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    Success of ‘going negative’ changes campaign strategies
    Thompson “the next Reagan?”
    September 6th, 2007 under 2008 Presidential Race, Guest Post, Fred Thompson. [ Comments: none ]

    By Beka Romm - Senior, University of Kansas

    becka.JPGIowans hailed Thompson as “the next Reagan” at Ames, despite his tiny booth manned by two college students and rather paltry showing in the Ames straw poll. Will this romantic view of the former Senator sweep the country?

    Former Dole Institute director and now-campaign manager Bill Lacy seems to think so.

    That’s good, since he’s running the campaign. This article by Time attempts to shed some light on the Thompson-phenomenon, describing him as “all things to all people” and wondering whether he can live up to the expectations.

     But can Thompson live up to the expectations and convince the country, especially the conservative wing of the party so important for getting through the primary, that he’s the one candidate capable of the job? A June 19th poll seems to answer in the affirmative, reporting Thompson as the front-runner among Republican candidates.

     But how real is his lead? Rudy Giuliani trails by only one percent, certainly within the margin of error. But it does say something about Thompson’s appeal, as Rudy has been in the race for months and Thompson has yet to announce his candidacy. Maybe he is the next Reagan… but maybe not. The momentum stirred up in the first few months seems to have slowly seeped away, leaving analysts and political junkies wondering whether Thompson missed his moment.

    The big news this week is his upcoming announcement, set for Thursday texas-straw-poll-showing-adds-growing-momentum-fred-thompson). But as cynics point out, his announcement date was originally set for July 4, then pushed back to Labor Day. Will he actually announce, or will it once again be pushed back? The bottom line: the press is treating him like a real candidate, his “exploratory committee” is functioning like he’s a real candidate. Will the planning translate into a real, strong lead once he announces Thursday? Only time will tell. One thing is for sure in my mind: he better get the wheels back on the pickup truck soon if he wants to accelerate in time for the January primaries.

    Some Perils of Political Interactivity
    August 2nd, 2007 under Uncategorized, 2008 Presidential Race, Blogs in the News, Blogging & Politics. [ Comments: 1 ]

    I just finished my final draft of Blogwars: The New Political Battleground (Oxford University Press). It’s a book on the history, present and future of the role of the weblog in American politics. 

    As I have said, writing a book on blogs is like reporting NASCAR with stone tablets–so much happens so fast. One topic of current interest is the nature of interactivity: what are its benefits and drawbacks for politicians or for the public? In the bloglands, you can’t pack the rooms with your supporters, shut out hecklers, and enforce message discipline. Here are some examples of interactive blowback…
    Read more »

    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.

    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.

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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

    The Boss Is Watching Your Blog!
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