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Social media companies ‘friend’ 2012 politics

NEW YORK — Social media companies have “friended” the 2012 presidential contest at a level almost unimaginable just four years ago.

Social-media giants such as Facebook and Google are hosting debates and sponsoring presidential town halls. They remain indispensable tools for candidates looking to connect with voters.

The companies get great public exposure for their attachment to the presidential campaign. It also helps their business interests by nurturing relationships with political leaders.

Facebook recently launched a political action committee and has begun hiring lobbyists in Washington. It’s taken a prominent role in the presidential campaign, with plans to co-host a Republican debate in New Hampshire. President Obama participated in a Facebook town hall last spring.

Google and Twitter have also stepped up their presence in Washington along with their campaign visibility.

MINNESOTA

Bachmann slides ideas into economic plan

ST. PAUL — Republican presidential candidate Michele Bachmann has packaged many of the proposals she’s been pressing in her campaign into an 11-point plan for putting the U.S. economy back on sound footing.

The blueprint Mrs. Bachmann outlined Tuesday calls for tax accommodations that would give companies incentive to reinvest at home money that presently is earned abroad. She also would decrease government employee salaries, eliminate an inheritance tax and roll back a slate of federal regulations. That includes President Obama’s signature health law.

The Minnesota congresswoman has talked repeatedly about most of the ideas since entering the White House race in June.

Mrs. Bachmann has been trying to fight off a campaign slump since winning the Iowa GOP straw poll two months ago.

CAMPAIGN

Former governor joins Senate race in Hawaii

Linda Lingle, a former two-term governor of Hawaii, says she is entering the state’s Senate race, giving Republicans hope of capturing the seat being vacated by Democrat Daniel K. Akaka, 87, who is retiring.

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