How much does 84-year old Sen. Ted Stevens know about the Internet? More than a Washingtonpost.com blogger, it may turn out.
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Mary Anne Akers, who handles "The Sleuth" political blog for the Washington Post Web site, wrote last week that the StevensforSenate.com site contained a weird comment referencing cats typing and then rambling through cosmic radiation and interplanetary alien beings.
The Post had fun with it, especially after Stevens' earlier description of the Internet as a "series of tubes."
Akers called him "Techno Ted" and asked "Um, senator? Are you OK?"
Actually, "Techno Ted" might be an appropriate description, according to a top aide.
Tim McKeever in Anchorage, campaign treasurer for the Republican senator, said the page Akers found was not on any Stevens site, but instead on a Web-hosting service's login page.
"Apparently there is a certain type of server that caused this message to pop up. It's somewhat common and well-known if you are a Web master or Web expert," McKeever said.
The loony statements resemble hacker humor rather than anything a campaign would post. The site where the message was reportedly found, StevensforSenate.com, has been held unused by the Stevens campaign since 1999.
Stevens' 2008 re-election campaign site will be TedStevens2008.com, McKeever said. He said all that information had been provided to Akers, to no avail.
"They chose not to indicate that they had made a mistake," he said.
Akers did not respond to an e-mail from the Empire, sent midday Alaska Time but late in the day Eastern Time. Meanwhile, Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee bloggers and others continued to run with the erroneous information, McKeever said.
What really peeved the treasurer was the impression that Stevens was not technically savvy.
"He's got two BlackBerries and carries an iPod," McKeever said.
Akers, according to Washingtonpost.com, once covered Congress for the Washington Times. The right-wing publication recently provided U.S. Rep. Don Young, R-Alaska, with a made-up quote attributed to Abraham Lincoln.
Young used the quote to buttress his view that congressmen who oppose the president should be "arrested, exiled or hanged." He has since acknowledged the error.
Pat Forgey can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.