Candidates practice pitches on-line

In addition to kissing babies and attending barbecues, this year's presidential hopefuls are trying to reach out and connect to voters on-line.

To access what has to be the best site for presidential campaign information, go to the Vote Smart Web, sponsored by Project Vote Smart, a nonpartisan group founded by former presidents Ford and Carter. Point your browser to http://www.vote-smart.org/campaign_96/presidential. From there, you can access the official and unofficial World Wide Web home pages of would-be party nominees as well as independent candidates. The official candidate home pages range from the simple to the elaborate, and all offer a way to volunteer for their campaigns. Featured at selected sites: biographical information, trivia quizzes, the quote of the day and a chance to design your own campaign poster. Most of the home pages are sponsored by Republican candidates, but there are sites maintained by Democratic, Libertarian and Natural Law Party candidates. No Web site from President Clinton's campaign was present.

For the meatiest information on voting records, campaign financing, past experience and support for particular issues, access the Vote Smart database by clicking on the heading "Candidate Information From Project Vote Smart." Culled from resources on-line and on paper, this site offers lots of interesting and relevant information on candidates. In addition, the Vote Smart Web offers the 1996 Presidential Primary National Political Awareness Test. Many of the Republican candidates have already taken this test, which asks candidates about their stance on various issues, such as affirmative action, the balanced budget amendment, welfare and terrorism. You can also join in on-line discussions.

Back at the White House

The White House has updated its official Web page to include more tours, history, sound files and resources for kids. You can reach the Web page at http://www.whitehouse.gov. You'll find sound files of President Clinton's Saturday radio address, a quarterly newsletter for young people called "Inside the White House," a list of recent presidential accomplishments and historical looks at the more famous First Families.

The White House Web page maintains a commitment to providing on-line resources for the visually impaired; on every page you'll see a spot to select that renders the page in text. That way, users can read text describing the images that appear in the graphic version of the page.

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