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Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Campaigns\' Rapid Response Efforts Get a Little More Rapid


Mitt Romney's campaign began a new Twitter account, @RomneyResponse, and Tumblr blog on Wednesday to quickly point out online what it views as false information promoted by President Obama and his campaign team, along with inaccuracies made in reports from mainstream news media organizations.

“We are committed to using these tools to communicate accurate information to our supporters and to reporters quickly,” said Ryan Williams, a spokesman for Mr. Romney's presidential campaign.

As part of the campaign's rapid response operation, the Twitter account got to work shortly after its first post at 7 a.m. Eastern, raising questions about Mr. Obama's visit and speech in Ohio.

The Twitter account posted an update about the airfield where the president was landing, with a link to the campaign's new Tumblr page, noting that 700 jobs at the base are threatened under proposed defense cuts.

Updates on the Twitter account also tried to refute a newly released report that Mr. Obama cited in his speech, which concluded that Mr. Romney's tax proposal “would provide large tax cuts to high-income households, and increase the tax burdens on middle and/or lower-income taxpayers.”

As the campaign works on putting together a detailed response, the Twitter account said that Mr. Obama incorrectly referred to an analysis of Mr. Romney's tax proposal as being independent when one of its authors is a for mer White House staff member.

In the world of real-time responses, Lis Smith, who leads the rapid response team for the Obama campaign, wrote to Mr. Williams on Twitter, saying one of the other authors had worked in the Bush administration.

Then, Danny Kanner, the deputy director of Mr. Obama's rapid response team, jumped in, posting on his Twitter account that the Romney campaign had cited the Tax Policy Center in an attack on Gov. Rick Perry of Texas last November.

The two campaigns have been aggressively using Twitter to woo supporters, deliver messages and raise money. And now Twitter is tracking voter sentiment every day, called the Twitter Political Index. In its initial finding, the “#Twindex,” for short, shows Mr. Obama with a score of 34 and Mr. Romney with 25, based on tweets posted on Tuesday and analyzed by Topsy.

The Romney campaign's beefed-up Twitter presence comes after some supporters complained that Mr. Romney did not do enough to push back on criticism of his recent trip to Europe and Israel or fight hard enough against a Newsweek magazine cover calling him a “wimp.”

In a post on Breitbart.com, the columnist John Nolte offered the Romney campaign some suggestions on how to effectively use the ac count, starting with getting up at 4 a.m. to begin reshaping the daily narrative driven by the mainstream news media and enlist the army of Republicans on Twitter to jump in and help.

“Reward your army with links and retweets,” Mr. Nolte suggests. “Once you flood the zone with your predicted narratives, cover-ups, and challenges for the day, throw some love to those online who help you get the truth out. This can start a snowball effect that spreads the truth far and wide.”

The Twitter account, however, was silent about a new video, titled “#RomneyShambles: Welcome Back, Mitt” and posted on YouTube by the Democrat-run response team. It features clips from local news organizations, highlighting Mr. Romney's missteps during his trip abroad.

Mr. Williams dismissed the YouTube attack as another example of the Obama campaign's attempts to “distract from the president's record and to make this race about anything other than his failed record on jobs and the economy.”