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The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted at 9:10 a.m., Monday, March 19, 2007

Obama beats rivals when it comes to MySpace 'friends'

Advertiser Staff and News Services

LOS ANGELES — Prospective voters eager to learn more about John McCain or to become an Internet "friend" of Barack Obama now have a new online opportunity.

MySpace.com, the popular social networking site, yesterday launched a section dedicated to the 2008 presidential election.

Obama, who lists his hometown as Honolulu, already had 68,412 "friends" as of this morning, by far the highest among the other candidates.

Called the Impact Channel, it's 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.

Democrats Obama, Hillary Rodham Clinton, John Edwards, Joe Biden and Dennis Kucinich have set up MySpace profiles. Republicans McCain, Rudolph Giuliani, Duncan Hunter, Mitt Romney and Ron Paul also have pages.

MySpace users will be able to read the candidates' blogs, see photos and video and, if they choose, link their favorite candidate to their friends list or put a candidate's ad onto their own pages.

"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.

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.

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 personal than others, and some were designed appeal to young people.

Kucinich's profile shows a picture of him with his wife and young children, along with audio instructions on how to pronounce his name.

Visitors to Romney's page can click and play Elvis Presley's "A Little Less Conversation." McCain tells MySpace users his favorite TV show is "24" and his favorite movie is "Viva Zapata."

Obama's profile lists his status as "married," his occupation ("senator"), his ethnicity ("other") and zodiac sign ("Leo").

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The Associated Press contributed to this report.