Netizen Forbes Launches His Presidential Bid

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Last time around he was the one-trick pony with a lot more money than charisma; now he's at pains to show that there's more to Steve Forbes than a flat tax. The billionaire publisher launches his bid for the Republican nomination Tuesday directly from his campaign web site, hoping to "demonstrate the importance the Internet will play returning democracy to the individual." The idea may not be particularly novel, but Forbes appears set on retreading campaign themes that have worked for others. "He's spent heavily recruiting veteran organizers of the Buchanan brigade and the Christian Coalition to build a strong organization that will be so crucial in the early contest," says TIME correspondent John Dickerson. "He's courting the GOP's social conservatives, whom he so angered in 1996."

At the other end of the spectrum, he's hoping to appeal to the urbane and tech-savvy. "The Internet today will be for Steve Forbes what television was for John Kennedy in 1960," boasts Forbes campaign manager Bill DalCol. That would leave Al Gore wishing he'd never invented the damn thing.