There is nothing new under the sun…turn, turn, turn

Luckily it was Gore, not Clinton, who was talking about the “hits” (1996 Presidential campaign web sites)

After seeing something shared by Tad Donaghe, I ended up at the 4presidents.us website, a site that documents U.S. Presidential campaigns since 1960. Beginning in 1996, you can see how the World Wide Web played an increasing role in Presidential campaigns, with many of the candidates setting up websites. 4presidents.org preserves the comments made by Vice President Al Gore upon the July 10, 1996 launching of the Clinton/Gore 1996 web site. You may already know this, but Vice President Gore had a passing interest in technology, and in some cases he was absolutely giddy about the advantages of this new technology:

This is the first thing you see when you go to our home page, and it has a couple of innovative features for those of you who are familiar with the Internet and the World Wide Web. It’s not very common to have this kind of ticker with a changing message at the bottom constantly moving or to have a server pushing new pictures onto the page with regularity right to your own computer….

In any event, it is exciting for me to officially unveil this new Clinton/Gore ’96 home page, and we look forward to lots of “hits”, as they say, on the World Wide Web…

Considering his boss’ former activities (but he didn’t inhale!), I guess Gore needed to be very explicit when talking about what a “hit” was.

For Gore, however, the true advantage of the website is that it provided an easy way to fact-check items about the Clinton-Gore campaign. Referring to the Republican symbol, Gore repeatedly said “one click of the mouse proves the elephant’s wrong.”

For an opposing view, you can visit the Dole/Kemp 96 website, which has been preserved intact. Despite its age, some of the issues that Dole addressed on his own technology page still resound today – it’s just that the names have changed.

Within his first 100 days as President, Bill Clinton proposed the Clipper Chip — a secret government-controlled encryption algorithm — and a companion key escrow system where two government agencies would hold a copy of the keys for every Clipper user. Since then Bill Clinton has released updated versions of encryption proposals which insist that the government hold a key to individual’s private data communications….

Bob Dole strongly supports the observations made in the recent National Research Council report that widespread use of encryption to promote information security outweighs the difficulties encrypted communications place on law enforcement. Economic espionage from foreign countries and companies is a serious threat, and Bob Dole believes Americans should have the right to guard themselves using encryption.

These issues are still being discussed today.

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