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Homepage / EARTHQUAKE

Nation Reacts to East Coast Earthquake

Traffic backed up on South Capitol Street: everyone heading away from the Capitol and few heading toward it.(PHOTO: JULIA EDWARDS)

August 23, 2011

Washingtonians did more than just run for the streets when the earthquake forced the evacuations of their office buildings early Tuesday afternoon when a 5.8 earthquake shook the nation's capital.

They also kept up a steady stream of tweets, providing running commentary on President Obama’s golfing, the Republican campaign and the news judgment of the cable networks.

Here is the best of what our readers, sources and tweeters had to share.

 

Reader Melissa Green of Amherst, Mass., wrote, "I was sitting at my desk at work giving TweetDeck the side eye ... And then the floor started shaking. Three of us in the office gave each other confused looks and weren't really sure what was happening. Ten minutes later, the fourth person in the room took off his headphones and announced that there had been an earthquake in Virginia. Apparently he hadn't felt anything. Right then our boss came back from lunch and we asked if she felt it -- she looked at us like we had lost it and asked if she was on hidden camera."

(PICTURES: See Quake Scenes)

In Washington, Republican political consultant Mike Murphy tied the quake to Republican Rep. Michele Bachmann’s hard line in the recent debt debate, tweeting, "Bachmann out first with statement: as President she'll lower quakes to 2.9." A Californian, he also tweaked Washingtonians for their over-reaction to the temblor, tweeting, "DC freaking out over a 5.9 quake. Here in LA, we call a 5.9 a ‘tinkerbell’."

There were also comments about how the quake affected work in D.C. Former Obama press aide Bill Burton tweeted, "Everyone is being let back into the White House.// subtext the bar at the Hay Adams is emptying out.” And Howard Kurtz of the Daily Beast wrote: “This just in: Productivity in DC has plummeted. What, you didn’t notice?”

Reader Tom Fahy from Capitol GR Group, wrote, "My office is located one block from Farragut West Metro. As the seismic shock waves arrived, I heard the aloud subterranean roar that I know is the P-Wave. Within seconds, the S-waves hit and the building started to shake. Picture frames on the wall rattled, but none fell off. From my window I saw building tenants scurrying out of the back entrance of my building and neighboring buildings. Since I work in the Natural Hazard Emergency Communications, my first reaction was to call USGS to confirm the size of the quake and check with California seismic authorities. My smart phone worked for SMS-text, but not for voice communications."

Liberal activist Markos Moulitsas of "Daily Kos" fame, was particularly prolific in his tweets, offering commentary on the news judgment of CNN and the reporters questioning Obama’s vacation. “Why won’t Obama stop golf game????” was one retweet that prompted him to sarcastically note there was some damage to a Maryland liquor store. He also tweeted, “I really should get back to work, but this is too entertaining. CNN should really get back to Libya, but they're too stupid.”

Of course, he was not alone in critiquing the news coverage. Paul Bedard of U.S. News & World Report tweeted "OMG one radio guy actually reported that his outdoor sofa shook so bad he woke up from a nap."

Bruce Mehlman of the lobbying firm Mehlman, Vogel Castagnetti, wrote, "35,000 feet above Nevada on a Virgin America flight from SFO. Our firm tries to ensure continuity of service for our clients by keeping at least one lobbyist out of Washington at all times.... I missed the DC quake by going to San Francisco!"

Vesna Pracer from Atlanta, wrote, "I was sitting at my office desk and felt like the floor under my chair was vibrating….for several seconds, three times in a row. It happened around 2 PM ET. Since no one else in the office didn’t seem to feel it, I didn’t even mentioned to anybody strange vibrations until I learned about the earthquake in VA."

Reader Kurt Binversie wrote, "We were driving on US 301 in Virginia near Port Royal, Va. As we were stopped at the stop light, everything started shaking. Currently told by Maryland Police Authority that Gov Nice Bridge is closed until a inspection team comes from Baltimore."

But all things in Washington come back to politics. David Corn of Mother Jones tweeted, "Thank God the Republicans prevented Obama from raising the Richter scale limit.” Republican consultant Eric Fehrnstrom tweeted, "How long before Obama and his advisers add "earthquake" to the blame list for the bad economy?”

Finally humorist Mo Rocca tweeted: "For "DC Earthquake" I'm definitely casting Barbara Boxer in the Ava Gardner role. But who is in the Charlton Heston role? McCain or Boehner?"

 

Did you feel Tuesday's earthquake? Send pictures and let us know where you were, if you saw any damage, and how you responded at readers@nationaljournal.com. Please include your full name and location.

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