Friday, May 29, 2009

New Ads, New Media, and an Old President

It’s Friday, May 29, 2009. Here’s what we’re looking at:

Two new ads are out today. The first is a radio ad for Virginia’s leading Democratic candidate for governor, Terry McAuliffe. It features President Bill Clinton speaking highly of his old friend and is going to be played on black-oriented radio stations. Of course, President Clinton didn’t keep very strong ties to the black community during his attacks on Obama in the South Carolina primary last year - but perhaps by now they’ve forgiven him.

Meanwhile, one of McAuliffe’s primary opponents, Brian Moran, has posted one of McAuliffe’s new mail pieces on his website, evidently to show McAuliffe being a dirty campaigner. The piece lists four unnamed candidates for governor and lists their opinions. Then the recipient scratches off to see the candidates’ names - like a lottery ticket. Frankly, it’s a pretty innovative mail piece.

The second ad is a TV spot for at-risk Senator Chris Dodd (D-CT), trying to convince voters that his work as Senate Finance Committee Chairman wasn’t all about bailouts.

Next up, the Obama Administration has been using New Media as an integral part of their transparency efforts. The Open Government Dialogue website functions as a suggestion box for citizens to brainstorm ideas to improve policy. The most supported suggestion: it comes from House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH). He says the White House should give Congress a mandatory 72-hour review period before approving any spending bills - a coy protest of how Congressional Democrats pushed through the stimulus bill.

Other top suggestions include encouraging local governments to adapt such transparency efforts, prosecuting Bush-Era officials, and - you guessed it - legalizing marijuana.

Finally, the Torture Debate takes a new turn today in Michigan where President George W. Bush finally defended the use of “enhanced interrogation” techniques himself at a rare public appearance. Speaking to the Economic Club of Southwestern Michigan, he also noted that our national security is at risk when “Ideologues…recruit when they find hopeless people. If you’re hungry, diseased, impoverished, you’re more easy to recruit.”

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