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Presidential campaigns have moved to the web

Presidential campaigns have moved to the web — The cyberfuture is moving full steam ahead, and White House hopefuls are jumping on the bandwagon

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Ever since politicians discovered cyberspace, websites have become as much a part of campaigns as fund-raisers. And in this election year, not only have presidential candidates erected virtual headquarters (featuring audio clips, pictures, and text) on the Internet, but they have to compete with jokey campaigns from the likes of Dave Barry, Pogo, and H.P. Lovecraft cult demon Cthulhu (”Why Vote for a Lesser Evil?”). Here’s a rundown of six major contenders:

BILL CLINTON (http://www.whitehouse.gov) Best boast: As a high school senior, Clinton was one of the first to shake hands with President Kennedy during a student trip. Telling quote: None from the President himself on this official White House site, but there is a sound bite of Socks the cat meowing. (Ironically, in light of the administration’s hyping of the cyberfuture, the Clinton-Gore campaign still does not have a site.) Entertainment equivalent: Where’s Waldo?

BOB DOLE (http://www.dole96.com) Best boast: High school classmates recall Dole ”doing a pretty impressive jitterbug.” Telling quote: ”Those who would market evil through commerce hate the light of scrutiny, but I will continue to use my freedom to call them to account.” Entertainment equivalent: Robert Preston in The Music Man.

PHIL GRAMM (http://www. gramm96.org) Best boast: After resigning his Democratic seat in Congress in 1983, Gramm won it back as a Republican — on Lincoln’s birthday. Telling quote: ”The Clinton health-care bill is going to pass over my cold, dead political body.” Entertainment equivalent: Any movie in which Clint Eastwood snarls the word punk.

PAT BUCHANAN (http://www.buchanan.org) Best boast: In 1965 Buchanan was the first full-time campaign staffer to participate in the ”Resurrection of Richard Nixon.” Telling quote: ”Rogue nations that despise America right now are plotting to build weapons of mass destruction and.deliver them to our country.” Entertainment equivalent: Richard Widmark in Kiss of Death.

LAMAR ALEXANDER (http://www.nashville.net/~lamar) Best boast: In 1978 Alexander walked 1,000 miles across Tennessee to be sworn in as governor. Telling quote: ”We are entitled — by God and the Founding Fathers — to ‘life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.’ That’s about it.” Entertainment equivalent: Daniel J. Travanti.

STEVE FORBES (http://www. forbes96.com) Best boast: The magazine publisher is a four-time winner of the Crystal Owl award for economic prognostication. Telling quote: ”Imagine what it would be like if you woke up tomorrow morning with a 17 percent flat tax that exempted the first $36,000 of income and a fixed long-term mortgage of 41/2 percent.” Entertainment equivalent: The federal tax code.