John McCaslin

As the editor at large of the magazine writes: "The lesson of the new campaign is similar to the Miranda warning offered in the United States to suspects placed under arrest: Anything you say can and will be used against you."

"It's a different campaign," Mr. Graff said yesterday, "in that every single moment of these candidates' campaigns are taped and recorded, and the juiciest parts are then turned around and broadcast to the entire world. We had the case just this past week of the John McCain video — recorded at a private event, in a private home — where a lady asked him how are we going to stop this '[expletive],' referring to Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton."

"It's now reached the point where reporters from The Washington Post are carrying video cameras with them, as are reporters from the New York Times," adds Mr. Graff, as the traditional media is trying to keep up with the growing popularity of Internet-based journalism.

On a more positive note, candidates themselves are realizing the tremendous power of the Web. The Internet has even changed the debating format. Consider last night's Republican YouTube debate.

"I argue in the book that the Republicans badly need to understand this new online campaigning, and that their participation in the debate is a sign they're coming around," Mr. Graff told Inside the Beltway yesterday.

Avenue Q

There was a standing ovation at Tuesday night's opening of "Avenue Q" at the National Theatre.

A word of caution, however: Don't bring children along to this easily R-rated Sesame Street-style performance that includes puppet characters who, living as neighbors on Avenue Q, struggle to search for the elusive purpose of life.

Not to worry, or so the motley cast finally concludes. After all, nothing lasts forever, they sing, including — to the overwhelming approval of the raucous audience — the reign of George W. Bush.

John McCaslin

John McCaslin is a contributing columnist on and author of Inside The Beltway: Offbeat Stories, Scoops, and Shenanigans from around the Nation's Capital .

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