White House revamps site

White House site

The white paint is brilliant under intense sunshine, the sky is azure and

the trees a lush green. It's a picture-perfect summer day at the White House's

new Web site.

Banished is the bland beige and the bank of buttons that dominated www.

whitehouse.gov. In their place is a virtual postcard proclaiming "Welcome

to the White House."

The new site, which debuted July 7, provides the president with a prominent

forum for promoting his policies. In bold type at the center of the home

page, just beneath the picture of the White House, is a statement by President

Clinton and Missouri Gov. Mel Carnahan blasting the Republicans' Patients'

Bill of Rights.

Beneath that is a blurb crediting President Clinton and Vice President

Gore with improving citizen access to government through the new Web site.

Turning the White House Web site into a public relations platform could

be a bad thing, said Pam Fielding, a principal at e-advocates, a cyber lobbying

and Web site design company. "We have a pretty high standard for what we

want "dot-gov' sites to be. We want them to be as pure as the public library,"

she said.

But she added, "I applaud them for making it more interesting for site

visitors."

President Clinton seems to agree that the chief job of the Internet

should be to help citizens connect to government. "As one of the most popular

Web sites on the Internet, "Welcome to the White House' provides its millions

of visitors with an array of useful information," he said in a statement

announcing the new site.

Indeed, a feature called "Gateway to Government" leads to a Web page

full of links to government information and services.

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