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Website of the Week — American Presidency

Time again for our Website of the Week, when we showcase interesting and innovative online destinations. Our web guide is VOA's Art Chimes.

As we get deeper into the presidential election campaign here in the United States, face-to-face debates are an important part of the process in the final weeks.

This campaign saw an exceptionally large number of debates during the primary season as well. So we dip into the Website of the Week archives for a site that features transcripts of all of them, as well as previous debates and a wide range of other U.S. presidential documents from the 18th century right through today.

"We have all of the Public Papers and Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents in a searchable database, and they're available online for researchers, and that way people can search presidential documents across the entire range of presidential history, says Gerhard Peters, co-founder of

Various kinds of presidential documents - speeches, press conferences and other material - are widely available, but this website, which is hosted at the University of California in Santa Barbara, aims to bring everything together in one place.

"So this includes everything from public remarks, transcripts of news conferences, transcripts of all the addresses, and also written documents such as proclamations, executive orders, memoranda, statements, and the messages to Congress."

The emphasis is on written material, but there are also hundreds of audio and video clips, such as President Franklin Roosevelt's World War II-era fireside chats on radio and video of President John F. Kennedy's inauguration address.

And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country.

To help you learn more about the candidates in November's presidential election, there are transcripts of those debates going back through the primary election season as well as some 300 speeches, interviews and other public comments by Senators Obama and McCain over the course of this very long campaign.

Gerhard Peters says one final job in this election season will be to capture documents on the current White House website, which will go dark when President Bush leaves office in January, and his successor launches a new White House website.

Two centuries of presidential history on, or get the link to this and more than 200 other Websites of the Week from our site,