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Wednesday, January 21, 2009

DEMOCRACY ONLINE

WhiteHouse.gov Turns the Page

For the second time in American history, the president's online portal switched owners.

Out went the photographs of former president George W. Bush, which were posted until noon Tuesday. As the government officially changed hands, the presidential Web site WhiteHouse.gov began to serve the online vision and agenda of President Obama.

According to the site's first blog post, written by Macon Phillips, a veteran of Obama's campaign and now the White House's new-media director, WhiteHouse.gov "will serve as a place for the President and his administration to connect with the rest of the nation and the world."

The top three priorities of the site, Phillips wrote, are "communication," "transparency" and "participation" -- buzz words in online social networking circles. Visually, the site is a close cousin of the campaign Web site BarackObama.com and the presidential transition portal Change.gov. And just as Obama maintained an active YouTube presence during his 21-month campaign and nearly three-month transition, he will do so as president. WhiteHouse.gov added a YouTube channel shortly after Obama took office and is promising weekly video addressees.

Steve Grove, YouTube's head of news and politics, cheered the move. "By bringing the White House onto YouTube just moments after the inauguration, the Obama administration has demonstrated a commitment to a transparent government that connects directly with citizens," he said.

Among other new features, WhiteHouse.gov now also makes this pledge: It will post all non-emergency legislation online for five days, allowing the public to review and comment on proposed laws before Obama signs them.

-- Jose Antonio Vargas and Sarah Cohen

THREAT 'UNCERTAIN'

Security Alert Issued For Inauguration Day

U.S. counterterrorism officials said they aggressively investigated a potential threat of "uncertain credibility" to Tuesday's inauguration events posed by an East African Islamist group with ties to al-Qaeda.


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© 2009 The Washington Post Company

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