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Presidential candidates hit the cyber campaign trail

March 3, 1996


Open your newspaper, turn on your television or radio, and it doesn't take long to hear the latest updates on the road to the November presidential election.

The Internet wasn't used a great deal in the 1992 campaigns, but judging from the amount of political activity, it has come of age for this year's contest.

A quick search on a World-Wide Web search engine for "primary'' or "politics,'' and you'll find a plethora of links to sites chock full of information.

Sifting through it all can be time consuming; the better sites tend to be those sponsored by news organizations and other groups. Ideologies from the entire political spectrum are represented on the Web, which highlight the Internet's usefulness: Its ability to disseminate information quickly and inexpensively.

Project Vote Smart, a national, non-partisan, non-profit group offers the Vote Smart Web.

Vote Smart offers a large database of information on voting records, campaign finance date, issue positions and background data on elected officials and candidates for office.

The site includes links to other resources on the Web. Vote Smart doesn't copyright its information on its site, and it encourages organizations to use it.

Congressional Quarterly also offers a comprehensive site on the presidential candidates, with updated news and links to other political sites on the Web.

USA Today puts the political content of its daily newspaper into a Web page devoted to the presidential primaries. It includes polls and surveys, state-by-state updates and political commentary.

For the conservative in you, The Right Side of the Web offers its '96 Conservative Election Central.

The site focuses, as you might expect, on conservative presidential candidates with links to GOP-related Web sites

CNN and Time magazine have joined forces for the CNN/Time AllPolitics Web site.

It is a comprehensive collection of news on the presidential process: exit polling data, and the latest CNN and Time stories on the standings. Visitors to the site also have the chance to leave comments on their favorite (or less-than-favorite) candidates.

If you're looking for specific information, AllPolitics even offers a search engine to let you search for certain key words.

NetVote is a web site established by the publisher of NetBooks, and is linked to their Your Personal Network Web site.

It's an easy-to-use resource, with links to resources for both parties.

The site has links to not just primaries and candidates and the usual political news, but links to special interest groups and Web sites from both sides of the political spectrum.

NBC and the Microsoft Network have joined forces for their Decision 96 Web site.

THE CANDIDATES. All the contenders in the race for president this year have officially sponsored Web sites. A sample of these include:

THIS JEST IN. Poking fun at politicians has been around as long as politicians, and the Web has its share of sites devoted to political humor. The top of the list in my book would be a Web site devoted to that perennial candidate for president, Pat Paulsen. Paulsens' Web site has a biography, family photos, issues, and press releases, as well as a history of his previous campaigns. Paulsen got his start in politics on the Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour in 1967 when the duo asked him to run for president. His reply? "Why not? I can't dance Ï besides, the job has a good pension plan and I'll get a lot of money when I retire.'' Other candidates and parody Web sites aimed at them include:

Comments and questions about this column may be sent to jbrooks@myoldkentuckyhome.com, or visit www.myoldkentuckyhome.com on the World Wide Web.

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