Call it the Palin Effect, but everywhere you turn on the Internet this morning, you bump into Sarah. That's an actual new term, by the way, coined by Slate magazine to explain her effect on Internet traffic. Details below.
Newsreader will feature Michelle Obama on Palin, details on the alleged Yahoo hacker who pleaded not guilty yesterday and got his trial date, as well as the growing hubbub over the A-bomb remark (meaning McCain/Palin associating Barack Obama with Bill Ayers). See an amateur video of a post-McCain/Palin rally crowd where some in attendance say they are persuaded by the link to terrorism. Find an update on the Tina Fey-SNL prospects tonight, and visit Barrow where the fall whale hunt is on.
"You know, I'm a mother with kids, and I've had a career and I've had to juggle," Mrs. Obama said on CNN's "Larry King Live."
"She's doing publicly what so many women are doing on their own privately," she added. "What we're fighting for is to make sure that all women have the choices that Sarah Palin and I have."
On Jon Stewart, a little humor erupted when he asked her if she ever watches the rallies where her husband speaks:
Michelle: "I've stopped reading and watching a lot of stuff...
Jon: So you are a lot like Sarah Palin..." (laughter)
Michelle: (pause) Perhaps.
Michelle Obama said her husband is not bothered by the Palin mention of his "palling around with terrorists."
The candidate's wife said, "Barack served on the board of the Annenberg Challenge with Bill Ayers. ... I don't know anyone in Chicago who's heavily involved in education policy who doesn't know Bill Ayers. ... The American people aren't asking these questions.
"The one thing I'm proud about with Barack is, one of the things we've talked about is our tone,'' she said. "We can disagree without being disagreeable. ... We have to do it without demonizing one another, without labeling one another.''
Which leads us to the next several items about all the discussion over the McCain/Palin references to Barack Obama's association with a man who in the 1960s was a member of a radical group called the Weather Underground.
Dropping the A-bomb, Putting on Ayers, To Ayers or Not. That's how the pundits are titling their commentaries, which continue to be numerous.
> McCain drops the Ayers bomb (Fox News)
Palin began with the Ayers reference over the weekend. The campaign released this video ad on the Web today, stirring more discussion.
"The point of this ad is that Barack Obama, when asked about his association with Mr. Ayers, was less than truthful. He called him a guy in his neighborhood. Now the truth is he is somebody who Barack Obama launched his political career with at a coffee in his living room," campaign adviser Nicolle Wallace said on Fox and Friends this morning. "The point here is if you don't tell the truth about your associations, how can you be trusted to tell the truth to the American people about your plan for raising taxes, about your plans for ending the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, about your plans for health insurance? How can we trust you if you don't tell a simple truth about who the guy in your neighborhood really is?"
> Veiled racism seen in new attacks on Obama (SF Gate)
They cite as examples Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin portraying Obama as a cultural outsider and friend to terrorists and the dismissive way his Republican opponent, Sen. John McCain, referred to Obama at their Tuesday night debate as "that one."
"It is the Willie Hortonization of Obama," said University of San Francisco associate professor of political science James Taylor. Horton, an African-American man, was a Massachusetts felon who committed a rape and armed robbery while on a weekend furlough. Republican strategist Lee Atwater used a TV attack ad featuring Horton to create a negative impression of the 1988 Democratic nominee, former Massachusetts Gov. Michael Dukakis, in the campaign's final months.
> VIDEO: See Palin's terrorist quote yourself. (You Tube)
This version includes extensive links to prove "the truth about Obama's extensive, close relationship with unrepentant terrorist Bill Ayers."
> VIDEO: See amateur footage of a post-rally crowd leaving a McCain/Palin event. (You Tube) Departing people profess they are sure that Barack Obama is a terrorist.
> Crowd reacts to Obama character references (USA Today)
McCain and his running mate, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, challenged Obama's campaign claims, stressed the first-term senator's lack of experience and said his ideas were dangerous.
"We've all heard what he's said. But it's less clear what he's done or what he will do," McCain told supporters in the battleground state of Pennsylvania.
McCain's remarks about Obama were interrupted with shouts of "socialist," "terrorist" and "liar."
> Tactics well-used. (Christian Science Monitor, the Vote blog)
Sarah Palin plays this card like a blackjack dealer, mentioning his name more than she says the word "maverick." They're going heavy on this guy. Guilt by association.
A new ad this morning simply titled "Ayers" shows -- without question -- the emphasis the campaign is focusing on Obama's past associates hoping to strike unease in voters about Obama's judgment.
> Tactics won't work (Alex Koppleman, Salon.com, The War Room)
As it's become increasingly clear that the McCain campaign is in serious trouble, they've been shifting from the issues and trying to stoke voters' fears and prejudices about Barack Obama. This turn toward the negative has been ugly, but the invective the attacks are whipping up among the faithful at Republican rallies is far uglier.
> Tactics will work, and should have been used sooner (Patrick Ruffini, The Next Right)
The Ayers stuff will be useful in solidifying the base and getting Obama's unfavorables to 40. But it's not a game changer. A casualty of McCain's months-long delay in going on offense is that he's had to debut his harshest material in October rather than road-testing it over the summer. In this sense, throwing the kitchen sink now looks desperate and reactive, even thought it was probably inevitable. Still, it would have been far better had McCain given his campaign license to launch these attacks at a time and place of its choosing rather than having events force his hand.
The Russians are scratching their heads over Palin. That "Putin rearing his head" remark seems to have gotten attention in his homeland. An international law grad student surveys reactions in the Russian media on the Washington Post Post Global blog
Another highly unflattering article in the daily Moscow paper "Pravda" was even more scorching in its discussion of the Alaskan governor, calling her "A Mrs. Nobody Know-it-All" and classifying her threats of initiating war with Russia as "the most irresponsible thing anyone could do at this moment in time."
When Katie Couric confronted Palin in what became a proverbial interview, about Palin's claim to understanding Russia, Palin's response was vague and elusive: "We have trade missions back and forth."
That kind of elusiveness, if it continues, will only exacerbate a powerful wave of outrage and sarcasm that Alaska's close neighbors -- the Russians -- have been exhibiting lately.
Cookie maker finds people "sweet" on Palin. The The Boston Herald reports on a young woman entrepreneur who's found a way to cash in big time on this political season. She's baked sugar cookies that bear the edible likeness of McCain or Palin or Obama or Biden. Palin's cookies are the hottest.
Customers, said Kelly Delaney -- a former cake designer for Boston's original Ritz-Carlton Hotel who has baked for the National Football League and rocker Rod Stewart -- are overwhelmingly sweet on Palin, while McCain cookie sales are double Obama's.
"No one's buying Biden," Delaney lamented. "Apparently he's not appealing. You eat with your eyes first."
Palin drives amazing volumes of Web traffic. Slate noticed that September was a great month to write about politics for the Web.
The Los Angeles Times had an all-time-high 137 million page views last month, the Washington Post topped 320 million, and both Slate and the Huffington Post set their own traffic records. It's tempting to give Sarah Palin credit for these new waterlines-she's ubiquitous on every site's most-read lineup, among the most blogged-about people in the country (including celebrities and fictional characters), and far and away the most searched-for political figure in America.
So, how much credit does Palin deserve for driving page views to the media elite she so disdains?
Quite a bit. Even in the midst of other major story lines-total financial catastrophe comes to mind-data from the Web analytics firm Hitwise suggest a very real Palin Effect. One of the clearest ways to measure this is by focusing on search engines. Slightly more than one-third of Palin search queries drove traffic to news and media sites, according to figures that Hitwise general manager Bill Tancer provided for Slate.
Meet Palin's Yahoo hacker; he pleaded not guilty. The Los Angeles Times and Channel Web say David Kernell, the alleged hacker, says he is not guilty of intentionally accessing without authorization the governor's e-mail account. After being indicted yesterday, he turned himself in to authorities for arrest. The date of the trial is set for Dec. 16 in Tennessee.
The indictment accuses Kernell of gaining unauthorized access to Palin's Yahoo (e-mail account by resetting the password using Yahoo's password recovery tool. The court papers allege that Kernell reset Palin's password to "popcorn" by researching and correctly answering a series of personal security questions.
Politics encroaches on the fall whaling season on the North Slope. The BBC's Stephen Chittenden is spending time on the North Slope writing stories about issues affecting people who live there.
When Sarah Palin chanted "Drill baby drill!" during the vice-presidential debate, the Governor of Alaska was calling on Americans to explore the vast reserves of oil and gas that lie under the Chukchi and Beaufort seas off Alaska's north coast.
Her comments weren't appreciated among the Inupiat Eskimos of Barrow, as they prepared for autumn whaling. This is the biggest moment in their calendar.
Harry Brower Junior, chairman of the Alaska Eskimo Whaling Commission, has serious worries about the effects of oil and gas exploration.
"As a whaling captain I'm opposed to offshore industrial activity. There's no means of cleaning up in the arctic in the event of an oil spill," he says.
Will there be an SNL surprise tonight? The Chicago Sun-Times says don't hold your breath for the special half-hour "Weekend Update" tonight. Rumors had been circulating that Palin would show up and spoof Tina Fey's American Express ad. SNL is producing three half-hour specials over the next three Thursdays; tonight's airs at 8:30 p.m. on NBC. Still, there are those other upcoming specials that could tempt her.
So why is Tina Fey's Palin impersonation so popular?
''With all her years on 'Weekend Update' and even more as Liz Lemon on '30 Rock,' she's become someone the audience trusts,'' Michaels said. ''She's credible. And I think none of that would have mattered if her take on Sarah Palin hadn't been fresh and funny.''
While the comic impersonation is tough, Fey's character is likable, much like Will Ferrell was in his days talking about ''strategery'' as George W. Bush, he said.
Richard Greene, a public speaking coach and author of ''Words That Shook the World: 100 Years of Unforgettable Speeches and Events,'' said if he were a Democratic official, he'd be pulling any favor he could to keep Palin off ''Saturday Night Live.''
''She is so charming and so media savvy,'' Greene said. ''When she has a script, she will completely seduce America.''