August 14th, 2009
07:23 PM ET
12 years ago

Senators battle over health care on Twitter turf

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption= " Senator Grassley goes after Senator Specter on his Twitter account."]WASHINGTON (CNN) - Political rivals are turning up the heat on Twitter - even if they've only got 140 characters to work with.

The latest Twit-fight came Friday, when Pennsylvania Sen. Arlen Specter (D) and Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley (R) exchanged jabs on the social networking site.

It started around 1:00 p.m. ET when @SenArlenSpecter tweeted, "Called Senator Grassley to tell him to stop speading myths about health care reform and imaginary 'death panels.'" This was followed up with "Had to leave a message - for now. I will talk to him soon."

@ChuckGrassley was quick to respond: "Specter got it all wrong that I ever used words 'death boards'. Even liberal press never accused me of that. So change ur last Tweet Arlen."

The back-and-forth was sparked by Grassley's remark at a town hall in Iowa earlier this week, when the Senator told the audience: "We should not have a government program that determines if you're going to pull the plug on Grandma." Grassley did not use the term "death boards" or "death panels."

Currently, Specter has slightly over 4,000 followers on his Twitter account and Grassley has more than 15,000 followers.

In the past, politicians might have reserved their toughest blows for television sound bites or press releases. But Twitter is turning into a battlefield of its own.

On Tuesday, tempers flared in the New Jersey governor's race when Gov. John Corzine (@JonCorzine) re-tweeted a line about the economy written on @polticalcouncil, an obscure Twitter account with just 20 followers. The re-tweet in question said: "Corzine's financial experience helped PREVENT this economic downturn."

Republican Chris Christie (@christiefornj), Corzine's opponent in the race, tweeted back: "Be careful what u tweet! NJ's unemployment rate has gone from 4.8% when you started to 9.2% today." The Corzine campaign then blamed a staffer for the re-tweet without a proper fact-check.

Christie has slightly over 3,000 followers, while Corzine has slightly under 2,000 followers.

Filed under: Social Networking • Twitter
soundoff (82 Responses)
  1. addon

    Grassley is a phoney! Let the guy find another committe to work on. He's not interested in a compromise. He's interested in leaving in the status quo.

    DUH....the Status Quo is not working! ya dummies

    August 14, 2009 06:33 pm at 6:33 pm |
  2. A Canadian Bogeyman

    You were a Man... She is a Woman, and a Mum..

    August 14, 2009 06:34 pm at 6:34 pm |
  3. Dave C - NJ

    The plug pulling comment from Grassley is the same thing as saying "death panel."


    August 14, 2009 06:35 pm at 6:35 pm |
  4. They Already Have "Death Panels"; They're Called Health Insurance Company Employees

    Grassley was for discussing "end of life" issues with your doctor, before he was against them.

    Please Iowa, in 2010 vote this hack out.

    August 14, 2009 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  5. Idiot_Pelosi

    Specter is a joke. He was originally a DUMocrat, switched to be REPUB, then when back recently to be a DEMO.

    Specter, YOU are the true politician who cares nothing but about youself.

    You can't even speak without repeating the Obama rhetoric and canned talking points.

    If the people of PENN want you for their Senator, then that's their problem.

    August 14, 2009 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  6. A Canadian Bogeyman

    A Woman with Kids in the Car: Is a threat?

    August 14, 2009 06:37 pm at 6:37 pm |
  7. They call me "Tater Salad"

    Whenever I hear the name Chuck Grassley it only makes me think of the one thing that Congress desperately needs most! TERM LIMITS!

    August 14, 2009 06:41 pm at 6:41 pm |
  8. gary davis Harbor Oregon

    chuck is a moron total idiot bottom feeder if he supports the insurance industry .. we need to have some choices and insurance companies need the compatition from a government program . and I think it is great and the president is doing wonderful

    August 14, 2009 06:41 pm at 6:41 pm |
  9. Alicia

    Senator Grassley, we SAW you saying you put your finger in the dyke to stall health care.

    Go say that to the people in California today lined up for medical they can't afford. They have jobs and insurance, but their insurance companies apparently refuse to cover them.

    Republicans don't care about anyone but themselves and their government health care they and their families have.

    August 14, 2009 06:42 pm at 6:42 pm |
  10. brandon

    Does it make a difference
    Who wins online?

    August 14, 2009 06:44 pm at 6:44 pm |
  11. No Incumbents 2010

    Grassley is on RECORDED VIDEO talking about (non-existing) government plans to pull the plug on grandma. Grassley and Palin are speading false claims in order to stop any improvements to health care.

    August 14, 2009 06:50 pm at 6:50 pm |
  12. cspurgeon

    Fools need to go back to Washington and pass health care reform. I support a public option!

    August 14, 2009 06:56 pm at 6:56 pm |
  13. ENOUGH!

    For once....I wish someone without health insurance was making these decisions.

    I'm so sick and tired of the CRAP.

    I do not have health insurance. I have Lyme disease. My daily life is a struggle.

    JUST PASS IT SO I CAN GET COVERED....get end of life stuff later...get health insurance NOW.

    August 14, 2009 06:58 pm at 6:58 pm |
  14. Hea

    Hey CNN, Why don't you actually cover something news worthy and start covering the people who are in need of affordable health care or who are having their premiums raised for less coverage. That is something that is truly worth covering. Not Sarah Palin.

    August 14, 2009 07:04 pm at 7:04 pm |
  15. barrystash

    What about John Edwards ? From CNN's hoo-dooing of the news we now know he is no threat to Obama/CNN and Sarah Palin is. CNN is going to be licking her boots after she ousts your God King Obama in 2012.

    August 14, 2009 07:05 pm at 7:05 pm |
  16. barrystash

    President Obama – please tell your followers to stop the hate speech and threats of violence. We have the right to speak out and WE WILL NOT BE SILENCED by you or your Marxist thugs.

    August 14, 2009 07:07 pm at 7:07 pm |
  17. champly

    Where is John Edwards in all of this ? What is his opinion on healthcare reform ? He is much more brilliant than Sarah Palin, according to all of the Obamists here. And he more in to bastardy than Sarah is, which should titilate and excite most Obamists.

    August 14, 2009 07:16 pm at 7:16 pm |
  18. bozo the obama

    ARLEN-Waterloo for you.

    August 14, 2009 07:17 pm at 7:17 pm |
  19. Alfred E. Neumann

    Two twits all a twitter over zip!

    August 14, 2009 07:21 pm at 7:21 pm |
  20. champly

    We are all deeply troubled by CNN's total black-out of John Edward's bastardy event.

    August 14, 2009 07:23 pm at 7:23 pm |
  21. GuyFromLA

    A credible journalist will debunk false rumors and then do not even address it. You are CNN, you can find people who are from different spectrum of political realm and will talk sense. So you if you want to have a balanced discussion, should you not look for people who can give us both sides of a debate? Catering to rumor mongers and twitter feeds is not journalism. Then we would not need CNN, would we? We can get all the rumors and twitter feed just by being fans of Dick Armey or Rush Limbaugh.

    August 14, 2009 07:23 pm at 7:23 pm |
  22. jerry

    the repubs are repubing same old story, everytime the health care comes up. the repubs and their friends the insurance companys money goes and trys to spread lies to turn the people againist it. i can't beleave there are that many people left that beleaves them. the repubs had 8 years of scare the people , are all of you that dam dumb. thank you.

    August 14, 2009 07:26 pm at 7:26 pm |
  23. fds

    We can only hope that Ted Kennedy is suffering as much now as Mary Jo did that night in 1969 for 2 and a half hours before she died.

    August 14, 2009 07:29 pm at 7:29 pm |
  24. Cynthia

    I think Specter would kick Grassely's behind. He has proven that he is tough by facing down those idiots screaming in his face at town hall meetings while grassely is being a two-face coward!

    August 14, 2009 07:34 pm at 7:34 pm |
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