- The Washington Times - Friday, July 10, 2009

Robert F. McDonnell personally Tweeted for the first time Thursday.

Mr. McDonnell, the Republican candidate for Virginia governor, made several Tweets, starting with the earth-shaking pronouncement: “This is Bob.”

The flurry of messages came the same day The Washington Times published a report on the Twittering habits of Mr. McDonnell (bobmcdonnell) and his Democratic opponent, state Sen. R. Creigh Deeds (CreighDeeds).

The report said Mr. McDonnell did not personally Twitter, but delegated the task of writing mini-updates in 140 characters or fewer to staffers.

The campaign said the timing of Mr. McDonnell’s first Tweet was just one big, happy Twittering coincidence.

Twitter, for the uninitiated, is a social-networking phenomenon, one of several new-media tools that campaigns are embracing to get their message directly to voters.

Mr. Deeds has been Twittering personally for months, sharing his music playlist and campaign pleas. Mr. McDonnell has retained a more reserved tone, having his staff issue Tweets regarding fundraising and news updates.

His Twitter debut was part of a “TwitterView” interview for the National Journal’s Hotline blog, which was conducted - no surprise here - via Twitter.

In the interview, Mr. McDonnell reaffirmed that he would not raise taxes. And, he Tweeted in response to a question about his refusal to sign a tax pledge, “My word is my pledge.”

As to whether Mr. McDonnell will continue to personally Twitter, communications director J. Tucker Martin said: “He will be doing some moving forward, staff will do others. Long and short, it will continue to be how we get out campaign information and interact with voters.”

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