Clinton Campaign Hosting Debate-Watchers

Published 12:00 am Monday, December 26, 2005

NEW YORK – Taking a page from and other online organizing pioneers, supporters of Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton will host 400 house parties to watch her square off with her Democratic rivals in Monday’s presidential debate.

The parties are sponsored by Club44, an effort by the Clinton campaign to recruit younger female supporters.

Ann Lewis, who heads the campaign’s women’s outreach effort, said the idea came from California, where Clinton supporters have hosted informal debate-watching parties throughout the campaign. It’s been steered at the national level by a group of campaign interns, using weekly e-mails to Clinton’s mailing list. The parties will take place in Washington, D.C., and in most states.

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Clinton spoke by conference call to party organizers Wednesday, Lewis said.

Actors Mary Steenburgen and Ted Danson will do a pre-debate warm-up call to the parties, and other notable Clinton supporters will phone the parties afterward.

The debate, in Charleston, S.C., is being hosted by CNN and YouTube, the online video sharing site.

A service of the Associated Press(AP)