Much of the focus on @MentionMachine since it launched Tuesday has been on its its ability to measure real-time conversation on Twitter.

But the other major component of @MentonMachine is the data it supplies through Trove, The Washington Post’s personalized news engine, on media mentions of the 2012 candidates.

Trove aggregates content from more than 10,000 Web outlets, and the @MentionMachine scans all those sites for mentions of the candidates and displays them alongside the Twitter stats.

Here’s the leaderboard for the first week of @MentionMachine, counting tweets from Dec. 31 through today, listed from most to least media mentions. Note the significant difference in the rankings of most-mentioned candidates on Twitter vs. in the media (“Rank”is where the candidate fell in order of most to least Twitter mentions):

President Obama, who spent the week fluctuating between the second and fourth in terms of Twitter mentions, had by far the most media mentions.

Mitt Romney won the Iowa caucuses, which was enough to keep him in the top spot for media mentions. In fact, the top three spots for media mentions look exactly like the top three Iowa caucus results. Romney was first, followed by Rick Santorum, then Ron Paul.

Paul, as usual, had by far the highest number of Twitter mentions, but Santorum continued to surge in the polls and on the radar of tweeters.

More news from the political Web this week

• One candidate who isn’t tracked on the @MentionMachine, Buddy Roemer, shared his thoughts on media’s role in the campaigns with the Atlantic’s Nancy Scola on Friday.

As Roemer sees it, a big obstacle for him getting included in the debates is his pledge to only accept maximum donations of $100 — a challenge to the business side of politics, consultants, and cable news. “Look at the sponsors,” says Roemer. “It’s the same three or four mega corporations ...

But it’s not just the money, explains Roemer. It’s what ripples forth from it. Roemer directs me to pull up the New York Times’ two-page spread from this past weekend that laid out in chart-form the major candidate’s positions. (Though, of course, not Buddy’s.) The issues are familiar. Abortion. Taxes and spending. Afghanistan. Energy. Immigration. Where, asks Roemer, is trade? Jobs? Campaign reform? “Those, in my opinion, are the issues, and the New York Times doesn’t even ask them. I’ll tell you why. The reporters listen to the debates, and get their ‘important issues’ from the questions that are asked.” Ergo, “the debates are running the whole show.”

Roemer earned just 31 votes in the Iowa caucuses, but gained some attention for his self-deprecating tweets during them.

Rick Perry’s son Griffin went after Rick Santorum on Twitter on Thursday — but the only policy he questioned was his dress code, ABC reported.

Politics aside, can voters in SC really vote for a guy who’s fashion sense comes from Tressel? #scprimary #SEC #BCS…

— Griffin Perry (@griffperry) January 5, 2012

PhotoGallery: The Republican candidates’ children

NBC is partnering with Facebook to host the second New Hampshire debate of the weekend Sunday. The debate will be streamed on Facebook and users can submit questions they would like the candidates to answer on the Facebook page of “Meet the Press.”


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