White House to blog about Middle East trip

White House senior staff members will blog about President Bush’s upcoming trip to the Middle East.

Bush leaves today on a weeklong visit to six countries, beginning in Israel with talks in Jerusalem.

Dana Perino, White House spokeswoman, said senior officials including Chief of Staff Josh Bolten, National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley, Counselor to the President Ed Gillespie and Perino would post periodic updates on whitehouse.gov in a blog called "Trip Notes from the Middle East."

“This is new to us,” she said during a press briefing. “We encourage you to log on and to check back often to read some of the updates that the staff will be posting throughout the trip. So it will be just a little bit of a blog.”

Perino made the first post today — basic introductory comments that include the schedule, Bush’s goals and some background.

Perino said the White House would see how things go before deciding whether this will be a standard part of Bush’s travels.

The White House has not jumped into Web 2.0 as other agencies have. It has hosted online chats with officials and the popular Barney Cam, which shows Bush’s dog. It also has used YouTube to post anti-drug messages. But this is the first White House blog.

Other agencies, including the Library of Congress, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and State Department began blogs in 2007, and the CIA and intelligence community started Intellipedia, a version of Wikipedia, in 2006.

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