YouTube Not Just for White House Hopefuls

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JOE CIARDIELLO FOR USN&WR I n the cyberworld of politics, it's the 2008 presidential candidates who rule. They've got YouTube debates, Facebook pages, MySpace friends, and online fundraising. That's left Capitol Hill clamoring, "Don't forget about us!" Stepping in to fill that void: San Francisco Bay Area Rep. George Miller. He's a 32-year House veteran best known for boosting the minimum wage and college aid programs. But aides joke that he's a tech junkie, with an iPod, an iBook, and a PowerBook at his fingertips. And he's a "CrackBerry," typing so fast on his BlackBerry that, he says, "sometimes I get people writing back saying, 'What the hell does that say?' "

He's led the leap into virtual politicking-among the first in the House with an avatar on the Second Life virtual town site. Then there's MillerTV. As part of his "Ask George" town halls, he answers questions on his MillerTV video podcasts to questions submitted via websites. "We're just trying to stay current," says Miller.

Now Miller's encouraging his colleagues to get in on the virtual act. Some early converts: Freshman Rep. Joe Courtney of Connecticut and old-school House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer have posted videos on their sites.

Still, while he's all in on tech, Miller says he has his limits. Like ponying up $600 for an Apple iPhone. "It would be hard for me to justify at the moment," he says.