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Why Drudge Matters

We've written extensively on The Fix about the importance of the Drudge Report in shaping the day-to-day political debate in American politics.

The last 24 hours provided another great example.

Last night a YouTube video, which you can watch by scrolling to end of the this post, found its way onto Drudge. In the 1989 clip, Rudy Giuliani says: "There must be public funding for abortions for poor women. We cannot deny any woman the right to make her own decision about abortion because she lacks resources." He adds that he objected to then-President George H.W. Bush's veto of legislation that would have provided public funding for abortion.

Why did someone send Drudge the Giuliani video last night? Maybe it had something to do with the fact that the former New York City Mayor was scheduled to hold a press conference this morning in Washington. Although none of the questions specifically mentioned the Youtube clip, he faced several queries about his stance on abortion and how that would affect his chances at winning the Republican nomination.

You can be sure every reporter in that room had seen (or at least heard about) the Youtube clip and had it in mind when they posed their questions. In fact, as of this writing, the clip has been viewed nearly 37,000 times since it was posted on Sunday.

Call it the Drudge effect.

Major media outlets -- especially television networks -- use Drudge as a launching pad for their coverage, a fact that any first-tier presidential campaign is well aware of. Therefore, if a rival campaign (perish the thought!) wanted to step on Giuliani's announcement by raising questions about his conservative bona fides via a well-timed leak, Drudge was (and is) the medium of choice.

Watch how Drudge is used as a news driver by the various Republican (and Democratic) campaigns as they seek to disseminate negative information about their opponents throughout the primary process.

And, remember that whether you love him or hate him, you can't ignore Drudge.

By Chris Cillizza  |  March 12, 2007; 3:58 PM ET
Categories:  Eye on 2008  
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