[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/02/24/art.getty.obama.address.jpg caption="President Obama inspired a flurry of tweets on Tuesday night."]WASHINGTON (CNN) - Members of Congress twittered their way through President Obama's nationally televised speech Tuesday night, providing a first-of-its-kind running commentary that took users of the social networking site inside the packed House chamber.
Rep. Jason Chaffetz, a Republican from Utah, began sending tweets from the House chamber nearly two hours before the speech, commenting on the staffers assigned to set up the president's teleprompters.
"One tele-prompter appears broken. Still 1.5 hours to go but I bet they are nervous," he wrote from the seventh row of the chamber, where he said he was sitting next to Rep. Jeff Flake of Arizona.
As the speech neared, more members of Congress reached for their mobile devices and signed into their Twitter accounts, typing missives to their followers.
Texas Republican Michael C. Burgess spent his time examining the president's prepared remarks. "Not much healthcare in tonight's speech it seems," he tweeted while waiting for the President to arrive.
Montana Republican Denny Rehberg said the excitement in the room was palpable. "Waiting to hear Barack," he wrote. "Place is on fire." South Carolina's Gresham Barrett tweeted that the "Capitol is buzzing."
Rep. John Culberson of Texas, a prolific twitterer and one of the first members of Congress to embrace the technology, not only tweeted from the chamber ("TV lights are so bright I could get a suntan") but also sent live video updates to the site Qik.com as he hustled his way to the Capitol.
Though Republicans have proven themselves more eager to tweet than their colleagues on the other side of the aisle, some tech-savvy Democrats were also offering play-by-play as the night unfolded.
Rep. Earl Blumenauer, a Democrat from Oregon, sent out a flurry of tweets during the evening. "One doesn't want to sound snarky, but it is nice not to see Cheney up there," he remarked just before the speech.
"Obama enters," Blumenauer wrote after the House Sergeant-at-Arms announced the President's entrance. "Crowd goes wild. Members taking pictures. McCain and Lindsey Graham. What a picture."
Democrat Claire McCaskill, perhaps the most avid Twitter user in the Senate, was excited to see Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg appear following her pancreatic cancer operation.
"I did big wooohoo for Justice Ginsberg [sic]," McCaskill wrote. "She looks good."
Despite the bipartisan merriment in the room before the speech began, there appeared to be some grousing in one Republican congressman's office.
"Aggie basketball game is about to start on espn2 for those of you that aren't going to bother watching pelosi smirk for the next hour," read a tweet on Texas Rep. Joe Barton's page, referring to Texas A&M's game against Nebraska.
Minutes later, that message disappeared, replaced with the disclaimer: "Disregard that last tweet from a staffer." That note was also deleted after several minutes.
And though many twittering Republicans cheered the new President as he entered the chamber, they weren't necessarily fans of Obama's speech. "Hold onto your wallet America," Culberson quipped.
Others simply stopped twittering when the speech began, citing manners. "Can't take pics on the floor, and it would be impollite [sic] to livetweet," wrote Jared Polis, the Colorado Democrat.
Still, Twitter proved that even members of Congress can be a bit starstruck - and not just by President Obama.
"Capt Sully is here - awesome!," tweeted Culberson.