By now, most readers know that John Kerry announced his decision to select John Edwards as his running mate first via e-mail to his supporters, using the process to build up his mailing list for the coming campaign. Yet the Democrats are not the only party that knows how to use the Internet to mobilize its base. Within minutes of the Kerry announcement, the Republican National Committee put on its website a detailed set of talking points about Edwards. As I was driving up to my cabin in the North Georgia mountains yesterday, I spent the ride monitoring right-wing talk radio and heard the same quotes, the same statistics, and the same claims surface again and again as they changed hosts. It is not unusual for either party to issue talking points to their key spokespeople or even for their friends in the media. It is more unusual to see those talking points posted on the Web, making the process transparent to people on either side. This is another example of how negative campaigning is now being conducted on a grassroots level.
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