Ticket Replay: President Obama: 'I have never used Twitter'
As the holiday season arrives, our thoughts on The Ticket turn to
working not quite so hard for a few days. So we are re-publishing some
of our favorite or most-read items from 2009. This item originally appeared on Nov. 16.
More than 2.6 million people follow President Obama on Twitter -- or so they thought. The president told a youth audience in Shanghai on Sunday that he has never used Twitter.
Hmmm. So then who's been sending out all these faked Tweets under his name?
The @BarackObama Twitter account was a wildly successful campaign tool in Obama's run-up to the presidency last year, which staffers used to promote their candidate. Since being elected, the account is believed to have been taken over by the Democratic National Committee.
“I have never used Twitter, but I’m an advocate of technology and not restricting Internet access," Obama said during the town hall. "My thumbs are too clumsy to type in things on the phone."
The latter statement elicited laughs from the crowd. Perhaps because Twitter is not solely a phone application. Or maybe some recall this photo (right) from the campaign showing Obama's professed tech-savviness.
But we should point out that Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), Obama's opponent in the election, has somehow managed to write cohesive sentences on his Twitter page here using his war-mangled fingers -- well, either that or a staffer relays his tweets for him.
Ahh! We don't know anymore!
Now knowing that the tweets don't actually come from Obama himself, followers have expressed disappointment. "I have never used" was a trending topic on Twitter this morning (meaning many people tweeted messages with the phrase) as users reacted to the news.
"Humbled," which was @BarackObama's one-word reaction to news of being selected as a Nobel Peace Prize winner, carries a lot less weight with the new knowledge. Who's humbled? Some rep at the DNC?
The White House maintains its own Twitter profile. The page, @WhiteHouse, has gained significant popularity of its own, with 1.5 million followers, in a relatively short amount of time.
But Obama -- err, whoever is typing messages under his guise -- still reaches a million more people.
-- Mark Milian
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Photo credit: Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times; Associated Press (Candidate Obama using his clumsy thumbs pretty deftly on his beloved BlackBerry).