- The Washington Times - Tuesday, May 23, 2000

Bob Dole's name has become synonymous outside the Beltway with the impotence drug Viagra.

But in Washington, the former senator is still viewed as a powerful force and a compelling personality. The man who once pushed bills through Congress these days is pushing credit cards, impotence drugs and now Internet services.

The Internet start-up company www.EqualFooting.com hopes to tap into Mr. Dole's celebrity.

Mr. Dole will be a strategic consultant to the Sterling, Va.-based company, which connects small businesses with equipment suppliers and service providers via the Internet.

He seems an unlikely choice to speak for a young industry. At 76, Mr. Dole has become known for such age-related problems as erectile dysfunction. He's also hawked the Visa check card in television commercials.

But EqualFooting President and Chief Customer Officer Angie Kim said the former politician has a great network to get the company's message out.

"Our marketing efforts have really depended on getting a lot of credibility associated with our brand," Ms. Kim said.

Mr. Dole, who worked on small-business issues while in Congress, still has contacts on the Hill and in trade associations and those groups can tell their constituents about EqualFooting's services.

"He understands some of the challenges that some of the Main Street mom-and-pops face," Ms. Kim said.

She added that for a "nominal" fee and equity, Mr. Dole will get the word out about the company as well as offer counsel on the best corporate partners for the firm.

EqualFooting has garnered a lot of attention since its creation in January, with an appearance by Mr. Dole at its kickoff party at Union Station. Investors include America Online Chairman Steve Case and Netscape co-founder Marc Andreessen.

Advisers from more traditional sectors include Mr. Dole, who was unavailable for comment, and Reed Hundt, chairman of the Federal Communications Commission from 1993 to 1997.

"They see an opportunity to help shape the way the new economy is going to be played out," Ms. Kim said.

"Each of us have gotten to know [the company] in different ways, but we've all reached the same conclusion" that EqualFooting is a strong company worth investing in, said Mr. Hundt.

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