President Obama ratcheted up the Congressional pressure game on the debt ceiling Friday by penning a tweet to urge Americans to contact their members of Congress. "The time for putting party first is over," his tweet read. "If you want to see a bipartisan #compromise, let Congress know. Call. Email. Tweet. -BO."
The president used his campaign handle @BarackObama, normally monitored and written by campaign staff, to make his case.
Afterwards, his campaign staff continued the pressure, beginning a long series of tweets publishing the Twitter handles for GOP members in each state, beginning alphabetically, "You heard the President. So here's what we're doing: throughout the day we'll post the Twitter handles of GOP lawmakers in each state," the next @BarackObama tweet read.
"Tweet at your Republican legislators and urge them to support a bipartisan compromise to the debt crisis. Alaska voters: Tweet @lisamurkowski and ask her to compromise on a balanced deficit solution," the tweets continued.
The last time Mr. Obama urged Americans to get involved, during his address to the nation Monday, Capitol Hill switchboards blew up and some Congressional websites crashed.
The president sent that message again Friday in his White House remarks over the stalemate on Capitol Hill "Now, on Monday night, I asked the American people to make their voice heard in this debate, and the response was overwhelming," he said. "So please, to all the American people, keep it up. If you want to see a bipartisan compromise -- a bill that can pass both houses of Congress and that I can sign -- let your members of Congress know. Make a phone call. Send an email. Tweet. Keep the pressure on Washington, and we can get past this."
The White House said after the president's nudging of public involvement Monday, their own communications traffic increased, but didn't cause any problems. "At this end of Pennsylvania Avenue, we've noticed a bump in messages from Americans - email is coming in at nearly 5 times the normal rate," a White House blog read. "About half of those emails were from people interested in the President's ongoing efforts to find a balanced approach to reducing the deficit and ensuring that the US government lives up to its financial obligations. Contrary to some reports, the White House Switchboard noted a slight increase in calls, but functioned normally throughout the day."
There's of course no scientific way of determining which side the public was taking in reaching out to their members and Mr. Obama says he's looking for a balanced, bipartisan approach anyway.
Yet the the twitter handles revealed by the Obama campaign belong to GOP members.
White House Spokesman Jay Carney doesn't see a contradiction, "What the president has called for is for those Americans who believe that we need compromise in Washington to communicate that to their members of Congress-- that can be Democrats or Republicans," he said Friday. "That is hardly a partisan message. It is explicitly a bipartisan message."
We don't know if the president actually hit the send button but, like other Washington politicians, Mr. Obama rarely writes tweets himself. By Fox's estimate, Friday's tweet was only the third tweet penned by the president.