A Chance Peek at Warner's Ambitions

A page of his political action committee's unpublished site says Mark R. Warner is
A page of his political action committee's unpublished site says Mark R. Warner is "promoting a national agenda." (By Robert A. Reeder -- The Washington Post)
By Michael D. Shear
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, October 4, 2005

RICHMOND, Oct. 3 -- What would a presidential campaign by Virginia Gov. Mark R. Warner look and feel like?

Well, he hasn't announced he's running. But for clues, one might just take a gander at the as-yet-unpublished Web site for his national political action committee, Forward Together.

The site is still two weeks or so from being public, but John Byrne at the alternative news site RawStory.Com happened across the work in progress Monday, sitting without any password protection on servers at a Charlottesville Web company.

There are passwords now. But Byrne posted screen grabs of the site's pages, which were confirmed as real by one of Warner's top political aides.

The "soon-to-be-launched political action committee website reveals the popular Virginia Democrat is likely plotting a campaign for president in 2008," RawStory.Com wrote.

Monica Dixon, Warner's political adviser at the PAC, calls it "a site that's in development" but says the screen grabs give a "preview of the look" that will go live within a few weeks.

There are, of course, the expected white stars on the blue background, with a picture of Warner, his fist clenched, Kennedy-style. And the map of the United States, draped in an American flag, under the words: "America's Challenge: To Move Forward Together."

The front page says Warner is "promoting a national agenda and supporting candidates at every level." Not exactly a presidential announcement, but there are some other clues inside.

For inspiration, it appears that Warner's Web page designers looked at a few other sites, including those of Sens. Joseph R. Biden Jr. (D-Del.), Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) and John McCain (R-Ariz.), former senator John Edwards (D-N.C.) and retired Army Gen. Wesley K. Clark.

What do they have in common? All are considered likely candidates for president in 2008.

"Passionately hate the lilac borders," Warner's Web designers said of the McCain site, http://www.friendsofmccain.com . Warner's team seemed fonder of Biden's site, http://www.uniteourstates.org : "Very crisp, fresh looking site. Like the use of b&w photography. Font just ok."

So what will Warner's site have once it's up? Apparently a lot of NASCAR images, harking back to Warner's 2001 campaign for governor.

The site designers were enamored of a picture of Warner in a hot rod. (The picture has since been taken down from the governor's official state site.)

They also indicated plans for a racetrack metaphor.

"So, the idea is that, all our supporters are already inside with us, and we are asking them to invite a friend of theirs too," the site said, "signing them up by sending them an invitation to join for us."

Dixon said the language on the unprotected site was "placeholder language" not yet approved by the PAC or seen by Warner.

That almost certainly applies to many of the links on the front page, which appear for the moment to be written in Latin.


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