US debate battle starts on Internet

Oct 03, 2012 by Ivan Couronne
Noah Kaplan, a supporter of US President Barack Obama, carries a sign across the street prior to the presidential debate in Denver. Obama and rival Mitt Romney will not wait until the end of their first debate to proclaim themselves the winner or deny each other's claims—their online teams will already have done so.

Barack Obama and Mitt Romney will not wait until the end of their first debate to proclaim themselves the winner or deny each other's claims—their online teams will already have done so.

While aides and other interested parties spun their message in Denver, Colorado ahead of Wednesday's first of three 90-minute showdowns between the White House , two websites will provide live punch later on.

Romney's debates.mittromney.com and Obama's www.barackobama.com/debate will vie for online supremacy when the debate starts at 0100 GMT.

Obama's site was trailing a "Cheat sheet," outlining what the Democratic candidate contends that Republican rival Romney will say to try and win favor.

"While President Obama will lay out his specific plan to grow the economy and restore middle-class security, will no doubt double down on his well-established strategy of attacking the president, distorting his own record, and avoiding any and all details of his plans for this country."

Romney's site, meanwhile, listed a set of "Debate Facts," noting that the United States had suffered a credit rating downgrade under Obama and said the had risen by more than $5.4 trillion on his watch.

Supporters hold up signs during a campaign rally of Republican US presidential candidate Mitt Romney in Ohio in September.

The site "will be the hub of our debate night efforts, fact-checking the Obama campaign as well as posting supportive material for our arguments," said Zac Moffatt, director of Romney's digital campaign, told Mashable, a website.

On Twitter, the battle was already underway between Republican accounts, including the candidate's official @MittRomney and @RomneyResponse, and the Obama side @BarackObama and @TruthTeam2012 will lead the charge.

Obama's top advisor David Axelrod, @davidaxelrod, is likely to be active as is the president's campaign spokesman Ben La Bolt, @BenLaBolt on what are two of the most followed accounts among the Democrats.

But a less partisan check on each of the candidates is likely to come from independent websites including politifact.com (@PolitiFact on Twitter) and factcheck.org, both of which check the veracity of campaign statements.

Leading traditional news organizations, most notably The New York Times, have also upped their online game for the debate, with the "Gray Lady," ready to publish elements on 76 subjects on the newspaper's website when appropriate.

"We're writing these fact-checks in advance so that we're not scrambling," said Mary Suh, a deputy politics editor at The New York Times, where 20 reporters have worked on the debate material.

"It's all on an Excel spreadsheet—from Romney's Bain history to Obama's record on the deficit," Suh added.

But Andrew Beaujon, a media reporter for the Poynter Institute, a non-profit journalism school, said social media had changed the game of making sure that politicians' public statements are held to account.

"Probably the biggest fact checker is Twitter, not everybody will need a professional fact checker to look things up," Beaujon said.

Explore further: Survey concludes Internet access should be a human right

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Obama outpacing Republicans in Internet race

Aug 15, 2012

US President Barack Obama's campaign team is proving again in 2012 to be more conscious than rival Republicans are of the power of the Internet, particularly Twitter, a study released Wednesday said.

Romney threads position on health law 'tax'

Jul 05, 2012

Republican White House hopeful Mitt Romney has appeared to contradict previous campaign statements by saying President Barack Obama's health reform law entails a "tax" and not a penalty.

Obama convention speech sets Twitter record

Sep 07, 2012

Barack Obama's prime-time address to the nation accepting the Democratic presidential nomination for 2012 broke a new Twitter record Thursday for political traffic, the site said.

Recommended for you

UN moves to strengthen digital privacy (Update)

3 hours ago

The United Nations on Tuesday adopted a resolution on protecting digital privacy that for the first time urged governments to offer redress to citizens targeted by mass surveillance.

Spotify turns up volume as losses fall

3 hours ago

The world's biggest music streaming service, Spotify, announced Tuesday its revenue grew by 74 percent in 2013 while net losses shrank by one third, in a year of spectacular expansion.

Virtual money and user's identity

9 hours ago

Bitcoin is the new money: minted and exchanged on the Internet. Faster and cheaper than a bank, the service is attracting attention from all over the world. But a big question remains: are the transactions ...

User comments : 2

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

Feldagast
5 / 5 (2) Oct 03, 2012
What has this to do with science?
kochevnik
2 / 5 (2) Oct 03, 2012
It's Political Science?

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.