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It Takes Tech to Elect a President

Many candidates simply ask supporters for money and a vote. Obama uses social media tools to ask for even more

Technology and an appreciation of how to use it have always been important to political campaigns. Franklin Delano Roosevelt used radio to get his message across effectively to voters. Lyndon Johnson rode a helicopter to get him around Texas in his famous race for the Senate. John F. Kennedy understood the power of television better than Richard Nixon during the race for the Presidency in 1960. And Republican operatives in the 1970s built direct mail into a fund-raising behemoth that powered party gains for 20 years.

The current generation of Presidential candidates—and their advisers, such as James Carville, Karl Rove, and David Axelrod—will likely go down in history as even more innovative in their ability to use technology to an advantage.