McCain Supporters On the Web: Early Activity
(Aug. 8, 2006 grab)
(started Feb. 2006)
(Sept. 8, 2006 grab)
(first posting July 29, 2006)
(Nov. 17, 2006 grab)
(first posting Aug. 17, 2006)
(Nov. 17, 2006 grab)
(first posting Aug. 30, 2006)

The McCain Movement
United for a better America in 2008.

About the Site:
Started by Dan Elliott and Charlie Szrom in February 2006.  Elliot, a native of New Haven, Connecticut, is a law student at Syracuse University where he will start his second year in Fall 2006.  He holds a B.A. in Political Science and Philosophy from Boston College.  Szrom is a junior studying Political Science and History at Indiana University in Bloomington; he is also founder and president of Students for Global Democracy, which has as its goal, "That every human being will live under a truly democratic government."  He hails from Valparaiso, Indiana.

Dan Elliott (May 12, 2006 e-mail):
What are your motivations in putting up this site?

Although the 2008 election is still years away, it’s never too early to start.  Our motivation is to provide Senator McCain and his supporters with something that we feel his 2000 campaign lacked: a large, online, grassroots community.  We feel that mobilizing average Americans to organize and speak out for Senator McCain will go a long way in helping to put America’s finest citizen in the Oval Office.

Have you met or worked for Sen. McCain?  If not when and how did you first become aware of and start to get interested in him?

I have never worked for Senator McCain, but I have met him on numerous occasions.

During my senior year of high school, I was writing a story for a local publication on the 2000 election.  I had the opportunity to meet and interview numerous candidates, including George W. Bush, Al Gore, and Bill Bradley.  I found their messages to be typical candidate rhetoric.  When I saw McCain deliver a speech at Sacred Heart University, however, I was blown away.  I had never seen anything quite like it.  All the sudden, politics had taken on a new meaning for me.  I had the pleasure of meeting the Senator and his wife, and since then, I’ve been a die-hard McCainiac.

In recent years, I have gone to see the Senator whenever the opportunity presented itself.  In 2000, I took a rare day off of classes to travel with my father to Washington, D.C. to watch Senator McCain deliver his opening remarks when the McCain-Feingold legislation was introduced in the Senate.  While in college, I caught up with McCain in Cambridge, where he was promoting his book “Worth the Fighting For.”

Though I’ve never directly worked for him, I felt that Senator McCain could now use the support of myself and others as he prepares to run in 2008.

Have you worked on a presidential campaign as a staffer or active volunteer?

I’ve never worked on a presidential campaign.  While in school at Boston College, though, I was an editor for the student newspaper, The Heights.  There, I wrote a column titled “Politically Speaking,” and also published an extensive report on student voter turnout in the 2004 election.  For over a year, I attended every speech, rally, or event that I could in an effort to gauge student interest in the political system.  While it is a common stereotype that college-aged students are apathetic toward politics, I found quite the opposite.  The amount of energy, enthusiasm and effort I witnessed students put into the Bush and Kerry campaigns was simply astounding.  Knowing this, I felt that such resources could be tapped to help Senator McCain as well.

Have you done other independent web activity like this in the past?  Are you a blogger of longstanding?

I’m actually rather web-illiterate, as I have no experience at all with blogging or web design.  The McCain Movement was born, actually, in a small Yahoo! Group of McCain supporters.  There, I met Charlie Szrom, who is a student at Indiana University.  Charlie has experience in web projects, as he is the founder of a wonderful organization, Students For Global Democracy.  Charlie and I lamented the fact that supporters of other candidates, like Condoleezza Rice, had formed web-based advocacy centers, but there was nothing out there for Senator McCain.  So, we decided to do something about it.  Charlie set up the website, and we have been working to add new additions that will be of interest to McCain supporters, and political enthusiasts in general.  We’ve recently added a discussion forum, which we hope will serve as a primary community for online McCain discussions.

In the brief time that this site has been up, we have had a flurry of McCain supporters, from coast to coast, sign up to give their time and services to the cause of helping to put Senator McCain in the White House in 2008.  The excitement, enthusiasm, and volunteer spirit we have seen to date is truly phenomenal.

Anything you've learned from running the site?

Yes, I’ve learned that people united for a common cause can do wonderful things together. An Internet based hub such as the McCain Movement can attract people of varying and diverse talents, and this leads to a strong and exciting campaign.

Of course, we encourage all interested in Senator McCain to visit and sign up to help!

>The inaugural event for the Draft McCain Movement was a table at the Iowa Republican Party State Convention in Des Moines on June 17, 2006.
(June 20, 2006 grab) (May 12, 2006 grab)

Straight Talk Iowa Style
Straight Talk Iowa Style is "the place" on the web where Senator John McCain supporters, Iowans in particular, can gather to network, debate and discuss how we can help him become the next President of the United States.  And it all starts right here in Iowa!  Straight Talk Iowa Style intends to be there every step of the way.

About the Site:
First posting on July 29, 2006.

Sept. 26, 2006 e-mail
What prompted you to start this blog and why do you think Sen. McCain is the best candidate for president?

We’re strong supporters of John McCain and there was a real lack of grassroots/netroots presence for his anticipated candidacy among Iowa oriented blogs.  Straight Talk Iowa Style is a response to a need for grassroots McCain advocacy and presence on the web.

We also note that there has been a growing number of blogs popping up in support of John McCain across the web.  From our vantage point there is certainly a strong netroots presence in support of John McCain.

John McCain is the best candidate for President because he “gets it” on the biggest issue of our time (Terrorism).  His military credentials and his forward-leaning stance on fighting terrorism are extremely important to us.  His moral clarity and understanding of the threats this country faces were essential to our supporting John McCain.

John McCain is a fiscal hawk.  He has shown Reagan-like discipline in standing for a balanced budget and restrained federal spending.

Finally, John McCain is a social conservative, with a 24-year pro-life voting record.

Have you done other blogging or web activity?

Straight Talk Iowa Style is our first attempt at blogging and web activity in general.  We found the startup process to fairly painless and since then it has been rewarding.  The experience has been both intellectually and technologically enjoyable.

Have you worked or volunteered on any political campaigns?

We have helped a lot of Republican candidates at the state, local and national levels in the past.

Did you support McCain in 2000?

We were ardent George W. Bush supporters from the beginning of his campaign.

What do you do in real life?

We have made a conscious effort to place ideas and advocacy before personalities.   So in our effort to retain independence we will continue to assume anonymity.  We have also discovered that many of the blogs in Iowa have had found success with anonymity.

In real life we do not work for any candidate, campaign, or operation involved with politics.  We also are not involved with Straight Talk America.  However, once the McCain Campaign kicks off we definitely want to be affiliated and involved with them in any number of ways.

What are some of you preferred sources of information (be it print/radio/tv/online) that you turn to most frequently?

Our biggest source of information is our growing network of McCain supporters.  We rely upon McCain grassroots supporters for information and assistance in analyzing the news of the day.

As for the news of the day we tend to look at everything out there.  There is no one or two go-to source(s) that we rely upon for our content.  As for our commentary we rely upon our guts and our philosophy which has been formed by our values set.

A lot of Iowa blogs have caught our attention and we read them often.  We routinely peruse other blogs that are supportive of McCain.  We also pay great attention to the Iowa online MSM and other local dailies.

Straight Talk Alabama

About the Site:
First substantive posting on August 17, 2006.  By Steven H.

"This blog will follow the P2008 race and in particular how it pertains the people of Alabama.

"We [clearly] favor Sen. John McCain getting the GOP nomination in 2008 because we believe he’s the best choice for Alabama and for America.

"Additionally, we’ll mix in a little commentary here and there about what’s going on in the always interesting world of Alabama politics."

Michigan for McCain

About the Site:
First posting on August 30, 2006.  Contributors (Nov. 17, 2006) are Charles J. Szafir of East Lansing, "McCain Republican," and Dan Carlson of Farmington Hills.  Charles J. Szafir interned for Sen. McCain in Fall 2005.  Dan Carlson is chairman of the Michigan Federation of College Republicans (MFCR); on Oct. 24, 2006 Straight Talk America PAC announced him as one of 27 members of its Michigan Young Leaders Team.  Site disclaimer: "We run this site on our own and are not paid by Straight Talk America or any of its consultants."