Almost President: The Men Who Lost the Race but Changed the by Scott Farris

By Scott Farris

Because the 2012 presidential crusade starts: Profiles of twelve males who've run for the presidency and misplaced, yet who, even in defeat, have had a better effect on American background than lots of those that have served as president—from Henry Clay to Stephen Douglas, William Jennings Bryan to Al Gore—Plus, mini-profiles on 22 "honorable mentions."

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The campaign may learn, for example, that the word “Republican” or “Democrat” is toxic with voters, so don’t mention it in an ad; that the color of the candidate’s sport coat is off-putting and distracts from the message; or that no one really cares about a particular issue that the campaign wants to emphasize. 40 They set up enclosed kiosks in shopping malls, asked participants about their political party preferences and other demographic information. Participants then saw different versions of a Clinton television commercial, and were asked to respond to the commercials and give follow up answers.

It is an inexpensive way to reach supporters, connect with like-minded people and solicit money. Start-up companies have also jumped into the business. Joining the ranks of Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn, and others in the social networking market are new social networking sites dedicated exclusively to campaigning and issue advocacy causes. 31 The use of political advertising on the Internet, however, grew slowly. 66 million on banner ads. Yet this was less than 1 percent of the amount spent on television buys in the 100 largest markets during that period.

Except it is all contrived: it is not a neutral, objective interview; the questions asked are soft, easy, often misleading questions, and the reactions from people on the street are either prompted by misleading introductions or carefully edited; and the “reporter” works for the candidate. This is what former governor of Maryland Robert L. , was doing in his comeback 2010 bid for governor against the man who beat him four years earlier, Martin J. O’Malley. The reporter, Andy Barth, in fact had been a long-time news reporter in Baltimore, but now was Erhlich’s press secretary.

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