E-mail newsletters popular among pols

"There Goes the Surplus," declares the top headline in the Aug. 23 New DemDaily.

Behind the somber economic news, it is clear the Democrats are pleased to have an issue they can turn against the Republicans and President Bush.

The Democrats are spreading their news on the World Wide Web, through handheld computers and now via e-mail.

Since spring, the New Democrats Online Web site (www.ndol.org) has been promoting an e-mail service designed to provide subscribers with the Democratic take on issues ranging from stem cell research (the Bush plan is a "cop out") to trade with Cambodia (a Democratic success story dating from the mid-Clinton administration).

There are two e-mail options — receive the daily edition, or opt fora weekly digest.

So far, there have been more than 4,500 takers for the daily version and 1,800 for the weekly, said Randolph Court, Internet operations manager for the Democratic Leadership Council, the parent of New Democrats Online.

The target audience is "the New Democratic movement," Court said. That includes elected officials at federal, state and local levels and other members of the "public policy-making community."

"Our mission is to promote debate within the Democratic Party," Court said. But members of the public are free to sign up as well.

In addition to receiving the New Dem Daily, e-mail subscribers can signup to receive summaries of Democratic positions on issues such as crime,the economy, foreign policy and work, family and community.

E-mail newsletters are increasingly popular in politics as a fast, cheap way to keep in touch with constituents and supporters. The Republican Website (www.gop.gov) offers a similar menu of positionson issues, instant e-mail updates and weekly digests. So do some governors,including Virginia's Jim Gilmore, Florida's Jeb Bush and Arkansas' Mike Huckabee, all Republicans.

The New Dem Daily operates with a three-member staff and receives most of its content from the Democratic Leadership Council and selected Democratic officials. "It's proving successful as an ideas marketplace," Court said.

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