GOP Leadership to Issue the iPod Touch to House Republicans

A group thought by many to be devoid of tech-savvy compared to their Democratic counterparts is attempting to break that stereotype by using technology that a lot of people have incorporated in their daily lives.

Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., told a group assembled at the Heritage Foundation’s Blogger’s Briefing on March 17 that he and House Minority Whip Rep. Eric Cantor, R-Va., are developing an application for the iPod Touch, a product of Apple, Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL), that would be used to keep the entire House GOP on a unified message.

“The one thing Cantor and I have done, we’re buying, all the [members], what we call ‘Whip Pods,’ the i[Pod] Touches,” McCarthy said. “And the reason that we’re doing this is threefold. One is, we spend a lot of time in airplanes, so what you will do is – we’re creating an app, so when the members get them, they’ll have an app that’s automatically updated. When they go to get on the airplane, what are they going to do? They’re going to listen to it.”

According to McCarthy, who represents California’s 22nd Congressional District, the device would be easier and more efficient to use than reading and it would help GOP legislators be heard over the president’s bully pulpet.

“If you’re like me, it’s easier to listen than to read,” McCarthy said. “So, you will hear what transpired this week – what the message is. If you’re in the minority, you have to get the message out. To break the microphone of Obama and everybody else, you can’t give 178 messages. We have to stay on message. And so, we will provide that.”

It would also make it easier for members to update the entire caucus on developments in their different committees.

“And the other thing is, you can only serve on certain committees, but everything else that is going on, everybody else in your constituency wants to know about it,” McCarthy said. “So, we’ll get the ranking members and others to give you an update on that. So you’re utilizing your time on the plane with some recommended reading.”

McCarthy said he will also try to overcome one of the criticisms of the Republican Party by encouraging members to familiarize themselves with available technology.

According to the California Republican, it would be phased in, first with members of the Republican Whip team, then the members of the Republican conference and eventually it would be used as a mass media outlet for the general public.

“That’s the way you grow the message out and what you’re doing is you’re supplying information,” McCarthy added.

According to the Apple Web site, the iPod Touch varies anywhere between $229 and $399, depending on the amount of storage space. It can be updated through a wireless or Wi-Fi Internet network or through a computer connection.