Saturday, January 20, 2007

who did it best?

This morning, Hillary Clinton announced that she had formed an exploratory committee, the first step in her campaign to move back into the White House. Like John Edwards and Barack Obama — her biggest rivals for the Democratic nomination, Clinton used web video to make her announcement, begging the question — who did it best?

Clinton: You'll notice that I am using a still image here. That's because the campaign didn't post the video to YouTube or, it appears, any other video sharing site, nor did they provide the code on the campaign web site to enable me to embed it here. This sure does make it difficult for me to share it with you or for potential supporters to share it with the folks in their networks. Maybe the campaign will get around to it soon, but this is Politics 2.0 101. The fact that they couldn't manage to get that right makes the "Let's talk, let's chat, let's start a dialog about your ideas and mine," line come across as gimmicky. Nevertheless, Clinton's message and delivery are decent. You don't quite feel like you're hanging out with her in the living room, but she's confident and comfortable. She — like Edwards and Obama, as you'll see below — makes the point that we all have to work together to solve the nation's problems and I admire that she doesn't shy away from saying that she aims to address the country's health care problems, because it leaves her vulnerable to her critics who will say, "You tried that. You failed." Finally, I like the fact that she looks like she could be sitting on a couch in the Oval Office — and the framed photo of Bill (with Chelsea) in the background is a nice touch — just in case you forgot who her husband is. B-/You get a B+ if you make the video more accessible.

Talking Points Memo posted Clinton's video to YouTube. Here you go.

Obama: This one is a little more low rent than Clinton's spot; it's just Obama sitting down in front of a still camera. He's a little awkward: his eyes never stop looking off to his left to read the cue cards and, because of the framing of the shot, the hand gestures seem more like a tic than a punctuating device. Actually, he would have benefited from standing up to deliver the message. As I said, he's using the same "we're all in this together" message that Clinton and Edwards use and even seems to suggest that "the people" are trying to solve the nation's problems by drafting him into the race. He manages to come across as more intimate than Clinton — even with his awkwardness — because of lines like "I wanted to tell you first," as well as the video's lack of production value. The only really lame moment comes when he criticizes "our leaders in Washington" for not being able to work together to get anything done. Um, Barack, you ARE a leader in Washington. The campaign doesn't appear to have a YouTube account, relying on supporters to post the video to the site, but they do provide code to embed the video, which is why I can share it with you here (although I had to use the YouTube version because the brightcove/campaign's version was too large for my blog layout). B/Stand up, you're a great speaker, but you wouldn't necessarily know that from this video.

Edwards: Edwards' video is actually an announcement that he's going to make an announcement. I have to admit that I found the shoveling kids in the background not only distracting but a little patronizing as well. There are no cue cards here, he's probably rehearsed, but he's speaking off the cuff, hence a few (endearing) "ums". He's doing the "we all have work to do" shtick, but he's actually giving the viewer action steps they can take to start working. In fact, I like the sense that it feels more like he's launching an advocacy campaign than a presidential campaign. Join One Corps. Visit his web site. Send a text message. Join in on his national day of action (coming up on the 27th). Despite not having those trusty cue cards, he's specific about the issues that are important to him as a candidate and gets to some detail, versus only speaking in broad strokes, like the other two. It bounces around a little, but I forgave him because he seems to be doing it all from memory. Edwards goes all the way as far as taking advantage of social media, as I have said before. His campaign has a YouTube account and, since they posted this video on December 27, they have posted others. In addition, in the video itself, he calls on supporters to forward the video. This should be the "I want your vote," of the 2008 campaign. It may seem obvious, but it needs to be said. A-/Just tell the kids to put down the shovels.

What do you think?


Lesli3 said...

Allison - So good to see/meet you [again?] last night... what an awesome concept, and props on leading the discussion, etc.

I also wanted to give you a special shout out on this entry - great job analyzing and documenting the candidate 2.0 phenomenon. Solid reporting, seriously.

In a slightly more sarcastic tone (ahem, having a little fun with it), I touched on the topic briefly as a 'guest blogger' so to speak on Jesse's blog, check it out if you get the chance...

See you around/next 'Thursday' mtg. Best, LB

abf said...

Thanks, Leslie. I saw the Kerry post this morning because I subscribe to Jesse's blog feed. I was actually surprised that he was gettin' all political on me. ;) Thanks for coming by -- and for the shout out. I'll see you next time around.