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Wanna be a political blogger?

Brainband Technology Services has launched www.presidentsrace08.com, a nationwide presidential blog-a-thon. Make commments, read or start your own blog about the presidential race on this free, group blogging site geared toward the 2008 election.

“The site is hosting a nationwide presidential blog-a-thon through the end of the race as a public service to give Americans a blog community that is open and multi-partisan where they can discuss this wide open and unique race,” according to Brainband Technology’s press release. “There are literally millions of political bloggers and bloggers-in-waiting on the Web, and this site provides them with a free opportunity to gain more exposure for their views as well as an excellent opportunity for Brainband to showcase the benefits of having a blog in a large community built around a central theme rather than out on an island.”

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Is he in or is he out? He’s in.

Yesterday, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s office and the office of Rep. Zoe Lofgren, D-San Jose, chairwoman of the California Democratic Congressional Delegation, had issued press releases saying he and lawmakers from both sides of the aisle would hold a news conference at 6:15 p.m. EST today in the U.S. Capitol’s Hall of Columns right after their closed meeting on the funding priorities for California.

Then, early this morning, the governor’s office announced he wouldn’t make it to the news conference.

Then, just a few minutes ago, the governor’s office announced he’d be at the news conference after all.

Why the confusion?

“We were able to move his flight back a few minutes so we could participate,” said press secretary Aaron McLear.

Hope he’s not flying JetBlue.

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UPDATE @ 5 P.M. PST: This just in from Lofgren:

“I am hopeful that today’s meeting represents the start of a successful partnership with the Governor and within California’s Congressional Delegation to work together on funding issues that benefit our state.

“In the meeting, Governor Schwarzenegger encouraged Members to work in a bipartisan manner in order to ensure that California gets its fair share of federal funds for current programs and is able to move forward on issues like the state’s innovative health care proposal. I also commend the Governor for his proactive comments on achieving an immigration program that works for our state.

“Rep. McNerney, whose professional background is as an alternative energy scientist, offered an insightful question for the Governor on his climate change proposal. It is apparent that the Governor is committed to effective action in this arena.

“When all Members of the largest Congressional Delegation in Congress work together, we are a strong, solid voice for California’s interests. This is just the beginning. I hope that we will see progress in the way our full Congressional Delegation works with each other and with the Governor for the benefit of all Californians.”

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SF’s Whitehurst spins off campaign firm

whitehurst.jpgSan Francisco-based Barnes Mosher Whitehurst Lauter and Partners — one of California’s foremost political consulting and lobbying firms — will spin off a separate, new company to deal only with managing ballot measure, Democratic candidate and independent expenditure campaigns. BMWL will continue focusing on lobbying, public affairs and issues management, while founding partner John Whitehurst launches the new firm, Whitehurst Campaigns.

“The partners have spent more than a year discussing the most effective way to organize the firm for the future to best serve the needs of our clients and also grow our business,” BMWL principal Sam Lauter said in a news release. “Creating a separate firm with largely separate disciplines will really allow us to do those two things.”

This is sort of a back-to-basics move for Whitehurst, who’d founded a firm called Whitehurst Campaigns in 1990 before forming BMWL in 2000. He got his start back in 1983 working on U.S. Sen. Gary Hart’s first presidential campaign in Iowa, Pennsylvania and California. After that, he became executive director of the Democratic Foundation of Orange County, managing fundraising and voter registration drives. Then he went to work for Clinton Reilly Campaigns in San Francisco, gaining experience in overall management, advertising and other areas for statewide campaigns.

In all, Whitehurst has run more than 100 campaigns and racked up an impressive record of wins; he’s particularly into public finance issues such as bond and tax measures for schools, transportation and hospitals. Among politicians he has helped elect are state Senate President Pro Tem Don Perata, D-Oakland; former San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown; former Oakland Mayor Jerry Brown; and Assemblyman Mark Leno, D-San Francisco.

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Local House members grok the “series of tubes”

honda.jpgThe Congressional Management Foundation, a nonprofit, nonpartisan consulting and research outfit Washington, D.C., has singled out a few Bay Area lawmakers for having some of the best Web sites in Congress.

The 2006 Gold Mouse Report: Recognizing the Best Web Sites on Capitol Hill evaluated the sites of 538 Senate and House Members, 64 committees, and 13 legislative leaders. Only 85 Web sites were singled out for recognition — 18 won Gold, 27 won Silver and 40 won Bronze Mouse Awards. Rep. Mike Honda, D-San Jose, earned Gold; Rep. Anna Eshoo, D-Palo Alto, earned Silver; and Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Oakland, earned Bronze.

Not winning any awards: U.S. Sen. Ted Stevens, R-Alaska, who famously likened the Internet to “a series of tubes.”

The report and awards are part of the foundation’s broader research project, “Connecting to Congress,” funded by a grant from the National Science Foundation. CMF partnered with researchers from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University; the University of California, Riverside; and Ohio State University to study how members of Congress can use the Internet to improve communications with their constituents and to promote greater participation in the legislative process. Web sites were graded on how well they incorporate five basic building blocks that extensive research has identified as critical for effectiveness: audience, content, usability, interactivity, and innovation. Read the full report here.

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Arnold lobbies Bush, pushes ‘post-partisanship’

ap-photo-haraz-n-ghanbari.jpgGov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, in Washington, D.C., for the National Governors Association conference, visited President Bush at the White House today along with other Western governors, and delivered a letter describing his disappointment at Bush’s proposed budget cuts for California’s education, labor, Medicare and Medicaid, children’s health insurance, state and local emergency workers and incarceration of illegal immigrant criminals.

Schwarzenegger also spoke today at the National Press Club, making a plea for extending his “post-partisanship” philiosophy to the nation’s capital. In doing so, he ate some crow for 2005’s disastrous special election…

Ladies and gentlemen, I don’t claim to be Gandhi. In 2005, I contributed to the polarization. I tried to push through some initiatives the wrong way — us versus them. I’m not a person to get all introspective about my failures, but I do know when something doesn’t work. Dividing people does not work.

…and he also framed his philosophy as a prescription for what ails Washington, perhaps fueling the fire of rumors that he might challenge U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., in 2010

Someone must start rebuilding trust and relationships in this town. There are very simple ways to begin. To the Democrats, I say stop running down the President, and just tell the people what you would do. To the Republicans, I say stop questioning the motives of the Democrats on the war and accept their right to believe what they want. To the president, I say get yourself a smoking tent. And to all, I would say remember that the majority of people in this country are in the center.

Read the speech in its entirety, after the jump… Continue Reading