Hollywood Reporter
updated 2/2/2004 10:44:21 PM ET 2004-02-03T03:44:21

If tracking the gaffes and triumphs of those who would be president of the United States sounds like a good time to you, surf on over to PresidentialMarket.org.

The site lets users treat politicians like shares of stock that can be bought, sold and even sold short, just like on Wall Street.

It's a joint venture of PBS' Los Angeles outlet KCET, the NPR radio program "Marketplace" and the PBS television show "Frontline." Although its purpose is to educate — which is why there are links to news items about the presidential primaries — most visitors will no doubt be attracted by the competitive aspect: The person who turns a faux $2,500 into the most funny money by the time November's election rolls around wins a trip for two to the inauguration.

Unfortunately, the site went live about a week ago with little fanfare, and the few early players have amassed quite a phony fortune already, some more than $1 million — mostly, it seems, by bidding shares of Democratic long-shot Dennis Kucinich up to $2,500 and back down to $100 several times per day.

"Mischievous types have taken advantage," conceded Marrie Campbell, editorial director of "Frontline's" Web site. "There are people forming groups and wreaking havoc."

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