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  •   Clinton Defends Gore about Internet

    By Ted Bridis
    Associated Press Writer
    Friday, March 19, 1999; 7:09 p.m. EST

    WASHINGTON (AP) — President Clinton defended Vice President Al Gore's claims that he helped create the Internet – but didn't get it quite right himself today as he described the explosive growth of the worldwide computer network since his election.

    The president defended Gore as "one of the major architects of America's progress in technology" and said he "deserves a lot of appreciation for that."

    But Clinton also appeared to undercount by almost 5,000 times the size of the Internet when he was first elected.

    "Keep in mind, I think when I became president in 1993 there were still only 50 or 60 sites on the Internet, and now there are millions and millions," Clinton said.

    In fact, by July of 1993 the computer network actually had 26,000 total sites, called "domains" – each with a unique Internet address, according to figures from the Commerce Department.

    Those sites, however, weren't like the World Wide Web sites that most computer-users now browse with just a simple point and click. Instead, those earlier sites required arcane keyboard commands to navigate.

    The World Wide Web was in its earliest stages in 1993. But Clinton failed to distinguish in his comments that he was referring only to the Web portion of the Internet.

    Familiar Web sites didn't come into widespread use until 1994, although most experts estimate there were roughly 130 such Web sites by mid-1993.

    The earliest browser to be widely used by consumers, Netscape's Mosaic software, emerged in late 1994.

    The company responsible for Internet addresses ending in "com," "net" and "org" recently announced it had registered 4 million such sites.

    Gore drew criticism from Republicans when he said last week that during his time in Congress he "took the initiative in creating the Internet."

    House Majority Leader Dick Armey of Texas called it an "outrageous claim," noting that the Internet developed from a research network originally constructed in 1969 – long before Gore was elected.

    Clinton stood by his running mate.

    "Well, you know, he came a lot closer to inventing the Internet than I did," the president said.

    © Copyright 1999 The Associated Press

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