Tag Archives: John McCain

Abraham, Martin, John, and… John

As the larger than life Arizona senator John McCain is laid to rest yesterday, some things about him stood out. And it’s not because of the eloquent eulogies of his daughter and two former presidents.

The one I remember most is his 2008 response to a question in a town hall meeting when he was running against Barack Obama. I showed this video to my communications class at the community college last week. Not because it happened to be the week of the funeral, but to analyze the ‘Transactional model‘ of communications. The audience, can and will talk back to the speaker, so it’s important to plan for it. Do watch the clip below, and notice how McCain responds instinctively.

One of my students pointed out to the reaction of a lady in the audience on the top left of the screen – a reflection of our reaction too, as a television audience.

McCain spread a culture of decency and integrity as if a counter to our disillusionment with government and those who represent some of its branches.

Recall that 1968 song, Abraham, Martin and John? Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King and John F. Kennedy embodied something that larger than themselves, as John McCain did for our times. One of the much repeated quotes of his was about standing up for “a cause greater than our self interest.”


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John McCain’s tweets tips the scales

How does one keep up with two McCains on Twitter? Actually there are three (The first is his old account, the second is his senator handle, the third McCain is his daughter)

Being from his state, I have been following the senator from Arizona for while, but this week he sort of starting moving at the speed of @GStephanopoulos –that’s George Stephanopolous, for anyone who’s not been smitten by the media folk who have taken to Twitter like their ancestors took to typewriters. Some eight tweets in an hour today.

Actually it was a ‘twinterview’ that George had set up in advance. It began with @SenJohnMcCain apologizing ” hi george im a little slow” but it picked up with exchanges about TARP, AIG bailout, daughter @McCainBlogette‘s spat with Ann Coulter.

There has been lots of talk about how late McCain is to the party, and how had he used it better during the campaign, he would have been the tech president. (Sobering thought: He has 100,000 more followers than Stephanopoulos, but nearly 200,000 less than Obama.) But that’s all water under the bridge.

What”s significant is how he’s adopted something that is quite challenging even for people who are great with email (and he doesn’t use email he told us). It’s going to definitely shake things up for many others in government. Especially, as Dan Nowiki notes in a piece today in The Arizona Republic, that McCain’s tweets are now in his own voice.

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Posted by on March 17, 2009 in Journalism, Media, Social Media


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Meghan the Blogger

Blogs and politics are a strange decoction. They have become the campaign tool du jour. But done right, and from the right angle (pun not intended!) they do give us slices of candidate that the media (liberal, bellicose or otherwise) don’t don’t have time to cover. But apart form pundit blogs, journalist blogs and campaign blogs a daughter blog can strike a different note. At Meghan McCain’s blog, you get to see what the dad looks like doing voice-overs.

You also get to see people carrying the portable podium, looking jet lagged,  the tete-a-tete with Joe the Plumber, this election’s everyman, and even this other Joe.

Eventually, blogs work because they give an inside view, not whetted by legal and PR. Not fed through the talking points machine.


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Soft drinks and presidential candidates

Someone asked me to describe the “positioning” of the three candidates in the race for the White House. Were we facing tough choices between the first possible Black president, the first potential woman in the White House, and an “veteran” candidate?

I tried to explain how while their positioning is blurred, they were good studies of branding. Their cross-over ideologies and mutual respect for one another (Clinton’s not in this camp) make them less a Coke vs Pepsi, and more like Mountain Dew vs Red Bull –which are now called “functional soft drinks.” Yes, McCain exhibits exhibits characteristics of an energy drink, with functional benefits. His packaging is very strong, and his positioning is very shrewd.

On the beverage side, all this election interest has not escaped Mountain Dew, which is holding its own “Dew-mocracy” to find the elixir of freedom.

As for Red Bull, WIRED’s (What’s Inside) analysis of Taurine, an elixir, called it a mild sedative, an age-defying antioxidant with “the potential to steady irregular heartbeats.”

Sounds like Obama?

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Posted by on April 10, 2008 in Media, Political Campaigns


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Quotes for the week ending 12 Jan, 2008

“information overload makes it difficult for anyone to separate essential air from smog.”

Steve Rubel, on the value of curators who distill information for others.

“I’m past the age when I can claim the noun ‘kid,’ no matter what adjective precedes it. But tonight…

John McCain, addressing a New Hampshire crowd on Tuesday, on his comeback.

“But to have access to the electoral marketplace, he has to pass the Halle Berry test.”

Bob Garfield, ad critic in Advertising Age, on Barack Obama’s ‘acceptably black’ marketability.

“Social media does not mean shameless social mountaineering, and I can bet you are not going to make yourself very popular as a communicator by sending out stuff like this.”

A member of Melcrum’s Communicators Network, annoyed at the spam-like New Year’s greeting sent by another member to hundreds of others.

“Marketing is low-hanging fruit for politicians.”

Alam Khan advising mobile marketers about the need for self-regulation, to avoid political intervention.

“Email blows away all other social networks.”

Max Kalehoff, on Online Media Spin, on why plain vanilla email is still king of the hill.

“We are always cultivating our media, who are not just our vehicles but in fact they are our primary audiences.”

Madhavi Mukherjee, at India PR Blog, on the ‘stalagmite theory‘ of how PR cultivates its audience over time.

“It takes an industry to raise a child”

Paraphrase of Intel’s response with regard to pulling out of Nicholas Negroponte’s One Laptop Per Child project, and launching it’s own rival People’s PC.


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Quotes for the week ending 16 November, 2007

“It acted as a steroid for our rebranding and exceeded our expectations.”

Wendy Clark, VP of advertising for AT&T, speaking of the iPhone at the Association of National Advertisers conference.

“That’s an excellent question”

John McCain’s response to a question from a woman in the audience who asked him “How do we beat the bitch?” referring to Senator Hillary Clinton.

“by facing the targeting and ad creation outward, Facebook has put the responsibility of correctly creating and targeting Social Ads in the hands of the many.

Joe Marchese, President of Archetypal Spin, in MediaPost’s Online Spin, commenting on Facebook‘s announcement this week.

“We’re teaching people better communication skills around touch and social affection … We hope to make the world a more cuddly and intimate place.”

Reid Mihalko, creator of the trademarked Cuddle Parties, a social trend that debuts in Phoenix on November 20th. The story broke in The State Press this week.

“I think that people who don’t think Facebook is extremely creepy lack any kind of foresight whatsoever.”

Someone going by the name of AJ, responding to David Berkowitz‘ experiment targeting a Facebook group around Orwell’s “1984.”

“It’s like we’re at that junction in the early 20th century when you had your pick of electric, steam, or gasoline-powered cars, and the steering wheel might be on the right or left side”

BusinessWeek cover story on iTV, or Internet TV, and why it’s not quite ready for prime time.

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Posted by on November 17, 2007 in Communications


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Quotes of the week ending 11/03/07

“If Fox demands control, presidential debates don’t need Fox. It is time that the presidential candidates from both parties stand with Senator McCain and defend his right to use this clip to advance his presidential campaign.”

Larry Lessig, commenting on Fox’s demanding that John McCain cease and desist using of a clip from a TV debate that carries the Fox logo.

“We would have pretty serious concerns about a government-run blacklist that affects the online advertising industry.”

Trevor Hughes, of the Network Advertising Initiative, commenting on the suggestion that the FTC to create a “do not track” list to prevent behavioral targeting.

“The choking, over heated, gaseous hot air suffocates. There definitely appears to be a growing backlash against these spineless PR’s from journalists who’ve simply had enough.”

Mark Borkowski, commenting on Chris Adderson’s move to publish the names of “lazy” PR flacks who spam him irrelevant pitches.

“He has a star quality … He can say ‘me and my colleagues actually invented the Internet and here’s how it works.’ “

Paul Twomey. Chief of ICANN, on the resignation this week of of Vint Cerf, who had joined the Internet Corporation of Assigned Names and Numbers.

“There’s enough education that people should know better, and we all have media databases. It’s laziness versus strategic.”

Jeremy Pepper, adding to comments from the blogosphere on Chris Anderson’s controversial move –above– with practical tips on Social Media 101.

“No press releases, no media briefings, just quietly get the blog up. What we might, in traditional-speak, call a ’soft launch.’ “

Neville Hobson, on Dell’s launching a new investor relations blog called Dell Shares. The news was exclusively announced on FIR, the Hobson & Holtz podcast, embargoed until November 1st.

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Posted by on November 3, 2007 in Communications


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