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: Dutch student sells his data for €350, but at what price privacy?

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

Researchers uncover likely creator of Bitcoin

3 hours ago

The primary author of the celebrated Bitcoin paper, and therefore probable creator of Bitcoin, is most likely Nick Szabo, a blogger and former George Washington University law professor, according to students ...

White House updating online privacy policy

7 hours ago

A new Obama administration privacy policy out Friday explains how the government will gather the user data of online visitors to WhiteHouse.gov, mobile apps and social media sites. It also clarifies that ...

Net neutrality balancing act

Apr 17, 2014

Researchers in Italy, writing in the International Journal of Technology, Policy and Management have demonstrated that net neutrality benefits content creator and consumers without compromising provider innovation nor pr ...

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?

More news stories

Under some LED bulbs whites aren't 'whiter than white'

For years, companies have been adding whiteners to laundry detergent, paints, plastics, paper and fabrics to make whites look "whiter than white," but now, with a switch away from incandescent and fluorescent lighting, different ...

Continents may be a key feature of Super-Earths

Huge Earth-like planets that have both continents and oceans may be better at harboring extraterrestrial life than those that are water-only worlds. A new study gives hope for the possibility that many super-Earth ...

Researchers successfully clone adult human stem cells

(Phys.org) —An international team of researchers, led by Robert Lanza, of Advanced Cell Technology, has announced that they have performed the first successful cloning of adult human skin cells into stem ...