The Twitter Campaign

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President Obama doesn’t think much of the campaign his opponent is running. “You can pretty much put their campaign on a tweet and have some characters to spare,” Obama told the crowd at a Tuesday fundraiser. It was a fitting salvo for a presidential election that resembles nothing right now so much as an Internet flame war. And so Democrats moved with alacrity, turning the dig into a Twitter hashtag within hours. At which point Obama’s detractors proceeded to turn the coinage against him, as the media cycle requires, with both Romney staffers and the conservative media questioning the gall of a guy who got elected on gauzy notions of hope and change. 

The Romney campaign and its allies are no slouch at the hashtag battles themselves. Within minutes of the President’s comments on the relative health of the economy last Friday, the RNC was lighting up the hermetically sealed Beltway echo chamber with #doingfine snark. By Sunday, a political eternity later, the slogan was so ubiquitous they simply blasted out emails using the hashtag as the title. The fire was fed by a zillion live-tweets and blog posts relaying the attack, and then fanned anew by the ensuing wave of criticism. (Including, alas, posts such as this.)

“It’s official,” Politico declares: “2012 is actually a Twitter hashtag war.” Pretty much.