McCain Offers Chat for Chit
by Lindsey Arent

source:wired news 1:00 p.m. 26.Jan.2000 PST

It's a move that promises to take the rubber chicken out of political fundraising and place it firmly into cyberspace.

In what may be the first pay-per-view political cybercast ever, Republican presidential candidate John McCain plans to spend an interactive hour chatting with supporters online in February in exchange for a US$100 campaign donation.

"It will be like an interactive newscast," said campaign webmaster Max Fose. "While it's going on, people can email in questions which [McCain] can answer. There'll be graphics, video, and polls," he said. "It's taking the chat room to the video level."

The event was designed to galvanize the far-flung members of McCain's Online Team -- an email list of some 55,000 supporters who signed up to receive information about the campaign - and offer them some cyber time (as opposed to face time) with the Arizona Senator.

"A lot of people haven't had a chance to talk to Senator McCain," Fose said. "It'll do wonders for motivating the team. And this is a way to communicate with the team through the Net."

Supporters who contribute $100 to the campaign and register for the event will receive a special password enabling them to log on to the 10 February cyber conference (9-10 p.m. EST).

While some might view the sale of McCain's time online unfavorably, Fose says the concept is exactly the same as hosting a fundraising event - minus the bad food.

"It takes contributions from supporters to run a campaign," Fose said. "Between New Hampshire and South Carolina, we're going to need as many contributions as possible."

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