use the advent of these tools to further reinforce its campaign message of change.

Also, consider the constituencies that SMS reaches. From our reports:

From Mobile Media in 21st Century Politics, Sept. 2006:

Some constituencies are more savvy or dependent on mobile phones than others. Two key groups in are of special concern to progressives. Any majority political movement of the early 21st century will need to connect to the massive young generation of Millennials, and the booming population of Hispanics. Both groups are among the top users of mobile phone media.


Studies from Telephia in 2005 showed that African American, Hispanic and mixed Asian groups make up the top three groups both in scope and in percentage of growth in using mobile.

Hispanic users had the 2nd highest use of mobile minutes, and the growth in use quarterly was rising at higher than any other ethnographic group.

All this reinforced in Go Mobile Now, Oct., 2007:

Mobile tools like text messaging and picture messaging are considerably more popular in black and Hispanic communities than in other demographics.

So what is clear is that the Obama campaign is announcing its VP choice via a method which is heavily used by Millennials, Hispanics, African Americans, and mixed Asian groups. To a lesser degree, I'm sure there will be members of older generations signing up to receive the text as well. As a result, the campaign will broaden its mobile database, making organizing and outreach to vital groups in the coming months all the more sophisticated. This surely will help cement the Obama campaign's mobile database as the go-to mobile database in progressive politics. And, more importantly, it adds another means through which the campaign hopes to build a lasting majority.

Now what would be impressive is if the campaign could figure out how to segment the Hispanic/Latino audiences from this effort and began delivering Spanish-language text messages. Imagine that foundation going into the fall.

Update: I just found out through Facebook that the campaign will also e-mail you Obama's VP choice. You just have to sign up to receive the notice. So not only will the Obama campaign hold the go-to mobile database, but perhaps the go-to e-mail database of progressive politics.

Update II: Jose Antonio Vargas has more insight in the Washington Post.

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