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    Success of ‘going negative’ changes campaign strategies
    Bob Dole: McCain Has Age-Old Problem
    February 27th, 2007 under 2008 Presidential Race. [ Comments: none ]

    dole-button-2.JPGFormer Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole, the Republican nominee for president in 1996, says Sen. John McCain’s age may be a major problem to address during the 2008 campaign.

    Dole, now 83, was the oldest man to run for the White House when he was defeated by incumbent President Bill Clinton 11 years ago. Dole told The Sentinel newspaper in Carlisle, Pa., that the 70-year-old McCain will face “constant questions about his fitness and ability to serve” during the long presidential campaign.

    Dole said McCain remains a front-runner for the Republicans but he thinks two other opponents – former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney – may prove more formidable.

    The former senator from Kansas calls Giuliani the “mayor of America,” and thinks his strong views on national security may trump Giuliani’s more liberal views on social issues among GOP primary voters.

    Dole said Romney is “an attractive guy” in the John F. Kennedy vein and is “one on the Republican side to keep your eye on.”

    Among Democrats, Dole acknowledged that Sens. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama are the front-runners, but he said John Edwards should not be overlooked.

    Edwards and Dole’s wife, Sen. Elizabeth Dole, R-N.C., served in the Senate together from 2002-2004.

    Blogs not gospel, experts caution
    February 27th, 2007 under Uncategorized, Blogs in the News. [ Comments: none ]

    TORONTO — Britney Spears and Anna Nicole Smith don’t just have their drug habits in common. The troubled celebrities, one dead and the other on a rehab roller-coaster, have provided celebrity gossip blogs and websites with their brightest glory days.

    Sites like TMZ.com, Splash News Online and X17 are leading the mainstream media on fast-breaking developments in the two biggest celebrity stories in years — Spears’s in-and-out rehab drama and the entire Smith saga, from her sudden death to the ensuing battles about her baby’s paternity and where the former Playboy Playmate should be buried.

    TMZ, in particular, has led the charge in posting up-to-the-minute information on Spears — she was back in rehab, by the way, as of late Thursday afternoon — and also featured running posts on the sordid fight in a Florida courtroom about Smith’s final resting place. America Online owns TMZ.com and the infotainment show Extra.

    But the mainstream media shouldn’t hang their head in shame as they scramble to keep up with blogs and websites on sensational celebrity stories, says Bob Thompson, a pop culture professor at Syracuse University in upper New York state.

    “Let’s face it — blogs rush in where angels fear to tread, or in this case, where legitimate media fear to tread,” Thompson said. “The mainstream media has to keep its cool in light of all this — they have to continue to do their jobs, to confirm developments with credible sources and to give each story due diligence.”

    Read full story 

    An Evening with Charlie Cook
    February 22nd, 2007 under Programs/Events. [ Comments: none ]


    Download link 

    Local Coverage from By Steve Vockrodt - Lawrence Journal World

    It’s not often that Sen. Hillary Clinton is compared to Richard Nixon.

    Yet, Charlie Cook, publisher of The Cook Political Report, an independent, nonpartisan newsletter, and a political prognosticator, said that Clinton’s campaign for the 2008 presidency will strongly resemble Nixon’s campaign in 1972 in terms of discipline, preparedness and rigor.

    “Nothing comes out of her mouth that isn’t poll tested, focus-group tested … have a billion IQ points behind it,” Cook told a crowd of about 250 people on Wednesday evening at the Dole Institute of Politics.

    Cook, who has dozens of network media appearances to his credit, came to the Dole Institute for the first time for a question-and-answer session called “An Evening With Charlie Cook: Handicapping the 2008 Presidential Campaign.”

    What Cook’s comparison means for Clinton is that, at this point, she’s the one to beat for the Democratic nomination.

    “Her numbers have moved up, and the question is, can anyone stop her?” Cook said. “I think she’s going to be hard to beat.”

    Editor and Publisher Charlie Cook analyzes presidential elections and national political trends for the report.

    House Races - www.cookpolitical.com/races/house/default.php
    Senate Races - www.cookpolitical.com/races/senate/default.php
    Charlie Cook’s National Overview - www.cookpolitical.com/overview/default.php
    The GOP’s Troubled Brand - www.cookpolitical.com/column/default.php

    Read more »

    Blogs are the new hip-hop
    February 21st, 2007 under The Buzz about blogs. [ Comments: none ]

    By Nathan Rodriguez

    Blogs are to media today what hip-hop was to music twenty years ago:  misunderstood, edgy, a blend of old and new.  But beyond merely confusing and frightening many of the uninitiated, blogs and hip-hop seem to share so many commonalities that – hey, indulge me here – it’s worth reviewing.

    There are certain things you can dismiss with good reason:  Mike Tyson’s latest statement that he’s a changed man, for example.  But very few things are dismissed out of hand as quickly as blogs and hip-hop.  These uninformed repudiations generally come from the “old guard,” or someone with a vested interest in seeing the “fad” fail. “It’s not even real music.”   “Blogs infringe on true journalism.”  Without any further investigation, the mediums are castigated and discarded as substandard.     

    Both blogs and hip-hop tend to sample previously produced material.  A DJ may select a few seconds of a beat, loop it and toss some effects on top, but the rapper usually adds completely new lyrics to complement the selection.  A blogger generally utilizes the beat of the beat writer:  the highlight of a story, supplementing that with their own interpretation or commentary.  At the same time, blogs and hip-hop can be completely original creations that don’t redeploy any previously-produced work. 

    Both blogs and hip-hop are almost assumed to be static monoliths, when the reality is far more indefinable and fluid.  The mediums are being stretched, tested, and at times co-opted.  They are far from a singular entity.  Within hip-hop, there are different  rap styles – “conscious” and “gangsta” among them – as well as a variety of genres sampled, from classical to funk, soul and rock and roll.  Blogs may be political, spiritual, sports-related or personal.  They each cover more ground and specialize in more areas than detractors care to admit or realize.

    Read more »

    Spring 2007 Fellow Intro
    February 20th, 2007 under Programs/Events, Dole Fellows. [ Comments: none ]

    Scott Morris intro -  Click on photo to view


    When:   Wednesday from 4:00 – 5:30 pm
    Dates:  February 28; March 7, 14 and 28; April 4, 11 and 18
    Where:  Dole Institute of Politics, 2350 Petefish Drive, Simons Media Center

    Tip O’Neill is credited with the statement that “all politics is local”.   This statement holds true for all disasters.   All disasters are local and all disasters are political.  When a disaster strikes, the citizens expect their government to respond quickly to their needs.  The most effective response is one that starts at the local level and grows with the support of surrounding communities, the county, the state and then the federal government.  The bottom-up approach yields the best and quickest results – saving lives, protecting property and getting life back to normal as soon as possible.   Each and every level of government – local, county, state and federal – must understand each others’ roles when a disaster strikes.  All levels of government must work as a team to address the public health and safety needs of the communities.  Unfortunately, when one of these levels is ill prepared, the entire system will collapse; enter Hurricane Katrina. 

    The Spring 2007 Session will take a closer look at how the political world intertwines with the world of emergency management.  I have a tremendous line-up of guest speakers scheduled to lead the study group sessions throughout the semester.  Topics of discussion will include the unprecedented 2004 Hurricane Season in Florida; Hurricane Katrina; the life-cycle of a natural disaster – preparedness/response/recovery; the “art” of predicting natural disasters; and the media’s role in a disaster.  

    To those who can’t attend all programs will be recorded and will be posted here and on the Dole Video Archives

    Read more »

    Political knowledge at a low, Bolster democracy by staying informed
    February 19th, 2007 under Politics and the Media. [ Comments: none ]


    By Sarah Stacy - KU Student 

    Our generation is growing up with dramatically greater access to information than any other, yet paradoxically, political knowledge hasn’t increased. The vast number of choices has allowed indolent Americans to avoid in-depth news coverage altogether in exchange for infotainment and petty political theater.

    In a study published in the July 2005 “American Journal of Political Science,” Princeton Professor Markus Prior states that because politics increasingly has to compete with entertainment, there’s a growing disparity in political knowledge between those who seek out political information and those who prefer amusement over substantive programming.

    There are still some estimable news sources that we can rely on and we might even learn something valuable from.

    Although that conclusion isn’t exactly earth-shattering, it does indicate that both the media and citizens are doing a crummy job at bolstering democracy. Read more »

    US presidential candidates learn blogs can bite back
    February 19th, 2007 under Blogs in the News. [ Comments: none ]

    WASHINGTON (story link) –  A controversy which has flared over two bloggers working for the campaign of US presidential hopeful John Edwards has highlighted the pitfalls facing candidates as they embrace the Web to reach voters.

    The bloggers, Amanda Marcotte and Melissa McEwan, resigned following outrage over allegedly anti-Catholic rhetoric they had posted on their own blog posts before they joined the Edwards campaign last month.

    The 350,000-strong Catholic League, a conservative religious group, had demanded that Edwards fire the two women and threatened to unleash a public relations blitz against his campaign.

    Marcotte and McEwan said though Edwards, a Democrat, did not ask them to step down, they had decided to resign to spare his campaign any further undue criticism.

    Political commentators and experts said the incident illustrates the treacherous terrain facing candidates as they redefine their political strategies to reach younger and tech-savvy voters.

    Read more »

    Candidates find both opportunity, minefield on Web
    February 19th, 2007 under Blogs in the News. [ Comments: none ]

    From SiliconValley.com

    For candidates embracing the brave new world of online politics, the Internet giveth and the Internet taketh away.

    The 2008 presidential campaign is revving up earlier than ever, and candidates are using new online tools or techniques already used by advocacy groups and non-profits. They include popular social networking sites to organize, a growing reliance on high-profile bloggers and use of widely shared video — such as the Webcasts of Democrats Hillary Clinton, John Edwards and Barack Obama announcing their campaigns.

    ‘Web campaigning is becoming highly sophisticated, a central part of any candidate’s plan to win,’ said Rick White, a former Republican congressman from the Seattle area and a consultant on tech issues.

    White said the ‘next big thing’ in online politics may be carefully targeted ads, including video clips that will be different than conventional TV spots.

    ‘Each campaign is looking for the best ways to use Web 2.0 applications,’ said Julie Barko Germany, deputy director of the Institute for Politics, Democracy and the Internet at George Washington University.

    As evidence of the growing importance, Germany notes that the Webmaster consigned to the bottom rungs of a campaign a few years ago is now an ‘online communities strategist’ who can be just as influential as any other adviser to the candidate.

    Read full article 

    “Blog to the Chief” after the program…
    February 16th, 2007 under Blog Program. [ Comments: 2 ]

    Posts from some of the “Blog to the Chief” participants  

     bloggers.jpgUDK Photo
    I guess I’m not in Kansas anymore - Joan McCarter

    In the middle land  - By Jerome Armstrong 

    Blog to the chief - By Scott Johnson


    Blogs forge new political grounds - By Tyler Harbert - University Daily Kansan 

    Guest John Donovan and wife Beth and his blog covering the event

    Liveblogging “Blog to the Chief” - From Keyboard - somdaj.com

    Video: Blogging to the Chief Program - February 13, 2007
    February 14th, 2007 under Uncategorized. [ Comments: 15 ]

    Click on photo to view


    Presidential Blogging 101
    February 9th, 2007 under Programs/Events, 2008 Presidential Race. [ Comments: 95 ]

    By David D. Perlmutter

    presidential_seal.jpgOn the evening of Tuesday, February 13 at 7:30pm, the Robert J. Dole Institute of Politics hosted a panel on “Blog to the Chief: The Impact of Political Blogs on the 2008 Election” as part of its Annual Presidential Lecture series.

    Guests include prominent political bloggers and professionals such as:

    Patrick Hynes (President of New Media Strategics, blog consultant for Sen. John McCain’s Straight Talk America PAC, and the founder and proprietor of the blog Ankle Biting Pundits)

    Jerome Armstrong (MyDD - My Direct Democracy) co-author of “Crashing the Gate: Netroots, Grassroots and the Rise of People-Powered Politics”

    Erick Erickson (managing editor of RedState.com, the largest conservative community blog on the Internet)

    Joan McCarter (contributing editor at Daily Kos, writing as “mcjoan” and one of a dozen bloggers who attended a private meeting with President Bill Clinton in September, 2006)

    Scott Johnson (co-founder of the blog Powerline, Time magazine’s first and so far only blog of the year [2004])

    The moderator of the event was David D. Perlmutter, KU professor of Journalism & Mass Communications who is writing a book on political blogs for Oxford University Press.

    Moderator’s Introduction

    Within less than a decade, an explosion of new, interactive media technologies and venues such as blogging, MySpace, YouTube, Facebook, podcasting, and others have affected many aspects of our culture, media, and society—and politics is no exception. While a majority of Americans do not blog, studies of political bloggers have shown them to be much more likely to vote and give money to campaigns; furthermore, they have proven able, for good or bad, to set the agenda of political attention of both candidates and mainstream media. At the same time, most so-called traditional commercial and political institutions and organizations, as well as a huge number of prominent individuals, are “blogging up.”

    Read more »

    Blogs impact on the “08” race; Separating Hype from Fact
    February 8th, 2007 under 2008 Presidential Race. [ Comments: 2 ]


    By Erick Erickson - Red State 

    The 2008 Presidential campaign season will be the first where an “e-campaign coordinator,” the fancy way of saying blogger/campaign spammer, will be as common as a communications director for a Presidential campaign.  And no aspect of a campaign will be heavily promoted and hyped.  Nonetheless, I remain a skeptic of bloggers and campaigns, despite being a blogger myself.

    It is important to separate hype from fact.  It is true that blogs can be beneficial to campaigns as a fundraising tool or an activism tool.  But the effectiveness of blogs and bloggers should be kept in perspective.  For all the hype of Howard Dean’s campaign and blogs in 2004, he imploded in Iowa.  Blogs are just tools.  They can be beneficial for fundraising or organizing, but they are not going to reach out to mainstream America.


    Read more »

    Blogging ‘08
    February 3rd, 2007 under 2008 Presidential Race. [ Comments: 56 ]

     Joan McCarter - Contributing Editor, Daily Kos, “Blog to the Chief” participant. 


     It is astounding that this is just the third election in which blogs will be active, and that in the three short years in which blogs came into their own, they’ve become a serious player in not only local and state races, but in the Presidential stakes.

    Every serious campaign has hired bloggers or Web managers, and they’ve all established Web presences, ranging from interactive Web sites with blogs to reaching out to existing blog communities. All these efforts will be met with varying success, largely due in part to how the campaigns choose to use the technology, and how they choose to relate to the netroots. And it will depend upon how well they understand the netroots.

    Read more »

    Blogs Impact on the 2008 race
    February 2nd, 2007 under 2008 Presidential Race. [ Comments: 67 ]

     Jerome will be one of the participants in the upcoming Dole Lecture series program “Blog to the Chief” on February 13.

    jarmstrong.jpgBy Jerome Armstrong - My DD 

    Let’s talk about how the blogs are different in this Presidential contest (and I’ll focus on the Democratic nomination process) compared to the last cycle, and that will point toward some of the possibilities for how blogs will be used in 2008.

    Size: The blogosphere, in 2007, is 100 times as big as it was at this time in the last cycle, in 2003. Remember, four years ago, VT Governor Howard Dean was just coming onto the radar are a formidable darkhorse candidate for the Democratic Presidential nomination. Dean was supported by a band of bloggers online, that loved how Dean was making a ruckus in the Democratic party by challenging Bush head-on. Now, the top 100 blogs on the liberal side are visited by over 10 million hard core democrats on a regular basis. By and large, it is the same majority that votes in primaries and caucuses that visit the partisan democratic-leaning blogosphere.

    Read more »


    The Dole Institute of Politics is a bipartisan facility. Our mission; to encourage political and civic involvement, especially among young people; to encourage civil discussion on important issues; to emphasize that politics is an honorable profession; and to provide opportunities for all to interact with political leaders, practitioners and writers.
    While content on the blog will be moderated, we in no way wish to stifle vigorous debate. We request that participants engaging in the online discussion avoid personal, vitriolic attacks, and maintain respect for different opinions.
    David D. Perlmutter, Editor Login
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    A Summary of the 2006 Blogger-Reader Survey

    Fall 2006 Blogger/Reader Survey Details and Research Reports
    In December of 2006 Dr. Dhavan Shah of the University of Wisconsin and his “Blogclub” of graduate students and Dr. David D. Perlmutterof the University of Kansas conducted a survey of major political blogs and their readers. The project was partially sponsored by a grant from the Knight/Carnegie Foundation’s Future of Journalism initiative. The summary of the results are posted here--please fully cite us if you refer to the findings.

    Recent Posts
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    Success of ‘going negative’ changes campaign strategies
    Feature Blog Stories
    A Silent Blogging Majority?

    Zombietime, Blogs, and the Anti-War Movement

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