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Setti Warren logs onto race Newton mayor latest pol to announce candidacy on YouTube

Setti Warren logs onto race
Newton mayor latest pol to announce candidacy on YouTube
By Dave Wedge  |   Tuesday, May 10, 2011  |  http://www.bostonherald.com  |  Local Politics

Photo by Brooks Canaday

Newton Mayor Setti Warren jumped into the race against U.S. Sen. Scott Brown yesterday, joining a growing cast of Web-savvy politicians — including President Obama and Mitt Romney — to use YouTube to beam their announcement out unfiltered.

“You’re controlling the message, which is one of the hardest things to do,” said Democratic strategist Michael Shea. “The worst thing is if you have a big announcement and the only thing people are talking about is that your campaign manager parked in an illegal spot or something. It’s no mess, no fuss. Bang, here it is.”

Obama made his re-election announcement on YouTube while Romney used the video Web site to launch his bid for the Republican presidential nomination. Yesterday, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich announced on Facebook and Twitter his plans for a presidential exploratory committee while former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty also used Facebook to announce his bid for the 2012 GOP nomination.

“It’s a good strategy mainly because you avoid tough questions on the day of your announcement,” said Republican strategist Rob Gray. “The danger is it gets less coverage, and that really depends on what else is going on in the media that day.”

And because of technological improvements, the cost of making an announcement via social media or YouTube is attractive.

“The technology is more accessible and cheaper than it used to be,” Gray said. “You can do it for a few bucks, when it would have cost thousands, if not tens of thousands, to record an announcement 10 or 20 years ago.”

In Warren’s five-minute video, he touts his upbringing by a Korean War veteran father who “grew up on the most dangerous block in Harlem” and talks about how his parents attended college in North Carolina where they “risked their lives desegregating lunch counters and movie theaters.” In the video’s most poignant moment, he talks about his 26-year-old sister’s death from asthma.

He also uses the video to hit Brown for voting along party lines 87 percent of the time, supporting Bush-era tax breaks and backing unemployment cuts. He also criticized Brown for voting against “the very same programs that helped lift him as a troubled teen out of poverty.”

Brown spokesman Eric Fehrnstrom said: “Scott Brown was elected to do a job, and he’s focused on cutting spending and getting our economy moving again. There will be plenty of time for campaigning later.”

Warren, who was slated to make a live announcement this morning at a Newton American Legion Hall, joins a Democratic field that already includes City Year founder Alan Khazei, Democratic activist Bob Massie and attorney Marisa DeFranco.

Warren’s campaign spokesman, Chuck Gilboy, said the 40-year-old, first-term mayor chose YouTube to launch his Senate bid because, “We wanted to have a powerful message for the Web site.

“People are getting his message and his story and his vision. We thought that was a good way to communicate on our first day here,” Gilboy said.

The state GOP immediately bashed Warren for running for Senate less than two years into his first term. “The city of Newton faces very serious financial challenges right now, and Setti Warren’s constituents deserve a full-time mayor,” Mass GOP chair Jennifer Nassour said.

Article URL: http://www.bostonherald.com/news/politics/view.bg?articleid=1336840

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