For all the feuds and Q&As and hash-tag attacks on Twitter, top advisers to Mitt Romney and President Obama say that social media isn’t by itself shaping this year's election.
“We just view it as another means of communicating. I don't think that it sets the tone for the race like the mainstream press does,” said Romney adviser Eric Fehrnstrom on CBS’ Face the Nation on Sunday.
Fehrnstrom was responding to a piece written by Politico last week that suggested the campaigns have been focused on small, insignificant details – like Twitter feuds – and not enough on the bigger-picture ideas. Fehrnstrom dismissed the claim but did say Twitter was useful, at least, for shaping the conversation.
“What we have noticed is that stories can incubate there and then propel themselves into the daily conversation of the campaign. So we want to be part of that. We want to shape the conversation to the extent that we can,” he said.
In a rare moment of agreement between the two campaigns, Obama Deputy Campaign Manager Stephanie Cutter supported Fehrnstrom, saying that “it is another mode of communication that we have now,” and that Twitter is useful, in part, to influence the media.
“The big users of it, in addition to the campaigns, are actually the media," she said. "That's where I see where the news is breaking and where trends are going.”
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