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Bush campaign forced to disable on-the-fly, custom PDF posters

March 24, 2004

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Early this year we drew attention to the use of PDF by the campaign of Howard Dean, at the time the front-runner to become the nominee of the Democratic Party in this year's presidential election. The Dean Web site provided a free service -- offering supporters the chance to create on-the-fly PDFs, either posters or bumper stickers, with an option for adding a customized message. We also noted at the time that if Dean faltered in the primaries, the PDFs could become political keepsakes -- and indeed they have.

In the spirit of fair play, we went looking recently to see if the Republican Party might be utilizing PDF in a related way. Sure enough, since December the Bush-Cheney campaign site has been inviting its own PDF-savvy partisans to create and download Adobe Reader-ready posters and brochures -- also offering message customization.

Bush-Cheney on-the-fly PDF posters In its recent article titled "Bush Site Unplugs Poster Tool," Wired reports that the campaign site was forced to disable the personalization aspect of the service last week after a popular political news and gossip Weblog targeted the so-called "Sloganator" feature and invited Readers to create and then share controversial, provocative and/or offensive slogans using the Bush-Cheney template. As often happens on the Internet, the effort took on a life of its own, simultaneously nourished and reported by the Wonkette.com blog and its followers -- until the custom message feature was finally removed from the site.

Were he not a Democrat, it might have been enough to make Howard Dean scream ... again.

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