October 27, 2004 10:36 AM PDT

As election nears, Web's grass roots still growing

As the clock ticks down on the 2004 presidential race, the candidates have increased efforts to stay in touch with supporters and reach out to undecided voters, and the Web remains a primary weapon to do so.

The president's GeorgeWBush.com site and his rival's JohnKerry.com have undergone almost daily updates throughout the campaign, underscoring both teams' increased emphasis on the Internet. Coming down to the wire, the sites appear to be taking somewhat different paths in terms of spin, but based on the volume of new content alone, it's clear both candidates have embraced the medium.

With just one week to go until the Nov. 2 general election, the Bush site offered an array of anti-Kerry content on Tuesday, while the Kerry site remained centered more squarely on the candidate's own message.

News.context

What's new:
The current presidential campaigns have used the Web more--and more effectively--than previous campaigns to communicate with voters and marshal support.

Bottom line:
The candidates' e-campaigns are wrapping up, but not before the Web leaves an indelible mark on the changing face of modern elections.

More stories on politics and the Internet

Among the features on GeorgeWBush.com was a checklist of accusations against Kerry and his "liberal allies in Congress," along with an essay dubbed "John Kerry: The raw deal," and a gas tax calculator meant to provide financial estimates of how a Kerry win could hit drivers' pockets. The Kerry site took a more positive stance, leading with an essay on Kerry's pulpit issues, titled "A fresh start for America." However, the Democrat didn't completely avoid taking shots at his Republican rivals, posting one piece dubbed "Bush-Cheney--Wrong for America."

The leaders of both candidates' sites recently expressed their gratification at how well their respective Web campaigns have evolved, and the level at which their efforts have been tied into the larger campaign push.

"We've been completely integrated with the rest of the campaign all along, and worked very closely with our communications and political strategy shops," said Chuck DeFeo, eCampaign Manager for the Bush-Cheney effort. "As the campaign comes to a finish, we know that our job is only becoming more important by the day."

Josh Ross, director of Internet strategy for the Democratic ticket, voiced similar sentiments.

"The buy-in has been tremendous, from having Web strategy people like myself on the senior staff of the campaign from the beginning, to recognizing the importance of the Web site as a tool for building grassroots support," he said. "The 2004 campaign has looked at online strategy more than ever before."

The daily grind
Throughout the campaign, both sites have displayed impressive dexterity in terms of adding new content and matching each other's moves. The sites have often displayed similarly themed content on the same days, showing that the online campaigns have kept an eye on each other. And while neither has more than static plans for what will

CONTINUED:
Page 1 | 2 | 3 | 4

4 comments

Join the conversation!
Add your comment
Factually incaccurate story
Nice, another piece of c|net liberal bias that I now must publicly flog. The author of this article asserts that the Bush site is "Anti-Kerry" while Kerry is "more positive".

That is complete rubbish. A cursory analysis of the sites reveals that Bush is focusing quite directly on his own record. Here are Bush's current "LATEST HEADLINES" which dominate the site



? Bush: Clear Vision, Taking Action Key to Leadership
? What They're Saying: OH Newspapers Endorsing Bush
? Pres. Touts Nat'l Security Record of Reform & Results
? The Economy Line: State Unemployment Rates Fall
? Mrs. Bush: Pres. Said He'd Reduce Taxes, He Did
? Letter by Olympians and Professional Athletes for Bush

What do you have to say for yourself, Mr. Negative? I'm sure the c|net censors will sweep in to delete my post, but I am keeping it backed up in a TXT file to repost as necessary.
Posted by (60 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Factually incaccurate story
Nice, another piece of c|net liberal bias that I now must publicly flog. The author of this article asserts that the Bush site is "Anti-Kerry" while Kerry is "more positive".

That is complete rubbish. A cursory analysis of the sites reveals that Bush is focusing quite directly on his own record. Here are Bush's current "LATEST HEADLINES" which dominate the site



? Bush: Clear Vision, Taking Action Key to Leadership
? What They're Saying: OH Newspapers Endorsing Bush
? Pres. Touts Nat'l Security Record of Reform & Results
? The Economy Line: State Unemployment Rates Fall
? Mrs. Bush: Pres. Said He'd Reduce Taxes, He Did
? Letter by Olympians and Professional Athletes for Bush

What do you have to say for yourself, Mr. Negative? I'm sure the c|net censors will sweep in to delete my post, but I am keeping it backed up in a TXT file to repost as necessary.
Posted by (60 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Neither party really gets it yet
The strategists for the 2 parties and the candidates have not understood yet the importance of figuring out how their information fits into the information landscape of the people they are trying to reach. From my end-user perspective the campaign began in Spring of 2003 when from out of the blue I received an email from an organization I had never heard of before, Moveon.org, offering a way to challenge Bushes' drive to war. I immediately went to their web site to make donations, but after that sat back and let their emails come to me. Their web site was nowhere near as important as their brilliant email campaign.
A long time later emails began to arrive from the Dean campaign, then from the Kerry campaign, then from the Democratic National Committee. The DNC emails were especially lame at first, written in all the condescending jargon those people think in. The Kerry and DNC emails have gotten much savvier over time, but it's still a mystery why they think they both have to send redundant messages to the same address--can't they coordinate? I know they can't coordinate with Moveon.org by law, but the people at Moveon.org have been smart enough to run their own campaign. The Kerry and DNC web sites don't mean anything when I get the email, so the email is what matters most. It's like getting a newspaper geared to your interests when it's done well (Moveon.org) and like spam when it's done badly (DNC). I'm also tolerating email from ACTNOW.org, but I'm not sure why these guys don't just join Moveon.org to put on a unified face.
The worst part of the campaigns has been the automated telephone calling. I've been getting harassed with ugly negative phone messages from candidates, committees, and labor unions--if I've donated money why do you think I'm so shaky you have to call me? Can't you concentrate on the unaffiliated voters in the Union? And hasn't anyone in DNC figured out that HAVING THE CANDIDATE SPEAK THE RECORDED MESSAGE would be the most outstanding way to reach people?
The parties have a long way to go to figure out how to use the internet well--you can't just sit back and wait for people to find your web site. Whatever the outcome of the election Moveon.org has already swept the Clinton moderates out of control of the Democratic Party. For the foreseeable future their web-savvy methods and tactics will ensure that the DNC must dance to their tune if they hope to raise money and supporters.
Posted by Razzl (1318 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Neither party really gets it yet
The strategists for the 2 parties and the candidates have not understood yet the importance of figuring out how their information fits into the information landscape of the people they are trying to reach. From my end-user perspective the campaign began in Spring of 2003 when from out of the blue I received an email from an organization I had never heard of before, Moveon.org, offering a way to challenge Bushes' drive to war. I immediately went to their web site to make donations, but after that sat back and let their emails come to me. Their web site was nowhere near as important as their brilliant email campaign.
A long time later emails began to arrive from the Dean campaign, then from the Kerry campaign, then from the Democratic National Committee. The DNC emails were especially lame at first, written in all the condescending jargon those people think in. The Kerry and DNC emails have gotten much savvier over time, but it's still a mystery why they think they both have to send redundant messages to the same address--can't they coordinate? I know they can't coordinate with Moveon.org by law, but the people at Moveon.org have been smart enough to run their own campaign. The Kerry and DNC web sites don't mean anything when I get the email, so the email is what matters most. It's like getting a newspaper geared to your interests when it's done well (Moveon.org) and like spam when it's done badly (DNC). I'm also tolerating email from ACTNOW.org, but I'm not sure why these guys don't just join Moveon.org to put on a unified face.
The worst part of the campaigns has been the automated telephone calling. I've been getting harassed with ugly negative phone messages from candidates, committees, and labor unions--if I've donated money why do you think I'm so shaky you have to call me? Can't you concentrate on the unaffiliated voters in the Union? And hasn't anyone in DNC figured out that HAVING THE CANDIDATE SPEAK THE RECORDED MESSAGE would be the most outstanding way to reach people?
The parties have a long way to go to figure out how to use the internet well--you can't just sit back and wait for people to find your web site. Whatever the outcome of the election Moveon.org has already swept the Clinton moderates out of control of the Democratic Party. For the foreseeable future their web-savvy methods and tactics will ensure that the DNC must dance to their tune if they hope to raise money and supporters.
Posted by Razzl (1318 comments )
Reply Link Flag
 

Join the conversation

Add your comment

The posting of advertisements, profanity, or personal attacks is prohibited. Click here to review our Terms of Use.

What's Hot

Discussions

Shared

RSS Feeds

Add headlines from CNET News to your homepage or feedreader.