"No experiment can be more interesting than that we are now trying, and which we trust will end in establishing the fact, that man may be governed by reason and truth. Our first object should therefore be, to leave open to him all the avenues to truth. The most effectual hitherto found, is the freedom of the press. It is, therefore, the first shut up by those who fear the investigation of their actions." --Thomas Jefferson to John Tyler, 1804.

WA Gov: What works

Dino Rossi

Dino Rossi

Quick observations on the front web page of Dino Rossi’s campaign for governor of Washington, a couple of which are indicative and one of which is instructive.

We’ll call indicative the dominant element toward the top of the page, one word that overwhelms everything else: “Change.” Yes, it’s the catchword this cycle, but it has a context – principally based around the other Washington’s federal politics, and aimed in large part at the Bush Administration. But who knows?

Then just below it is a link to Rossi’s transportation agenda, recently released. What got our attention was the adjective in the headline of the link: “Dino Rossi’s Progressive Transportation Plan.” Progressive? Well, that’s interesting.

The third piece, just to the right of the transportation link, is eye-catching in a different way. It’s a three-minute (roughly) video showing Rossi at Auburn, in a car headed to a house. In the house was the individual campaign contributor who pushed him over the total number of contributors to his gubernatorial campaign four years ago, and the last couple of minutes is devoted to a conversation between Rossi and the couple (the wife was apparently the specific contributor) there.

The first part sounded a bit staged (this was supposed to be a completely surprise visit, but it didn’t come off that way). Later, especially when the husband got into discussing why he was backing Rossi, it seemed quite natural. Suddenly, it seemed to be a very unusual thing indeed: Something approaching an actual conversation between a candidate and a prospective voter. Pieces of it looked like reality video – the best kind. Both Rossi and his supporters came off pretty well.

It was, of course, selected video – the Rossi campaign (or any other) isn’t going to be posting negative encounters on the web site. But the natural give and take, seemingly unforced, was a lot more compelling and persuasive than all but a handful of carefully produced video spots. There’s something here other campaigns, and not just those scrimping for bucks, might pay attention to.

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