Who's the Most Web Savvy '08 Candidate?

If you ever wondered which 2008 presidential candidate had the most Internet-savvy campaign, you need only look at a new Web site that monitors the campaigns' every move on the Internet.

"We're tracking whether the candidates are connecting in the new digital media universe," said Andrew Rasiej, co-founder of techpresident.com, a new nonpartisan "group blog" that tracks the effect the presidential candidates are having online.

"We like to show how candidates are, and are not, using technology," Rasiej said, arguing that most of the '08 campaigns were falling flat online.

The new Web site has a link for users to see which candidate has the fastest-growing group of "friends" on MySpace, a popular social networking site.

So far, Illinois Sen. Barack Obama is leading his '08 Democratic rivals, with more than 85,000 friends linked to his MySpace page. That's almost three times as many as New York Sen. Hillary Clinton, who has more than 32,000 friends. Former North Carolina Sen. John Edwards has a little more than 16,000.

"The Barack campaign is basically getting really good traction on MySpace and Facebook because there's a lot of interest in Barack," Rasiej told ABC News. "This isn't a poll, but it's an indicator of enthusiasm."

The Obama campaign says it has been focusing on engaging voters online and giving supporters tools to "take organizing into their own hands."

"While the online energy surrounding his candidacy is clear, our real focus online is driving supporters to our Web site so that they can participate in the process by hosting house parties, writing their own campaign blogs and starting grass-roots groups in their communities," said Jen Psaki, spokeswoman for the Obama campaign.

However, the enthusiasm has seemed to wane online when it comes to the Republican candidates. The GOP candidates trail vastly behind the Democrats in terms of MySpace friends.

The top GOP friend-winner is long-shot '08 contender Texas Rep. Ron Paul, with almost 4,700 MySpace friends. Better-known Republican candidates like former Gov. Mitt Romney of Massachusetts, Arizona Sen. John McCain and former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani each have fewer than 3,500 friends.

The Web site also features bloggers who skewer the candidates' digital media sites.

"Nobody Runs for President With a Site This Bad" reads a headline on a recent blog post about the Web site of '08 candidate Rep. Tom Tancredo, R-Colo.

The TechPresident site also links to a graph that charts how often the Democratic and Republican candidates for president are mentioned by name in the blogosphere. Edwards got a major blog bump after he announced his campaign would continue despite the return of his wife's cancer. The site also tracks how many views each candidates' videos get on YouTube.

'The Campaigns Are Still Very Much Afraid of This Technology'

Much has changed since 2004, when Joe Trippi ushered in a new era of Internet politics with Democrat Howard Dean's campaign -- the first of its kind to tap into an online community for support and money.

Fast-forward to today, when the '08 presidential campaigns are scrambling to hire Internet media experts, outfit their Web sites with fundraising tools, blogs and video, and are posting profiles on social networking sites.

"The Internet and the social networking is certainly a new avenue that allows our campaign to communicate John McCain's common-sense conservatism," said Matt David, spokesman for McCain's '08 campaign.

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