Candidates in the upcoming Afghan presidential election are employing some tried and true American campaign tactics, mostly aimed at getting out the vote among the country’s youth. NPR’s Renee Montagne is in Afghanistan covering the contest set for Aug. 20. In a story that aired Wednesday on Morning Edition, she chronicled the efforts of Farhad Darya, the country’s most popular musician who has embarked on a series of concerts aimed at getting out the vote…


Challenger Ashraf Ghani, considered a long shot by most observers, has employed an Obama-esque online fundraising operation aimed at ex-pats. That effort was launched and led by Democratic consultant James Carville who has been advising Ghani through the summer. The Afghan campaign continues an international trend of imitating the Obama campaign operation in foreign races, one Politics explored this past April.  

Former Sen. Rick Santorum is testing the presidential waters, heading to Iowa this fall for a trip that will include a series of appearances before conservative activists in the state. Since his 2006 loss to Democratic Sen. Bob Casey, Santorum has been relatively absent from the national stage. But, now, the former senator, who has always had a strong following among the GOP’s conservative base, tells Politico that he’s eager for a more high-profile role.  

In New Hampshire, former Republican state Attorney General Kelly Ayotte made her first political appearance since jumping into the race for U.S. Senate. Some Republicans in the state have questioned whether Ayotte is the right candidate for the GOP, so last night’s performance was closely scrutinized.

And a piece in The American Spectator today examines Minnesota Gov. and potential 2012 presidential candidate Tim Pawlenty’s prospects

Though Pawlenty’s actions are paving the way -- or at least leaving an opening -- for a run for president, some pundits are already brushing him off because he’s too "vanilla" to occupy such a position. Couple this with his relative anonymity, and some doubt the hockey-playing, marathon-running son of a truck driver has what it takes to build rapport with an already weary GOP, much less undecided voters. 

Shane D'Aprile is senior editor at Politics magazine.