Obama Pledges Online Comment Period on Most Bills Before Signing

Signal that President Will Use Internet to Increase Transparency
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President Barack Obama has sent an immediate signal that the Internet will be an important part of his pledge for a more open and transparent government.

And taking a page from regulatory agencies like the FCC, which have public comment periods before making decisions, the new president has promised to publish all "non-emergency" legislation online and allow the public to review and comment on it for five days before he signs it.

The new, and revamped, White House Web site opened with a blog posting from Macom Phillips, director of new media for the White House, who seemed to liken the site to a social network, saying it would "serve as a place for the President and his administration to connect with the rest of the nation and the world."

Sounding like an online marketer, Phillips said the site was just the first in many efforts to "expand and deepen this online engagement."

He encouraged surfers to keep tabs on the White House Blog via RSS feed, sign up for e-mail updates from the President.

Describing the site as an "online community," Phillips asked for input on how to make the site better, even including an online form for the purpose.

The Obama campaign is universally acknowledged as the most Web-savvy in history, helping organize the youth vote that was crucial to his victory and keeping the media connected via regular e-mail updates.