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Mark Warner the Avatar

It turns out the virtual former Virginia Gov. Mark Warner looks and sounds just like the real life version. In what was -- without question -- the strangest "event" of the 2008 presidential race to date, Warner participated in a simulated interview at Second Life -- a Web site that offers participants the chance to wander around in a simulated world and interact with one another.

Warner created an avatar -- a "virtual" representation of himself -- to appear in the interview. He went with a tall white man dressed in a suit, not a far stretch from his typical off-line wear. (The Fix's chosen avatar was a clean cut young guy in jeans and a white t-shirt.) A remarkable difference was that the virtual Warner flew onto the stage to make his remarks -- a feat the real world Warner has yet to pull off (as far as we know).

And the virtual Warner's rhetoric sounded strikingly similar to the real Warner. He touted Virginia's ranking as the best managed state according to Governing magazine and its rating as the best place to do business by Forbes. He also rattled off other familiar talking points (like Democrats cannot succeed by only targeting 6 or 17 states) and criticized the Bush Administration for a "missed opportunity" to unite the country following the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

Asked why he chose to be the first virtual 2008 candidate, Warner said "how people communicate [and] what type of communities they form is changing in real time." To date, Warner has been the most aggressive of the Democrats mulling a presidential bid in courting the online world -- from blogs to virtual reality. Warner employs Jerome Armstrong (a leading progressive blogger) on his Forward Together PAC staff and threw a ritzy party in Las Vegas for a gathering of "netroots" activists.

How important is this outreach? Money and organization in early states like Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada will matter far more, but Warner's online efforts shouldn't be discounted. His willingness to particpate in a campaign event on Second Life shows that candidates are seeking to reach voters wherever they are -- online and offline, in the real and virtual worlds.

Warner's interview will reportedly be available on his Forward Together PAC Web site within the next few days.

By Chris Cillizza  |  August 31, 2006; 5:07 PM ET
Categories:  Eye on 2008  
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Warner also plans his own version of the Batsymbol to light up the night sky with his favorite image ..... $
Next is a new ring tone with his favorite sound.....KA-CHING

He's a comical schmuck.

Posted by: hazmaq | September 5, 2006 1:10 PM | Report abuse

Warner also plans his own version of the Batsymbol to light up the night sky with his favorite image ..... $
Next is a new ring tone with his favorite sound.....KA-CHING

He's a comical schmuck.

Posted by: hazmaq | September 5, 2006 1:06 PM | Report abuse

Warner seems like a reasonable and sensible person. he would make for a good Presidential candidate. however, there is just on downside to him. and that is he lacks international experience. How would a presidential candidate with little or no international background handle Iran, North Korea, the middle east conflict or Terrorism globally? how would the world perceive Warner as President? those are two big question marks for Warner.

Posted by: andrew | September 3, 2006 1:51 PM | Report abuse

FortyFour - "Virginia has a history of consistently being rated a well-managed state, regardless of the governor - it's not like Warner turned around a distressed, troubled state. Virginia's management rating is due in part to the governor and the legislature..."

You're ignoring the financial mess which Jim Gilmore had gotten the Commonwealth into. Added to that were the increases in state expenditures voted for by of all things, the Republican legislature.

The spitting contest between Gilomre and the legislature was more than just an embarrassment to Virginia, it seriously threatened Virginia's credit rating.

No one man is responsible for getting the state out of the mess. The legislature had to cooperate also; but it did so only because the mature senior legislators managed to override the single issue "no new taxes" immature younger legislators.

Budgets are never perfect from year to year. Deficits happen due to circumstances beyond the control of the government; the same with surpluses. If Virginia had not had that tax increase, the citizens of the Commonwealth would have been paying more (in higher interest rates) for the money which Virginia borrows.

Warner deserves a lot of credit. Those leglislators who dragged fiscal sanity into the picture deserve credit also. The single leader will always get more credit than the members of a group. Warner gets it; like it or not. At least it's deserved, and not phony.

Posted by: Nor'Easter | September 2, 2006 4:37 PM | Report abuse

With all the buzz about the frontrunner status of McCain, ehe issue of age needs to be discussed now that he is 70 years old.

IF McCain wins the nomination in 2008, while he may be portrayed today as energetic and active, the age issue will be a key to the upcoming 2008 cycle when he will be 72.

Age and his health, in the same manner as, President Reagan. (He was 73 when questioned during his debate against Mondale in 1984.

We must NOW discuss McCain's selection of a vice president; someone who can immediately step in to become president if something happened to McCain. Although he won't giving speeches in freezing weather at his inauguration like William Heny Harrison in 1841, his VP John Tyler was the first offical to replace a dead president. Zachary Taylor died in 1850, giving his VP Millard Fillmore the office. Then, as far as being assassinated , look at Lincoln, McKinley, and John F. Kennedy who were killed while in office. Their VP's had to come up to speed quickly with the weight of the world on their shoulders. Same for Coolidge in 1923 after Harding who died in his late 50's. When FDR who died at age 63; poor Truman had only been VP from March 4th until April 12, 1945. Truman was not even aware of the tests on the bomb which he would later authorize to drop to hasten the end of WW2.

With the world in turmoil, NOW is the time to discuss the importance of the most qualified and experienced person holding the post as VP in 2008. IF McCain is being viewed as the frontrunner, look at the EGO of Rudy Guiliani. No way will he be sitting as second banana and overshadowed by McCain. Both McCain and Rudy are men who are hard-charging fellows who give commands, neither will sit and watch the other become president.

Other health issues in case McCain (at age 72) is going to be nominated in 2008:
Woodrow Wilson had a stroke; placing him in bed for almost one year. At the time, his wife, Edith, took control as the steward of the government. (Can you imagine Hillary at the wheel of the ship of state back in 1919?)

Today, voters will hold their candidates under a microscope to examine their health to judge their physical fitness for the office. Judgement of candidates is important, their stand on issues is another factor, but the most important item will be AGE. That means he will need to select a more youthful, experienced, qualifed person who can take command immediately if McCain has a heart attack or dies.

WHO FITS THE ROLE AS VICE PRESIDENT under this scenerio? Who does not have an EGO problem, who is a TEAM player? THOSE IS MY QUESTIONS for 2008.

Posted by: Is it McCain? | September 2, 2006 2:22 PM | Report abuse

I see that nothing was mentioned about the sell-out of VITA employees and his administration sitting on a budget error. And never mind the fact that he said he wouldn't raise taxes during his '01 campaign.

Virginia has a history of consistently being rated a well-managed state, regardless of the governor - it's not like Warner turned around a distressed, troubled state. Virginia's management rating is due in part to the governor and the legislature, in part to the state's own watchdog groups like JLARC and the APA, and in part to the fact the Va. economy generally outperforms the national economy meaning that budget downturns in Va. will normally be short-lived. To assert that one person is single-handedly responsible for any statewide rating is questionable at best.

I guess the fact that the surplus last year was equal to or greater than the amount of the tax increase indicates that the decision to increase taxes was necessary? And I guess the fact that his proposed budget last year increased general fund spending by double digits, couple with about $1.4 billion in budget surplus from the previous year, further confirms the need for that tax increase?

And I guess that AAA bond rating is so important because Tim Kaine wants to take advantage of it and use it for those needed transportation projects, right? No, the answer is to raise taxes yet again. So, I guess since Kaine and Warner are inexorably linked, I guess that does mean that Warner's legacy is that of raising taxes. I guess that's a good thing for someone who made a campaign promise not to raise taxes.

Posted by: FortyFour | September 2, 2006 12:54 PM | Report abuse

Well Governor Warner had to raises taxes so they could retain their triple bond rating. He already slashed spending by 25% and could not slash it anymore. So when faced with a huge deficit that would take away the triple bond rating and raising taxes he chose the later. He was right results do matter because restoring fiscal sanity to Virginia's finances caused Virginia's economy to grow and strengthen. Hell, the crazy anti-tax crowd Republicans like George Allen or the Republicans who dominated the legislature did not run into the anti-tax crowd and fight Warner on it. They turned their cheek because they knew it was the only choice and if they did not do it than Virginia would be worrying about a lot more than just an unbalanced budget. Oh if the only accomplishment you can find about Warner is about raising taxes than you sure in the hell did not read anything about Warner except for maybe what Grover N. said. Or you can't read a slew of major magazines and governmental watchdog groups and magazines that rated Warner one of the best Governors in America.

Posted by: PopulistDemocrat | September 2, 2006 1:42 AM | Report abuse

It's amazing to me that Warner gets all these accolades for having a wonderful term as governor. When I look at his term, I see the largest tax hike in state history...which consequently led to a surplus that was equal to or larger than the amount of the hike (does that mean a tax hike was needed? hmm, makes me wonder)...and a sell-out of state IT workers with the VITA deal. Plus, the recent revelation that his administration sat on a $130+ million budget error? This is the epitome of a wonderful term as governor?

Posted by: FortyFour | September 1, 2006 8:09 PM | Report abuse

May I ask how many women come in here to discuss politics? Is Bhoomes a woman? I know Tina is, so that makes 2. And then me.

*********the Forbes lilst of most powerful women in the world just came out.

Condi came in as the world's second most powerful woman, but Merkel is the leader of her nation. I guess that makes Condi the most powerful woman in the USA?

September 1, 2006

*German Chancellor Angela Merkel topped the list.
*U.S. Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice ranked second.
*Chinese Vice Premier Wu Yi was third. *Indra Nooyi, the CEO-designate of PepsiCo, was fourth.
*Xerox Corp. Chairman and Chief Executive Anne Mulcahy is the fifth most powerful woman in the world

*Oprah Winfrey (14th)
* Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (18th)
* and Queen Elizabeth II (46th). She also ranks ahead of the presidents of Chile, Ireland, Finland and the Philippines.
So I think this is great. Rock on for Hillary and Condi. Go for it girls.

Posted by: Woman POWER | September 1, 2006 7:35 PM | Report abuse

Another plus about Warner is that he is the richest man in the Democratic field. He has around $200 mill or more and has shown in the past the willingness to dunp his own cash into the campaign. From the stories of him campaigning is that he is a machine that will work endlessly for a goal. Plus his work as cofounder of Nextel gave him strong ties to the traditonal Republican business community. He raised three millon easily in one day for his PAC. So people who think that HRC is going to run away with the money really do not know how deep Warner's pockets are.

Posted by: PopulistDemocrat | September 1, 2006 5:17 PM | Report abuse

All I know we sane Democrats need to keep Hillary Clinton out as our nominee and use either Mark Warner, Evan Bayh, or John Edwards at the anti-Hillary. Do all three candidates possibly qualify as anti-Hillary? Here is what makes a candidate anti-Hillary:

1) Can Win in Red States
2) Can Unite the Democratic Party left, middle, and right
3) Can pick up swing Republicans and conservative independents
4) Can run a 50 state strategy
5) Well basically can win.

So Edwards, Warner or Bayh qualify as the anti-Hillary.

Posted by: PopulistDemocrat | September 1, 2006 5:07 PM | Report abuse

I say let Condi run. She's got a disastrous record and a paper trail a mile long. It's the same reason a Senator can't run, too many decisions that upset too many people.

Posted by: Will | September 1, 2006 1:41 PM | Report abuse

The Post has a screenshot of Warner's avatar on page A-2 of Friday's edition. It makes him look like a woman. This is politically savvy?

Posted by: tdb | September 1, 2006 11:51 AM | Report abuse

I can see it now!!! the Boomers locked into their gated communities voting on line for the "Hillary Avatar" or the new and improved (un-stiff) ""Kerry Avatar"" who served (again) in "virtual combat" on line in the upgraded version of "AlQaida Carjack III, -the Movie"

Posted by: LSterling | September 1, 2006 10:50 AM | Report abuse

i just wish there was some passion out there behind warner. I like him okay -- certainly he's sane and rational, something you can't say about any of the republican candidates. But I don't love him in the way I do Al Gore, who has become a genuine folk hero to a lot of people.

My daughter adores him. Mostly because, [to correct your record, chris] he was the first true avatar -- having 'appeared' years ago, in a couple episodes of the cartoon show set in the future - 'Futurama'.

Posted by: drindl | September 1, 2006 10:33 AM | Report abuse

right on except warner didn't make billions, only about $250 million

Posted by: Anonymous | September 1, 2006 2:34 AM | Report abuse

Its gonna boil down to who becomes the anti-hillary. Its an interesting race between Edwards, who has the name recognition but is'nt really raising any money, Warner, who is prmoting himself very aggressivly and fund raising nicely, and Bayh, who has the necessary experience and has some cash tucked away.

The negatives on these guys is that Edwards lost as VP and may be yesterday's news. He has very little CoH and doesn't have a truckload of experience to tout.

Warner has 1 term as Governor to back him up, and while it was a successful term, its not a lot of experience.

Bayh's strength is his weakness, he has a record that can be misrepresented. He has also been labelled as uncharasmatic.

Posted by: Rob Millette | September 1, 2006 1:51 AM | Report abuse

If the Democrats want to become what they have been trying to shed themselves of which is being a party that competes in 16 or 17 states than we should nominate Hillary. If want a good Democrat that would make a very good president and puts red states like Kentucky, Louisiana, Colorado, Nevada, Missouri, West Virginia, and Virginia than we should nomiante a Democrat like Warner, Bayh or Edwards. Warner is adapting his knowledge of telecommunications and the power communication plays in exchanging of ideas to the internet campaign. A candidate can't rely on it like Dean did and not have an on the ground organization but the candidate that can harness Dean's online movement coupled with Kerry's or Edward's on the ground movement than they have a good shot to win the nomiantion. Warner is doing the right thing to get his online mobilzation really grounded it could put him over in 2008.

Posted by: PopulistDemocrats | August 31, 2006 10:31 PM | Report abuse

Don't mind Tina. She can't help it. She is possessed...oops, I mean obsessed.

Posted by: Bob | August 31, 2006 9:16 PM | Report abuse

Cheney is not going to sabotage Condi, but the Dems like to think that is so. Lynn Cheney is totally supportive of Condi as well.

On the other hand, if any health problems come up which would force Cheney to resign, just who is going to replace him? BINGO, it is Condi. If that happens, she becomes the TOP candidate for 2008 and the "heir apparent".

The front cover of last weeks Sunday magazine for the Washington Post asked if John McCain was Bush's "heir apparent", and although the article was interesting, there is no evidence of him being directly linked to much of Bush's agenda efforts. Oh yes, McCain helped campaign for Bush in 2004, but there was no blood-brother ceremony to pledge Bush to McCain in 2008. On the issue of loyalty to Bush, again, McCain is not linked to him. Serving the president and helping him achieve his goals is Condi, and that makes her the "heir apparent", whether the Democrats like it or not.

Posted by: Tina | August 31, 2006 8:45 PM | Report abuse

This just got posted, Hillary is running

Clinton: Woman will be president someday By MARC HUMBERT, Associated Press Writer

SENECA FALLS, N.Y. - Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, standing outside an abandoned knitting mill that will become the new home of the National Women's Hall of Fame, said Thursday she hopes America is ready for its first woman president.
"It just depends on when and if that happens," the former first lady told ABC's "Nightline." "Stay tuned."

Clinton continued to duck questions about whether she will run for the White House in 2008, saying yet again she is completely focused on her re-election this year.

But Clinton said that when it comes to a woman holding what she called "the toughest job in the world, some day it will happen."

Clinton was on the campaign trail Thursday reaching out to women -- a core group of supporters -- in her front-running bid for a second Senate term, a race many see as a prelude to a run for president in two years.

Recent polls have shown Clinton far ahead of her rivals in the New York race, and with a distinct advantage among female voters..........
But even some women who support Clinton's re-election this year aren't certain she should run for the White House in 2008, in large part because she is a woman.

Valerie Brechko, an elementary school teacher from Penn Yan, said Wednesday during a Clinton campaign stop that while she is a strong Clinton supporter, she doesn't want her to run in 2008 because she can't win.

"I don't feel that our country is willing or ready to vote a woman into that office," Brechko said. "I hate to say it -- I'm definitely a women's libber -- but they're just not ready."

Posted by: Hillary 08 | August 31, 2006 8:35 PM | Report abuse

Tina, Know you are sincere, but this site isn't meant for shilling for your favorite candidate. Actually by constantly bringing Condi up off subject you aren't doing her any favors.

Warner is an interesting candidate, evidently unafraid of new concepts, a good sign. A thinker. It would be a refreshing change from our current "incurious" Bush. I want to hear more.

Posted by: Truth Hunter | August 31, 2006 8:35 PM | Report abuse

This is an interesting concept, this virtual representation of a person. In my judgement, it fits Warner great. Were talking about a guy from Virginia that made billions in the cell phone industry. Can you imagine talking to people in Va. and trying to convince them cell phones are a wave of the future before they were cool. This was not in the 2000's, this was before mainstream tech. was cool in Va. As an insurance agent, I know how tough it is to sell insurance to blue collar workers here in N.C. I can imagine how difficult it is to sell the idea of cell phones in Va. before the idea was cool. Warner did it and made billions doing it! He's a master salesman whom can touch a rusted piece of medal and make it turn to gold. Once the neroots truly begin the anti-Hillary campaign, and John Tasini is just the beginning, Warner will be more attractive (due to higher fundraising and a reputation as an accomplished chief executive) than Edwards ever could be. He will capitalize and, if not win, be right in the thick of the top 2 or 3 candidates for the nomination. If he doesn't win the nomination, he's hand's down the most attractive VP nominee barring possibly Obama.

Posted by: reason | August 31, 2006 7:51 PM | Report abuse

I say again, Tina, you are a bore. Condi's not running, will never run, can never run. She's made enemies with Cheney. Give it up.

Posted by: Drindl | August 31, 2006 6:48 PM | Report abuse

Here is a bit of the news from
Salt Lake Tribune 8/29/2006

GOP fans see Rice as best hope for 2008
Bush's finest: Despite her repeated denials, backers insist Rice should run for president By Rebecca Walsh

For many Republicans, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is the reason to hope.
She is the answer for GOP plans to continue the Bush White House legacy. More importantly, she's the conservative woman to put a stop to Hillary Clinton.
Rice brushes off such speculation, saying she has no plans to run.
But as the nation's top diplomat stops in Salt Lake City today to speak to the American Legion convention, making the case for the Bush administration's foreign policy and wars, the political prognosticating inevitably follows.
Clinton nemesis and pundit Dick Morris has written a book and several columns promoting the idea. A dozen Web sites are dedicated to persuading Rice to run for president - including one managed by a supporter in Magna. Her favorable ratings are better than those for Bush, Vice President Cheney and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld. And a nationwide poll of Republicans by the Pew Research Center earlier this month put Rice third - behind Arizona Sen. John McCain and former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani - in a head-to-head race for the White House. ........

A veteran of both Bush administrations, 51-year-old Rice was first an academic, teaching political science at Stanford University. She worked for the first President Bush, advising on Soviet and Eastern European issues. She returned to Stanford in 1993, taking a job as provost, in charge of the university's budgets and academic programs. President Bush named her his National Security Adviser when he took office in 2001, promoting her to secretary of state for his second term.
In her time at the State Department, Rice has tried to become the face of American diplomacy, smoothing the Bush administration's international reputation as a hegemonic aggressor.
At home, her clothing and haircuts are dissected as a political makeover, a deliberate strategy to soften her image.
In March, she deflected NBC commentator Tim Russert's repeated questions about a presidential bid.
"I don't want to run for president of the United States," she said then........Her protests haven't discouraged supporters ....who still hold out hope. On, you can sign a petition asking Rice to run. At, state coordinators are listed in a dozen states. ..........
Kelly Patterson, director of Brigham Young University's Center for the Study of Elections and Democracy, said there are more practical obstacles to Rice's candidacy - including timing. Rice technically has a few more months to make up her mind. .......
"You never say never in politics. But the cycle now almost determines for you whether you run," Patterson said. "She hasn't missed it yet. But it's quickly approaching."


Secretary of State
Name: Condoleezza Rice

Age: 51

Education: Bachelor's Degree in Political Science, University of Denver. Master's Degree, University of Notre Dame. Ph.D. from University of Denver.

Professional experience: Stanford University professor, 1981-1989. Stanford University Provost, 1993 -1999.

Political experience: National Security Council Director of Soviet and East European Affairs, 1989-1991. National Security Advisor, 2001-2004. Secretary of State, 2005 to present.

Posted by: Tina | August 31, 2006 6:10 PM | Report abuse

I know that you are monitoring many races, but the coverage of statewide races in South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida seems extremely minimal. Given the fact that popular governor Jeb Bush is retiring, the sitting Republican governor of Georgia Sunny Purdue has been hit with scandals in the last week, and Governor Sanford of South Carolina is consistently rated by numerous media sources as one of the worst governors in the nation, why isn't the Fix focusing more on the Deep South?

Posted by: AJ Dave | August 31, 2006 6:05 PM | Report abuse

On the subject of 2008, the Republican side needs to come into the discussion as well.
Condi Rice gave a great presentation at the American Legion Convention. (which sadly, the Washington Post gave only a small clip of her comments)

She was given the 2006 American Legion Auxiliary Woman of the Year award. Her comments were:
"if you believe as I do and as President Bush does that the root cause of September 11th was the violent expression of a global extremist ideology, an ideology that thrives on the oppression and the despair of the Middle East then we must seek to remove this source of terror by helping the people of that troubled region to transform their countries and transform their lives."
Condi is standing shoulder to shoulder with the President like a VP already. She is the key adviser to him and they speak with each other every day. She stays at the Crawford Ranch in her own house next to the Bush house. They travel together, they eat together, and Laura loves Condi like a sister. Laura wants Condi to run, and Lynn Cheney has mentioned Condi as president as well.

On the subject of Mark Warner, the Democrats will end up with the UN-Hillary candidate. He is a former governor and might give her a run for her $20 million. But it is interesting to see her NEGATIVE rating at over 40% who would not vote for her or support her.

Posted by: Tina | August 31, 2006 6:01 PM | Report abuse

I wish the Washington Post had lent credit to Wagner James Au (aka Hamlet Au) for his hosting of the event and posting it in his blog, New World Notes ( The blog is in many ways the source for this story, since Hamlet Au was the reporter conducting the interview.

Posted by: Toni | August 31, 2006 5:53 PM | Report abuse

Warner would be an excellent standard bearer for the Democrats in '08. He's a former gov. from a predominantly red state. He doesn't have a voting record in Congress for the Republicans to misrepresent.

Now if only Hillary and others would get out of the way. Alas, never happen.

Posted by: J. Crozier | August 31, 2006 5:48 PM | Report abuse

At some point the "set in stone" anti-Hillary vote will be impossible for the Dems to ignore and Warner will be right there to take the nomination and the presidency.

What a great day for this country when the self-made Warner replaces the jabbering silver-spoon Bush!

Posted by: Loudoun Voter | August 31, 2006 5:47 PM | Report abuse

"Warner created an avatar -- a "virtual" representation of himself -- to appear the interview."

" appear IN the interview" or " appear as himself during the interview." Still trying to figure out just what this is and where we can view it. It isn't obvious at the website and "Mark Warner" brings up nada from their search box.

Posted by: lpdrjk | August 31, 2006 5:16 PM | Report abuse

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