January 18th, 2010
07:56 PM ET
11 years ago

Obama's first 'tweet' makes presidential history

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/01/18/art.obamatweets.twitter.jpg caption="Digital history was made Monday when President Obama became the first commander-in-chief to 'tweet' a message."]

Washington (CNN) – Digital history was made Monday when President Obama became the first commander-in-chief to "tweet" a message on the social networking site, though he had a little bit of help.

When Obama stopped at the headquarters of the American Red Cross' to promote aid to Haiti, a member of the agency's new media team wrote a message on Twitter.com telling people he had arrived.

"President Obama and the first lady are here visiting our disaster operation center right now," the Red Cross staffer wrote.

The new media staffer then asked the president to hit "Update" on the screen and Obama posted the item himself under the @RedCross handle at Twitter.com.

A moment later the Red Cross staffer posted a follow-up tweet: "President Obama pushed the button on the last tweet. It was his first ever tweet!"

White House aides told CNN they believe it is Obama's first-ever tweet. During the presidential campaign, the Obama team used the @BarackObama account to send out quick messages in the then-senator's voice, but he did not physically post the items himself, a disappointment to some of his techie supporters.

And after the @BarackObama account took a brief respite after the 2008 election, Gawker.com poked fun by saying his followers had been "Twittered into contributing money and time, and then passed over for more presidential means of communication. Like, say, press conferences."

Aides to former President George W. Bush told CNN that he never published a tweet, and they were happy to crown Obama as the first tweeting President - with a catch.

"Welcome to Twitter, Mr. President - I'll follow you if you follow me," Tony Fratto, a former Bush spokesman, joked to CNN by e-mail.

It's unlikely the president will be doing much tweeting in office, however. White House personnel – other than a couple of top aides such as Bill Burton – are restricted from using social media sites like Facebook and Twitter. There are security concerns with White House computers, and administration officials are also not supposed to be tweeting on taxpayer time.

Besides, the commander-in-chief is a little busy to be re-tweeting the latest cat video on YouTube.

In fact, he admitted to never using Twitter during his trip to China late last year.

"Let me say that I have never used Twitter," Obama said in response to a question from a Chinese student about using Twitter freely in China. Obama continued: "I noticed that young people – they're very busy with all these electronics. My thumbs are too clumsy to type in things on the phone."

That may have upset some of the president's supporters, who thought he was tweeting during the campaign, a point Republicans are only too happy to highlight.

"It's great President Obama is using social media to build support for much-needed Haiti relief. But, if this was his first Tweet, who is @BarackObama?" asked former Bush spokesman Scott Stanzel, who noted that the @BarackObama is "verified" as being used by the 44th President of the United States.

Filed under: Extra • Popular Posts • President Obama • Social Networking • Twitter
soundoff (33 Responses)
  1. Jim in Florida

    The POTUS doesn't need to be tweeting his comings and goings – stupid from a security standpoint. Obama revels in the inane – he needs to act like a President.

    January 18, 2010 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  2. Debbie in VA

    Unbiased journalism at its best. I could see the pom poms going up and down and hear the cheers. Then they checked to make sure President Bush didn't tweet. And they wonder why the people are turning away from journalists. Save us please.

    January 18, 2010 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  3. LacrosseMom

    Very Cool.......

    January 18, 2010 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  4. LeeLee

    Ummm...this falls into the category of, "Who Cares?"

    January 18, 2010 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  5. DF -- Ont, Canada

    If Brown wins Americans can kiss goodbye to Healthcare reform. Nothing in terms of progressive legislation seems to ever get done. If Brown wins it is like going four steps back after such a promising outlook fo change from last January.

    January 18, 2010 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  6. Obama Victim

    a tweet.............from a twit...seems about right

    January 18, 2010 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  7. GuyInVA

    Oh my God, oh my God, oh my God! More history. Shall we resurrect the most over used word during the first months of the Obama presidency? Yes, we shall: HISTORIC.

    January 18, 2010 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  8. Party Purity will never bring Political Power!

    The shrub holds the record for still using carrier pigeons.

    January 18, 2010 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  9. File under "Sarcasm"

    The twit makes a tweet and the news world jumps to attention. WOW!

    January 18, 2010 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  10. Tom

    Great! We'll all greatly enjoy his tweet on Wednesday as he tries to explain why Americans have turned on him and his corrupt administration.

    January 18, 2010 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  11. Mike1952

    And a tingle runs up the leg of dumball's Chris Matthews.

    January 18, 2010 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  12. MrEZ

    How is this news. Its amazing that with so many able bodied Americans out of work someone actually got paid to write this article.

    January 18, 2010 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  13. John


    sending the first 'tweet' as president is about as important as sending the first presidential 'fax'......

    it's not exciting..... sorry.....

    January 18, 2010 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  14. Bugl3t

    Just wondering why one or more cruise lines couldn't provide a ship to create a hospital in that could be anchored off-shore with the military and others ferrying patients as necessary by boat and helicopter?

    It seems to me that a hospital could be secure this way and would also provide a safe place to land helicopters. I understand that the port itself is in shambles, but anchoring off the port should be possible.

    Just a suggestion.

    January 18, 2010 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  15. Dar

    How about you (Odumbo) push some buttons and get our jobs back, you as president are a joke. This is all about him looking cool and getting his name in the press again. He loves the attention. Dork

    2010/2012 REAL Change is coming

    January 18, 2010 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  16. dan smith

    Just one more lie from the Whiner-In-Chief.

    January 18, 2010 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  17. dan smith

    Who cares what that moron has to say.

    January 18, 2010 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  18. Don in Grand Rapids, Mi

    Wow some accomplishment, a Teeet from a Twit! I wonder if he used his teleprompter?

    January 18, 2010 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  19. dan smith

    Now that O-dumbo sees how hard it is to deal with a natural disaster,maybe he'll shut up about Katrina.

    January 18, 2010 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  20. aproudmemberoftheunpatrioticmob

    Will it means he gets another Nobel Peace Prize? An Emmy? An Oscar? Perhaps an Olympic Gold medal. The Heisman Tropy? The Naismith Trophy? I am sure there must be some kind of phony award they can give him that his teleprompter can be humbled by.

    January 18, 2010 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  21. Mike, formerly from Syracuse

    He'll have plenty of time for this in 2013, after he loses his second term.

    January 18, 2010 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  22. Grumble

    Oh my god he can push a button – what's next!

    January 18, 2010 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  23. Obama will be the first black president to get elected to 2 consecutive terms!: "No one gets to walk between the rain." (Quote from Bob Seger); Randall in Torrance, CA (with two Master's Degrees from WWU)

    Obama is the best politician I've ever met in person and has a great persona to match. God blessed America with the Obama and Biden Administration, now we must keep that legacy alive into and through the 2012 election. I will forever keep deep in my mind and memory the day that Jarge Duh?-Huh?-Bu'-yuh Bahoooosh departed for his permanent retirement home in his TexASS ranch! The sight of that freak retard still gives me chills of horror and I cannot believe there is still a remnant of the Bush Retard GOP Foundation still trying to cling to the tenants of Idiocracy.

    January 18, 2010 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  24. Jason

    Congratulations America .... the strides your President is making are truly hysterical ... uh, I mean 'historical' !

    January 18, 2010 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  25. Simonsays, Orlando

    And people actually care about this?

    January 18, 2010 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
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