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Wednesday, February 18, 2004


FEC VOTES TO LIMIT INFLUENCE OF PACS 

Election commission voted 4-2 to limit soft money activities

According to USA Today,
"The Federal Election Commission took a step Wednesday toward limiting the activities of political groups that seek to help or defeat President Bush in this year's election.
The commission voted 4-2 to advise some groups that they may not use unlimited contributions known as "soft money" for TV ads, mailings and other communications that "promote, support, attack or oppose" a candidate for federal office. The ruling could have a disproportionate effect on Democrats, who have been more active at creating the new non-party political committees.

The most prominent Democratic groups, America Coming Together (ABC) and the Media Fund, said they would continue to operate as planned."

Aside from Bradley Smith, I think we should recognize this as a good sign. We should not let George Soros' billions decide who is going to win the election. It seems like Ellen Weintraub understands.

Here is the interesting USA Today article.

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288 ILLEGAL ALIENS FOUND IN PHOENIX 

Police have discovered 4 smuggling drop-houses in the last week

One troublesome story told by the Arizona Republic,
"A few hours later, Phoenix police discovered 33 more undocumented immigrants being held inside a house at 4423 N. 32nd St. after a woman called police to report that smugglers had taken her baby. The woman told police she had gone to the house to pay a $1,400 smuggling fee for her mother, but smugglers demanded an additional $700. When she left to try to get the money, the smugglers took her baby as collateral, Ahr said. The baby was returned unharmed."

Here is the full story from the Arizona Republic.

What are your feelings about the illegal alien issue? Feel free to add your insightful remarks about immigration, the new Bush policy and what America should do about immigration in the future.

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LIBERAL MEDIA WATCH - NETWORK NEWS LEAD STORIES 

What the 3 lefties are talking about Wednesday night

CBS: Kerry vs. Edwards
NBC: White House revises new jobs projection
ABC: Howard Dean's campaign ends

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BARNEY FRANK OPPOSES GAY MARRIAGE PUBLICITY STUNT 

Openly gay congressman said he's sorry to see what S.F. mayor did this week.

Read the Newsday article by Beth Fouhy.

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STEINBRENNER AND YANKEES MOCK JOHN HENRY AND RED SOX 

Red Sox owner, John Henry, now favors salary cap.

Henry's hypocritical stance about the salary cap reveals his fear that not getting Alex Rodriguez will haunt him with the Boston Red Sox fans. Here is a response from George Steinbrenner.

Statement by George M. Steinbrenner
Principal owner, New York Yankees on comments by Boston Red Sox owner John Henry

"We understand that John Henry must be embarrassed, frustrated and disappointed by his failure in this transaction. Unlike the Yankees, he chose not to go the extra distance for his fans in Boston. It is understandable, but wrong that he would try to deflect the accountability for his mistakes on to others and to a system for which he voted in favor. It is time to get on with life and forget the sour grapes." Yankees press release is on their website

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HAIL TO THE CHIEF 


REUTERS/ Larry Downing


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BLOGS PUMP BUCKS INTO CAMPAIGNS 

By Chris Ulbrich, Wired Magazine
02:00 AM Feb. 18, 2004 PT

Not even his own staff would call Democratic congressional candidate Ben Chandler a nethead.

"He uses the Internet almost exclusively for fantasy baseball," said campaign spokesman Jason Sauer, who added that he wasn't sure whether, until recently, Chandler even knew what a blog was.

But that was before Chandler's campaign turned a $2,000 investment in blog advertising into over $80,000 in donations in only two weeks. Chandler -- who won a seat in the House of Representatives Tuesday evening -- definitely knows what a blog is now, Sauer said. "It's that thing that brings in money."

Political blog advertising represents the latest twist on the Internet fund-raising strategy pioneered by the campaign of Democratic presidential candidate Howard Dean, which raised millions of grass-roots dollars from its Blog for America website. Chandler's campaign is the first of several that have started advertising on political blogs as a cost-effective way to reach a national audience.

But even as campaigns queue up to place ads on the most popular sites, and political bloggers seem poised to reap an election-year windfall, some warn that politicians should not expect blog ads to translate automatically into dollars.

The key is to make readers feel they have a stake in the race, said Markos Moulitsas, publisher of the popular Democratic activists' blog Daily Kos and one of Chandler's most visible online backers. (Moulitsas is married to Wired News staff reporter Elisa Batista.)

"What I fear is that candidates will see blog readers as ATM machines," he said.

Nevertheless, politicians will find it hard to ignore the sheer magnitude of Chandler's financial success.

Tuesday's special election in Kentucky's sixth district marked the end of an intense two-month campaign that pitted Chandler against Republican state Sen. Alice Kerr for the House seat vacated by Ernie Fletcher, now governor of Kentucky.

Chandler, who served two terms in Kentucky as state auditor and one as attorney general, enjoyed the advantage of name recognition and held a sizable lead in January polls. But Kerr steadily closed the gap, raising over $1 million between mid-November and the end of January.

By the first week of February, polls showed the margin between the candidates narrowing fast. With Chandler trailing Kerr's fund-raising by hundreds of thousands of dollars, Chandler campaign manager Mark Nickolas decided to reach out to a new group of potential contributors: readers of political blogs.

Nickolas knew that congressional races do not traditionally attract grass-roots donations from outside the district. But he reasoned that many of the activists and election junkies who read political blogs would be interested in helping a Southern Democrat like Chandler recapture a seat in the House.

Nickolas bought ads on 11 mostly left-leaning blogs, including Daily Kos, Political Wire and Eschaton, planning to make up the money out of his own salary if the ads didn't pay for themselves.

He needn't have worried. By the end of the day, the campaign had made back its money and then some.

The following Monday, Nickolas showed Chandler 65 e-mails that had piled up since the previous night.

"I said, 'Oh my god, these are all contributions,'" Nickolas remembered saying to Chandler. "And he said, 'Since when?' and I said, 'Since last night.' He was in disbelief that people around the country would care about this race."

By yesterday, the total take had surpassed $80,000. Most donors gave around $20, though large donations raised the average to $50, Nickolas said.

The campaign used the additional funds to add blanket coverage of radio and cable to its advertising mix. By Tuesday's election, Chandler had widened his lead in the polls to eight points, a gain Nickolas credited to the campaign's final media push.

Nickolas said the campaign's finance director is already fielding calls from other Democratic campaigns that want to put Chandler's fund-raising tactics into action.

Several other Democratic candidates have started running blog ads over the past week, including Oklahoma Rep. Brad Carson, Georgia attorney Doug Haines and Chesapeake, Maryland, city councilman Harry Sampson.

So far, the campaigns advertising on blogs are exclusively Democratic. Henry Copeland, founder of Blogads, which handled Chandler's ad campaign, theorized that the difference had to do with Dean's online fund-raising success.

"Dean's Internet success undoubtedly got Democrats more focused on blogs and the Internet. Competition breeds innovation, and the primary season has forced Democrats to get aggressive faster," he said.

Nickolas predicted that as more candidates pile into blog space, prices will inevitably go up. He estimated that the advertising he bought in February would sell in the fall for five to ten times what he paid for it.

"I think you'll see market forces will take over, and blogs will start charging real money for this advertising," he said.

That is good news for bloggers like Josh Marshall, whose popular Talking Points Memo blog ran the Chandler ad. Marshall, a freelance political journalist, has seen his traffic quadruple over the past year as readers increasingly turn to blogs for breaking news and political analysis.

Marshall recently raised the rates for premium placement on his blog to $1,200 a month. Top spots on other popular political blogs run from $300 a month (Calpundit) to $1,300 (Eschaton).

Nickolas cautioned, however, that candidates would likely be disappointed if they expect to duplicate Chandler's fund-raising success.

He pointed out that Chandler was the only Democrat facing a federal election in February, and had the field of potential donors to himself. Candidates competing in the November election will have to jostle for attention from blog readers, and perhaps more importantly, blog publishers.

"There's a lot of pride on the blogs right now about what we just did," Nikolas said. "I'm going to work really hard at keeping this network of people."

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BUSH CAMPAIGN STRATEGY 

Dick Morris gives valuable advice to the Bush campaign

Dick Morris is an astute political observer. He is the best in the country when it comes to analyzing and formulating campaign strategy. Lately, he's been a bit wobbly suggesting that Kerry should pick Hillary for the V.P. nod (Kerry would never dream of doing that) but in today's New York Post, the Morris analysis is pretty much accurate. However, I think that the Bush campaign should do more to trumpet the President's successes first, build up some good will and then start taking shots on John Kerry.

The Bush team should look at Bill Clinton's successful and very smart 1996 strategy. While the Republicans were bashing Bob Dole, Clinton parlayed his huge campaign war-chest and did some political chest-beating. Warm and fuzzy commercials showed Clinton working hard in the Oval Office (Monica was hiding underneath his J.F.K. desk), signing bills in the Rose Garden and touting what accomplishments he made.

Bill Clinton did not have stellar poll numbers in early 1996. Due to his publicity machine he was able to rise in the polls early enough that Dole had to play catch-up during the rest of the 1996 campaign. President Bush should run the same way against Senator Kerry.

Here is the Dick Morris analysis, "Why W. must bash Kerry now"

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WICTORY WEDNESDAY 

Volunteer and/or donate to the Bush/Cheney 2004 campaign

As Polipundit said,
"If you have any doubt that the lying liberal media will do everything they can to defeat President Bush, you only have to look at their handling of the Democrats' vicious AWOL slander against the president. The lying liberal media dragged the story out for days and, even now, refuses to believe the president. That's just a preview of what will be the nastiest presidential campaign ever. And the elites will all be arrayed against the forces of conservatism.

But that doesn't mean we're going to lose. You have the power to affect how people vote. Every small contribution of time or money that you make can swing a few votes. Together, we can make the difference in states like Florida.

Today is Wictory Wednesday. Every Wednesday, dozens of bloggers ask their readers to volunteer and/or donate to the Bush 2004 campaign."


Volunteer for President Bush's campaign


Donate to President Bush's campaign

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