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One More Chapter In A Familiar Online Story

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Yes, it's a storyline you've likely read more than once (probably way more) in the past year: The Internet is going to have a bigger influence than ever on the 2008 presidential campaign.

The hoopla surrounding two bloggers hired by John Edwards' campaign – Amanda Marcotte and Melissa McEwan – ushered in yet another chapter to that story. And today offers another volume: one of the bloggers, Amanda Marcotte, has resigned.

After a firestorm erupted over the bloggers' respective "cyber trails" of incendiary remarks – specifically, some anti-Catholic ones – some critics were calling for their removal from the Edwards campaign.

Ultimately, Edwards decided last week to keep the bloggers on staff, while distancing himself from some of their comments. The bloggers also offered apologies.

But Marcotte has resigned anyway, the Washington Post reports today, blaming Bill Donohoe, president of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights and one of her loudest critics.

According to the Post, she wrote on her blog yesterday that Donohoe "and his calvacade of right wing shills don't respect that a mere woman like me could be hired for my skills, and pretended that John Edwards had to be held accountable for some of my personal, non-mainstream views on religious influence on politics," which Marcotte described as being "anti-theocracy."

The whole situation is, of course, a microcosm of the conflict that candidates now face as the blogosphere comes to play a bigger role in the campaign media game.

The Post puts it this way: "Every major presidential candidate has hired one or more bloggers as a way to tap into the network of online activists who can generate considerable buzz, and donations, in a campaign. But many of these bloggers have a long cybertrail that leaves them vulnerable to criticism in the more buttoned-down environment of national politics."

In other words, this is likely only the first edition of a long campaign trail of storylines like it.