Grassroots.com snags former White House official

The political services Web site names onetime press secretary Mike McCurry as its new chief executive and readies a new line of Internet-based products and services.

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Mike McCurry, CEO, Grassroots.com

Political services Web site Grassroots.com has signed former White House press secretary Mike McCurry to be its leader.

The privately held company, based in San Francisco, Wednesday appointed McCurry as its new chief executive officer, as it gets set to launch its new line of Internet-based products and services.

McCurry, 46, who most notably served as press secretary for President Clinton from 1995 to 1998, also will remain a Grassroots board member. McCurry replaces co-founder Craig Johnson, who served as the interim CEO.

Founded in September of last year, Grassroots is a political news site where voters can download video of candidates' speeches or engage in chat-room discussions about hot-button political issues. The company also offers online services for candidates aiming to raise money, recruit volunteers and motivate last-minute voters.

Grassroots competes against several other political Web sites such as Evote.com, Election.com and Voter.com. Recently, some of the more election-themed Web sites have hit hard times.

Just yesterday, Boston-based Voter.com laid off more than 10 percent of its staff. The company intends to expand beyond providing political coverage and information to offering services designed to help companies and advocacy groups establish a political presence on the Web. Earlier this month, upstart Politics.com put its domain name up for sale and said it plans to shut down its business.

Grassroots said one of the early actions on McCurry's agenda is to introduce Mobilize, the first in a series of online advocacy products and services that the company intends to launch over the next six months. The second product, code-named Jefferson, will help complete the company's transformation into an application service provider (ASP). Jefferson is still under development, the company said.

ASPs rent and host software and services for a monthly fee so that customers don't have to install and run applications themselves. Grassroots' latest set of products is intended to help advocacy organizations manage and communicate with their constituents via the Net in a less costly and more controlled manner, the company said.