New Republican Party site crashes hours after launch

Michael Steele said that GOP.com would rival social networking efforts undertaken by the Democrats. But on Tuesday, the site was plagued by bugs and glitches.

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There's a metaphor lurking in here somewhere. The same day GOP Chairman Michael Steele unveiled a new online home for the Republican Party, the website apparently crashed, leaving users unable to log on to GOP.com.

The site was meant to rival the digital operation run by the Democrats and President Barack Obama, who used social networking to great effect in the 2008 elections. GOP.com has a YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, and Flickr presence, and an array of blogs, including the "What Up" blog, which will be penned by Steele himself.

"[The new site] takes advantage of various online tools to connect Republicans and concerned Americans across the country to each other and party leaders, creating a larger, more informed, more organized, and more energized Republican community," Steele told the Associated Press today.

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But early this afternoon, bloggers had found a mass of bugs and glitches, including repeated php problems. By 3:30 p.m. EDT, GOP.com slowed to a crawl, eventually shutting out users. The official cause? A network error.

No word yet from the GOP tech staff. In the meantime, we'll have to make due do with digs from the Democrats, who are basking in the glee of their technically inept rivals.

"You know your web program is in trouble when your site can't even handle the traffic bump from people making fun of your web program," Joe Rospars of Blue State Digital told Talking Points Memo today.

Update, 4:11 p.m. EDT: GOP.com is back online, but operating at a snail's pace.

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