You've likely heard of YouTube. Well, rest assured, your representatives in Washington, D.C., most definitely have too.
That's because campaign operatives are starting to place negative images of the candidates they oppose on the video sharing site. The campaigns have camera-wielding staffers who go to the opposition's campaign events with the hopes of shooting something negative or embarrassing the candidate says and then putting it on YouTube.
The video of Virginia U.S. Sen. George Allen referring to an opposition cameraman as "macaca"
is available for the world's viewing on YouTube.
One of the more active purveyors of YouTube video attacks is the campaign of Montana State Senate President John Tester, a Democrat running for the U.S. Senate. Tester strongly supports the work of two members of his staff who record campaign appearances of U.S. Sen. Conrad Burns, a Republican running for his fourth term in the Senate.
On YouTube, you can see and hear Burns referring to "a nice little Guatemalan man
" who's doing some work for him. You can also view the senator referring to the war on terror as a battle against a faceless enemy who is "a taxi cab driver
in the daytime but a killer at night." And then there is the most viewed of the Burns' videos, where the senator appears to nod off
at an agriculture hearing in Montana.
We went out to Montana to talk to both candidates and the cameraman about this. I asked John Tester if some of this is unfair. For example, don't tired people sometimes nod off at meetings?
Tester told me Burns shouldn't be falling asleep at hearings so important to Montanans.
So I asked Burns what he thought about these tactics. Obviously, Burns' campaign workers aren't particularly pleased when their candidate is ridiculed on a Web site, but Burns seems to like Kevin O'Brien, the cameraman who works for the Tester campaign and goes by the name of "arrowhead77" on YouTube.
"We feed him at our luncheons and our picnics, because I don't think the Democrats are paying him very much," he said.
The polls show this race to be tight. We'll see if Senator Burns has the same sense of humor about all this after Election Day.