After halting President Bush's spying bill this week, Chris Dodd is getting some political love online. The campaign's official blogger tells The Nation that Dodd "raised almost $200,000" during the successful fight against retroactive amnesty for illegal spying, (with the average donation under $50), while over 21,000 comments were posted on Dodd's website and roughly 25,000 new voters joined his email list.Dodd also took a victory lap on MSNBC's "Countdown" last night, in a good segment billed "DODD AMONG MEN," discussing why so few politicians in either party are willing to go to the mat to defend the Constitution. (Video below.)
While the netroots has Dodd's back on the Hill, few Democratic bloggers support his presidential campaign, apparently accepting the conventional wisdom that he is not a viable candidate. Adding condescension to injury, some are even talking up Dodd for VP or Majority Leader as "a consolation prize," as Time's Jay Carney puts it. Please. Dodd is not running for those spots. And if he were, his chances have only dropped by bucking the Democratic establishment's attempt to give Bush more power and amnesty for unchecked surveillance.
Yet with the Iowa Caucus two weeks away, it's clear there that no single presidential candidate has won over the bulk of the netroots. John Edwards has come closest, rising to 39% in last week's DailyKos poll, followed by Barack Obama with 30%. (No other candidate broke double digits.) And Edwards is surging across the Internet, as Joe Trippi explained in a national conference call with reporters this week. "We've had some of our highest web traffic spikes since the end of the November fundraising push," he said, adding that after last week's Democratic debate, the Edwards campaign had one of its all time best single-day totals for registering new supporters online. Most importantly, more Iowans are flocking to the site, spending 26% more time there than other visitors, according to Trippi. (I reviewed some of the campaign's Iowa traffic metrics; they seem solid across the state and and Iowans are spending more time, though not necessarily more than the national trends for other top candidates.)
Unlike last cycle, when Trippi helped recruit over 8,000 activists from across the country to storm Iowa, now the campaigns are trying to lever their web support with a lighter touch and a more local footprint. Edwards is pushing a nuts-and-bolts "Caucus Command Center," while Hillary's "Every County Counts" program has a by-Iowans, for-Iowans feel. Obama's effort is probably the most innovative, with a social networking portal showing official and grassroots events across the state, and a Caucus Center offering everything from fact sheets to free child care on caucus night.
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