2008 US presidential hopefuls launch MySpace profiles

By clicking onto impact.myspace.com, the site's mostly young users can link to the personal pages or "profiles" of 10 presidential hopefuls.

Prospective US voters anxious to learn John McCain's television show or to be friends with Barack Obama now have a chance. The popular social networking site MySpace.com launched on Sunday a section dedicated to the 2008 presidential election. Called the Impact Channel, it is the latest attempt by an internet company to educate voters by serving as an information hub for political candidates and the public. By clicking onto impact.myspace.com, the site's mostly young users can link to the personal pages or "profiles" of 10 presidential hopefuls. Obama, Hillary Clinton, John Edwards, Joseph Biden, and Dennis Kucinich were among five Democrats who have set up MySpace profiles. Republicans McCain, Rudolph Giuliani, Duncan Hunter, Mitt Romney and Ron Paul, the Texas congressman, have also set up MySpace pages. MySpace users will also be able to read the candidates' blogs, look at their photos and video and, if they choose, link their favorite candidates to their friends list or put a candidate's ad onto their own pages. In the coming weeks, the site will provide voter registration tools and a payment function where users can make campaign contributions. "As the country's most trafficked Web site, MySpace will play a powerful role in the upcoming election," Chris DeWolfe, MySpace's chief executive said in a statement. "Our digital candidate banners will be the yard signs of the 21st Century and our political viral videos and vlogs are the campaign ads of the future," he said. Some candidates, taking advantage of the Internet's potential to reach millions of voters, have already set up their own campaign Web sites and profiles on other social networking Web sites, including Facebook and Friendster. Clinton announced her long-anticipated candidacy for president on her Web site; she and Edwards have separately participated in "Webchats" and McCain is asking visitors to his Web site to pick winners in the NCAA tournament and compare their teams to his favorites. Earlier this month, the online video site YouTube launched a new section that allows candidates to feature their own video "channels" at no cost. So far, some candidates' MySpace profiles appear more intricate than others, and some were designed appeal to young people. Kucinich's profile shows a picture of him with his wife and young children, and audio instructions on how to pronounce his name. Visitors to Romney's page can click and play Elvis Presley's "A Little Less Conversation," and get instructions for copying his campaign banner onto another page. McCain lets MySpace users know his favorite television show is "24" and his favorite movie is "Viva Zapata." Obama's profile boasted at least 66,000 friends. It lists his status as "married," his occupation ("senator"), his ethnicity ("other") and zodiac sign ("Leo"). ____ On the Net: http://impact.myspace.com/