Barack Obama ruled the web in 2008, and his prospective 2012 challengers don't want to let it happen again. They're all investing heavily in their online presence, Politico reports. From Newt Gingrich, who's built a sophisticated micro-targeting operation, to Sarah Palin, who's hired a couple of guys who made a fan site about her, everyone's going digital. And they all swear they're working to advance 2010 GOP candidates, not presidential bids they haven't decided on yet, honest.
“Anyone thinking about running for president—or even local dogcatcher—needs to have an effective online strategy,” says one Republican tech consultant. “You have to be willing to put resources into online politics.” Mitt Romney's winning that game; his PAC spent almost $264,000 online, more than anyone else. In just the first quarter of 2010, Romney, Gingrich, Palin, Tim Pawlenty, and Mike Huckabee have spent about $600,000 on their web efforts, notes Politico.