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Presidential Candidates Use Web to Boost Campaigns

Presidential candidates are strengthening their campaign Web sites to increase outreach to voters. The NewsHour reports on how former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and other presidential hopefuls are using the Internet.

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    Now, how presidential candidates are using the Web to reach voters. Jeffrey Brown has this Campaign '08 Media Unit story.


    Many months before the first presidential primary, candidates are doing what they've long done: pressing the flesh, working the phones, making the rounds of TV talk shows.

    But more and more, the campaign is being waged in cyberspace, as candidates incorporate technology to gain advantage and try to learn from recent elections. These days, the campaign means live video of events online, opportunities to join up and talk back in social networking sites, podcasts of speeches, cell phone updates of the latest developments, and more.

    FORMER GOV. MITT ROMNEY (R), Massachusetts: Hi, I've got great news. We're already more than halfway to our goal.


    To one degree or another, every candidate is embracing technology. One, Mitt Romney, the former Republican governor of Massachusetts, let us watch his effort recently at his Boston headquarters. At this event, called "Sign Up for America," Romney celebrated progress towards acquiring over 30,000 new supporters in 24 hours…


    You can volunteer or make a contribution.


    … 60 percent of those via the internet.


    This is a political rally. This is a 21st-century political rally. See, in the past, when they had political rallies, they came together on the town green and, you know, you got as big a crowd as you could get. And we decided to take it into the 21st century. And instead of just having it in a town, we'd have it in the entire country.


    Candidates have signed up online specialists, a new and mostly quite young breed of political operative. Stephen Smith , 25, is Romney's director of online communications.

    STEPHEN SMITH, Romney for President: We don't want to do something online just because it builds buzz. I mean, buzz is nice, but we're doing things online for the same reason that we do things offline. It's to raise money, to spread the governor's message, and to ultimately mobilize votes in the early primary states and then across America.