If you told Bob Dole that he is spamming voters, the joke goes, he might think you were talking about canned ham. But subscribers to political newsgroups suspect his campaign of doing just that, and some find it no laughing matter.
At least 20 Netizens said they have received messages that included information about campaign events and criticism of the Clinton-Gore campaign in the spams, or mass unsolicited emails.
"I got SPAM from Bob Dole's campaign!" one Netizen said. "I'm not registered Republican, and it was sent to an email address that I only created a month and a half ago on my own server. I have no clue how they got it."
The Dole-Kemp campaign denies the spamming allegations. Some speculate that the messages came from a prankster who took Netizens' email addresses from a newsgroup and subscribed them to the Dole-Kemp site.
"He wanted to see how much hate and discontent he could stir up," another user guessed. "Must have been a Democrat."
Most subscribers felt invaded by the messages, but some welcomed them. "I have no problem with it since I am...Yes, a Republican...! And here I was thinking I was special getting a spam from Dole!"
About 48,000 Republicans have registered with the Dole-Kemp campaign and receive weekly messages with the slogan: "Bob Dole. The Better Man. For a Better America."
To receive email and occasional information from the campaign, voters are required to register at the official Dole/Kemp site with their first and last names, email addresses, and residing states.
Messages are targeted to voters depending on where they live. The majority of registrants come from California. Voters also can send virtual postcards to friends and family.
Despite the campaign's denials that it is sending the spams, one Netizen said his postcard was signed "bob"--and he doesn't know any Bob.