The Twitter brouhaha between Ann Romney, Hilary Rosen, and the Obama and Romney campaigns wasn't the first time politicos have taken to the microblogging platform to air grievances. These five conflicts, which played across on Twitter, created not as much of a splash, but still showed how the medium furnishes a ready-made battleground.
Dude, Shouldn’t You Be in Debate Prep?
In January, Romney aide Eric Fehrnstrom took to Twitter to argue that more jobs had been lost under President Obama than any in history. Obama strategist David Axelord returned fire, linking to a graph showing 22 straight months of job growth, and jabbing that Romney had nothing to say when job losses mounted under President Bush. Toward the end, Fehrnstrom tweeted: “Why does Obama blame everyone but himself? If he were kicker on NFL team and missed a field goal, would he blame the wind?” Axelrod’s response: “Dude, none of my business, but shouldn't you be in debate prep instead of trying to explain yourself to me?” Fehrnstrom: “Haha! Believe it or not, the economy is an issue where we don't prep Mitt, he preps us.”
The Chimichanga Imbroglio
This one started in February with a line from Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank: "The chimichanga? It may be the only thing Republicans have left to offer Latinos." Jim Messina, Obama’s campaign manager, tweeted it was the “Line of the day.” Eric Fehrnstrom, the Romney aide pounced: “@Messina2012 first distinguished himself by swearing on a campaign video. Now he tweets offensive comments about Hispanics.” That prompted a jab from Obama campaign press secretary Ben LaBolt, referencing an earlier Fehrnstrom slip-up in which he pseudonymously attacked a Democratic Senate candidate via Twitter: “wait you're not hiding behind a fake name to launch attacks on your opponents anymore?” Further piling-on came from Brad Woodhouse, the DNC’s communications director: “so rounding up undocumented workers and deporting them or calling the Dream [sic] Act a handout ISN'T offensive?” Fehrnstrom was nowhere to be found after that.
Facts Are Facts Are Facts
Except for when they're not. Isn't that how it always goes in Washington? That was certainly the case during a February Twitter exchange between White House Press Secretary Jay Carney and House Speaker John Boehner's press secretary, Brendan Buck. The two sparred over Obama's energy policy, with Buck tweeting "Sorry, @PressSec, facts are facts: There's LESS offshore acreage open for energy production now that there was when POTUS took office." Carney responded, rather snarkily, by turning Buck's words against him: "sorry @Brendan_Buck, facts are facts: under Pres Obama, domestic oil & gas production is up, reliance on imports is down.” The two continued their back and forth on energy policy, eventually landing on the controversial Keystone XL pipeline that Obama refused to approve, at which point Carney was either left speechless or decided to back out and left the argument.
Constituents Askd, Grassley Answrd
Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, is known for his unique tweeting style, which usually does entirely away with conventions of grammar and spelling. But earlier this month, the content -- rather than the poor form – of one of his tweets came under scrutiny when he tweeted that Obama was stupid: "Constituents askd why i am not outraged at PresO attack on supreme court independence. Bcause Am ppl r not stupid as this x prof of con law." Obama campaign adviser David Axelrod, frequently on the Twitter scene, came to Obama's rescue and helpfully told Grassley "I think a 6-year-old hijacked your account and is sending out foolish Tweets just to embarrass you!" Grassley never walked back on his remarks, though, and has, in the meantime, stuck mostly to tweeting about his stops around Iowa.
Sarah Palin’s Twitter Tangle
Remember the fight over the so-called "Ground Zero" mosque, a Muslim community center and Mosque planned for construction two blocks away from Ground Zero? Remember Sarah Palin's tweet about it? In 2010, she tweeted to her followers: "Peace-seeking Muslims, pls understand, Ground Zero mosque is UNNECESSARY provocation; it stabs hearts. Pls reject it in interest of healing," and started off a minor Twitter battle with Andrea Batista Schlesinger, an aide to New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg. “@SarahPalinUSA mind your business" Schlesinger tweeted, adding shortly after, "@SarahPalinUSA whose hearts? Racist hearts?" Shortly after, Schlesinger deleted the tweets. But she's not the only one to tangle with Palin on Twitter – president of the Democratic PAC Emily's List, Stephanie Schriock, also took to Twitter to respond to a Palin tweet.