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. Splat!~

    I am an Independant voter from Iowa. I voted for Sen. Grassley the last time he was up for re-election. I'm very disappointed in his decision to follow Palins' lead. While he may not have used the words 'death squad', his intent was the same as Palins' and just as despicable. For me his time is over and I will form my own 'death squad' and 'pull the plug' on my support for him.

    August 14, 2009 08:42 pm at 8:42 pm |
  2. cm

    What is this? Is like we have a bunch high school kids fighting for attention. Stop the none sense and get to work in the health care reform seriously.

    August 14, 2009 08:42 pm at 8:42 pm |

    Obama is trying to cut health care to the elderly because they are not of economic support to his agenda, WELL maybe Obama should look at his brothers and sisters who sit on the street corner, collect welfare, father childrern and dont take care of them, drink all day, sell drugs and DONT WORK.

    Obama, you want to pick on the elderly, then you better clean your own house first and tell the lazy bums to get off their back sides and work.

    Its to support your bums on welfare.

    August 14, 2009 08:44 pm at 8:44 pm |
  4. Keeth in California

    Great! Now our members of government are talking in 140 characters or less and at an elementary school level of vocabulary, and getting all dramatic online. Are these guys a couple of high school girls in a spat? This is ridiculous!

    August 14, 2009 08:48 pm at 8:48 pm |
  5. Chandler

    That is a cop out Grassely! Saying Grandma is going to die is clearly referring to Sarah's imaginary death panels. Shame on you for that, and shame on you for all of your other gross exaggerations about health care reform.

    August 14, 2009 08:48 pm at 8:48 pm |
  6. Philip Gallagher

    It looks like there is a disease that is catching. We have here in Brazil a scandal with the Brazilian Senate and it has reached the point where the Senate stopped working and the senators began to call each other names. I can see the same happening in the USA. It is a shame!!

    August 14, 2009 08:52 pm at 8:52 pm |
  7. Lilarose in Bandon, Oregon

    I was in great need as a mother during the Clinton era for medical insurance and had great hopes single mothers across America could finally get help.

    It was not to be.

    I am furious at the roadblocks being put up with Obama's health care reform.

    I think Americans need to remember we have a democracy, that the President doesn't decide what will be the final health care reform, but that CONGRESS will do this.

    Something they aren't doing at all.

    August 14, 2009 08:54 pm at 8:54 pm |
  8. Independent

    Beg to differ with you Senator Grassley....I heard you on the news saying it........

    August 14, 2009 09:11 pm at 9:11 pm |
  9. Arron

    Grassley you are busted dude! Grassley was for so-called "death panels" before he was against it. These conservo nit wits are just low life lying hypocrites.

    "Remember the 2003 Medicare prescription drug bill, the one that passed with the votes of 204 GOP House members and 42 GOP Senators? Anyone want to guess what it provided funding for? Did you say counseling for end-of-life issues and care? Ding ding ding!!

    So either Republicans were for death panels in 2003 before turning against them now–or they're lying about end-of-life counseling in order to frighten the bejeezus out of their fellow citizens and defeat health reform by any means necessary. Which is it, Mr. Grassley ("Yea," 2003)?"

    Amy Sullivan-TIME

    August 14, 2009 09:14 pm at 9:14 pm |
  10. EC

    Grassley is a BACK-STABBING DOG, he's getting paid big time from BIG GREEDY Insurance Companies in the tune of $2.5+ million and counting.

    Senator Grassley is a LIAR and is screwing over his own constituents for the almighty dollar. Grassley is being pimped out by his big Insurance Company buddies to KILL healthcare.

    Big Insurance companies don't want President Obama's Healthcare reform to succeed because they will lose millions and billions!! Insurance Companies don't want Americans to KNOW they are being screwed over big time.

    Insurance Companies and BIG Drug Pharmacies DON'T WANT Americans to know they are being double charged and cheated out of billions and billions!!

    August 14, 2009 09:22 pm at 9:22 pm |
  11. JR

    Classic republican, make a ridiculous charge, then backpedal by using semantics and still try to keep the charge. Hypocrites.

    August 14, 2009 09:24 pm at 9:24 pm |
  12. they just have nothing useful to do

    the nation's business, not important

    coming out of a recession, not important

    fighting two wars, not important

    so compete for subscribers on tweeter

    our nation is going to go down the toilet with our politicians competing for subscribers on tweeter

    August 14, 2009 09:43 pm at 9:43 pm |
  13. Robert

    He never used the words 'death panels,' but he said reform would create a situation where 'government' would pull the plug on grandma. What is the difference Chuck? You lied pure and simple.... You are a liar.

    August 14, 2009 09:54 pm at 9:54 pm |
  14. David In West Virginia

    Chuck Grassley apparently would use fear, lies and hypocrisy in the health care debate. He's such a loser.

    August 14, 2009 09:57 pm at 9:57 pm |
  15. Aunt Bea and Opie

    Grassley is ready for assisted living.To bad he wont be able to spend all his Healthcare Company bag money in there.hahaha

    August 14, 2009 09:58 pm at 9:58 pm |
  16. Mike James

    The accurate tweet was "JonCorzine RT @PolticalCouncil Jon Corzine's financial experience helped PREVENT this economic downturn. He is working to keep NJ working." .... I think you might have missed the whole tweet.

    August 14, 2009 10:07 pm at 10:07 pm |
  17. sue

    I work in the health care field and Palin is clueless!!!! And those town hall meetings are shameful! You can tell they have watched the likes of fat Limbaugh and stupid Palin! How can you get the facts when you won't let people speak!! Guess they are not really interested in the facts!

    August 14, 2009 10:09 pm at 10:09 pm |
  18. GrrlCanada

    My God... I feel like I'm watching a cat fight amongst teenage girls.

    August 14, 2009 10:15 pm at 10:15 pm |
  19. They've Already Got "Death Panels". They're Called Health Insurance Company CEOs

    Go Arlen

    August 14, 2009 10:31 pm at 10:31 pm |
  20. Kaywood Hopkins

    She is a wack job, last year she had a "living will day" in Alaska (aka "Death Panels"), so this either makes her a hypocrite or a wack job.

    August 14, 2009 10:31 pm at 10:31 pm |
  21. Jelo33

    You do realize that when you get your health care through your employer, you're more like an indentured laborer, tied to your employer as if you were owned by the company, living in fear that you boss might CHOOSE to reduce your coverage/Drop your coverage/Increase your out of pocket/Decide you pose an health cost he/she can/won't continue to cover.
    That's not a civilized way to live, for the citizens of this wealthy Western country, so why are we willing to bequeath this form of slavery to our children?

    August 14, 2009 10:31 pm at 10:31 pm |
  22. Sandra, Atlanta

    I think they both should concentrate on doing their jobs and not telling lies instead of worrying about Twitter!

    August 14, 2009 10:42 pm at 10:42 pm |
  23. Margaret

    You'll have all the free time you need for twittering REAL SOON.

    See you at the next election!

    August 14, 2009 10:49 pm at 10:49 pm |
  24. Kathy

    I'm sick of Twitter ! Listen to the american people who do not have time to twitter because they are at work trying to survive!
    WE have to have health care like every other country in the world to compete with every other country in the world. It is that simple.....

    Why do the people in the town hall meetings get so much press. they are so selfish and they are mostly elderly or diabled and are already getting thier healthcare from us the WORKing americans. Medicare and medicare are Government programs. Please give the working uninsured americans paying our taxes earning a lot less then 250,000 a year health care. My daughter resently let go is on badger care from the state of WI and my other daughter who I cover with healthcare at a great expense, her son is on Kid care in IL. Thanks to Obama. God bless him and all the states that are helping.

    August 14, 2009 10:52 pm at 10:52 pm |
  25. mary stewart,arlington texas

    didn t grassley vote for this in 2003 ?????isn t it in the medicare plan???more fake outrage...these senators don t stand for anything or you would have been outraged in 2003 also.....whats scarey is who we elect and let govern this counrtry ,hope the dems "GROW A PAIR" and move ahead..we need this

    August 14, 2009 10:54 pm at 10:54 pm |
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