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Trail Mix: Kenya take a joke? Obama talks Trump

  • Saying something nice for a change
  • Obama takes on Trump
Trail Mix: Kenya take a joke? Obama talks Trump

Want to know what's popping in campaign news? Meet our column "Trail Mix" -- your guide to the fun, the quirky, and, oh yeah, the news from the 2012 campaign.

Obama stops by 'The Tonight Show'

In the midst of an all-nighter, 48-hour campaign marathon this week, Obama appeared on "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno" where he took on Donald Trump’s latest publicity stunt Wednesday, in which the tycoon would donate $5 million to charity if Obama released his college and passport records. “This all dates back to when we were growing up together in Kenya,” Obama joked. “We had constant run-ins on the soccer field. He wasn’t very good. He resented it.” He also said he had never actually met Trump.

Obama also said that while he has a Blackberry, all of the microphone functions have been disabled so he doesn’t have access to a cellphone. And he said that the one subject he struggles with when he helps his daughters is their math homework.

Continuing the trend of entertaining TV appearances, Michelle Obama will be a guest on Jimmy Kimmel’s show Thursday night and MTV will host a live town-hall broadcast with college students and the president on Friday.

Are Obama and Romney stalking you?

If you live in a swing state, the Obama and Romney campaigns probably know a lot more about you than you think -- like if you enjoy gambling, what you’ve shopped for recently, or even if you happen to surf erotic web sites.

Democratic and Republican consultants have spent millions on demographic data on voters and even placed tracking “cookies” on voters’ computers when they visit campaign homepages, the New York Times reports. Just like Google Ads can now target you with flights to Miami after you search for airfares, a voter who visits evangelical websites might see pro-religious messages when they return to the candidates’ page.

Read more: Your personal habits reveal your politics

Data mining has helped the Obama campaign learn that their supporters often eat at Red Lobster, shop at Burlington Coat Factory and listen to smooth jazz, according to the Times. Romney backers are more likely to drink Samuel Adams beer, eat at Olive Garden and watch college football.

And Mother Jones reports that the Obama campaign is even pushing their data out to supporters knocking on doors in the field. They can call up on their smartphone or tablet what pitch might work best on the voter they’re contacting. Then, after the conversation, the canvasser can update the entry with what issues resonated most.

When the polls are basically tied, every piece of data apparently counts.

'He picked a hot vice president'

In this age of bitter partisan politics when friends and families aren’t speaking to each other over who they’re voting for, it’s nice to know that each side can, if pressed, come up with something nice to say about their opponent. At the Lynn University Debate, BuzzFeed’s Matt Stopera asked university students to say “one genuinely good thing about the person they’re voting against.”

Among the compliments that Obama supporters had about Romney (beyond his pick of Paul Ryan as a good-looking running mate):

“I like that he’s a Pisces.”

“I like that Romney’s very pro-Israel.”

“Romney’s a good businessman.”

And Romney supporters had this to say about the president:

“He believes in gay marriage.”

“Obama’s a great father and loves his kids.”

“Obama’s good with foreign politics.”

Must Reads:

CNN: Will the World Series predict who wins the White House?

Politico: How Mitt Romney would govern

HLNtv: Divided by politics, united by marriage

The Washington Post: Could political ads use the “Mad Men” touch?

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Trail Mix: About Romney's two missing minutes...
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