Mitt Romney on Monday announced the formation of a presidential exploratory committee via Twitter, following in the footsteps of another potential GOP contender, Tim Pawlenty, who announced last month on Facebook. But the move felt stale to some, despite the ‘hipness’ that a rollout using social media theoretically connotes.
“I mean it’s just so boring, isn’t it?” said Vincent Harris of Harris Media LLC of all of the Republican announcements so far.
“I feel like someone could write a presidential announcement handbook,” he said. “One, announce on a social networking platform. Two, release a web video. Three, send out an email.”
“At least Tim Pawlenty had an energetic web video,” he continued. “Mitt Romney’s, you can literally hear birds chirping in the background.” (Indeed, unlike Pawlenty’s action movie-esque background track, Romney’s announcement is accompanied by the sweet sound of birdsong).
He also questioned team Romney’s understanding of Twitter as a tool, pointing to the large difference between the number of people who follow him – upwards of 33,000 – and the number of people that Romney follows – 138. There’s “obviously a big disparity there in usage of Twitter,” Harris said.
The date of the roll out – the day before the anniversary of the healthcare program that Romney started as Governor of Massachussets, and upon which President Obama’s much maligned healthcare program is based – also struck Harris as strange. On Monday, Democrats threw birthday parties for ‘Romneycare,’ ‘celebrating’ the former Governor for something that is likely to hurt him with the Republican electorate.
“Romney’s campaign chose to announce in the midst of all this bad press for Romneycare – it’s almost like they’re trying to cover something up,” Harris said.
The GOP candidates announcing continue to fall short of the standard sent by President Obama, Harris said.
“Barack Obama, in my opinion, for sure had the best online announcement so far,” he said, explaining that while Romney had used Facebook and Twitter to link to a website, Obama “integrated [social media platforms] into his website.”
“I saw a ton more people on Facebook sharing Barack Obama’s ‘In’ application… cause you could stay on Facebook, and Facebook is where the people are.” Harris is referring to Obama’s use of an “I’m in” application that posts a button on supporters profile pages, which they can then share with other friends on Facebook. Romney’s page, on the other hand, directs people back to his campaign website.
Harris also criticized Romney’s logo, which he said “seems a little French.” Romney’s symbol is an ‘R’ with one blue stripe, one white stripe, one red stripe, much like the French flag.
“It’s so boring and anticlimactic,” Harris concluded.
“You’re running for president, for the most powerful position in the world, and this is how you announce for that position?”