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Jobs Joins Kerry Campaign as Tech Advisor

By MacNewsWorld Staff MacNewsWorld ECT News Network
May 4, 2004 9:30 AM PT

After missing last week's historic Senate vote on the Internet tax moratorium, Sen. John Kerry (D-Massachusetts) has reportedly tapped Apple CEO Steve Jobs as an informal advisor on technology issues.

Jobs Joins Kerry Campaign as Tech Advisor

Antony McShane, a Chicago-based intellectual property (IP) and technology attorney, called Kerry's decision exciting and interesting.

"Jobs is the man" in technology, McShane told MacNewsWorld, adding that the CEO's addition to the Kerry campaign could add some needed cachet in this arena.

AWOL on Internet

The tax moratorium passed in the Senate by a vote of 93 to 3. The legislation extends the national ban on Internet access taxes for another four years.

"I know [Kerry] didnít vote with us, because the coalition passed around a list of [Democrats] voting with us and he wasn't on it," Robert T. Herman, information and privacy coordinator with the Consumer Internet Access Coalition, told MacNewsWorld.

Kerry was one of only four Senators missing the crucial vote. Technology company lobbyists speaking last week with MacNewsWorld labeled the vote as one of the most important ones for small businesses -- and the economy overall -- that Congress will take up this year.

At the same time, French Caldwell, vice president of technology and public policy at Gartner, told MacNewsWorld that Kerry probably knew that last week's vote would be overwhelmingly in favor of extending the ban.

"I doubt [Kerry's decision to skip the vote] has any significant indication of what he thinks of technology and its impact on the economy overall," Caldwell said.

Jobs vs. High Tech Jobs

Jobs joins a team of celebrity advisors, who include investor Warren Buffett, Roger Altman, a former advisor to Bill Clinton, as well as former Labor Secretary Robert Reich, AFL-CIO labor organization President John Sweeney, and former Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin, head of Citigroup's executive committee.

Jobs thus far has not donated any money for Kerry's bid for president, although Apple employees have given some US$7,000 to the campaign.

Some Democrats have voiced fears about Kerry's campaign, with former Clinton advisor James Carville being the most pointed. Carville noted on his Web site that voters do not find Kerry to be warm or personable. Concerns are growing over Kerry's credibility, after ABC News reported that it had a tape of Kerry stating that he did toss away his war medals, when he has publicly denied that he ever did such a thing as a Vietnam era protestor.

Trying to change the subject, the presidential candidate visited shuttered downtowns and work sites on a three-day "Jobs First" bus tour through West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Ohio and Michigan last week. The tour was completed on Wednesday in Ann Arbor, Michigan, before the Internet tax vote the next day.

Following Tradition

While it is hard to say what impact he will ultimately have on the Kerry campaign, Jobs is following recent Silicon Valley tradition, Apple industry analyst Tim Bajarin told MacNewsWorld.

"There is historical precedent on both sides of the aisle to act as technology advisors in one form or another," Bajarin said.

"Jobs was a strong backer of Gore in the last election," Bajarin continued. "This shows the evolution of Steve's own political background and of his desire to make sure [Kerry] is aware of key issues regarding the arena of technology."

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