Despite Colorado Congressman Jared Polis (D-CO) opining it would be "impolite" to send Twitter messages from the House floor, about half a dozen members of Congress (from both political parties) thumbed their iPhones and BlackBerries while President Obama spoke about the economy and technology.
How would Polis respond to Senator Claire McCaskill (D-MO) who tweeted to her constituents, voters, and other global Twitter watchers? The Missouri senator was joined by Congressmen John Culberson (R-TX), Rob Wittman (R-VA), Bob Inglis (R-SC) and Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), among others.
Culberson made headlines last summer when he joined the Twitter revolution, and has built up more followers than any of his peers.
Dedicated to using social media to reform Capitol Hill, he broadcasted this live video on Qik from Statutory Hall. Watch the scene about three-quarters into the film when Culberson is receiving delayed Twitter messages from the world simultaneous to being interviewed live by the international paparazzi. The scene is surreal.
Some of Culberson's tweets during the speech include:
How will he assure us that banks will make loans? Sounds like nationalization - very bad news
I am glad to hear his commitment to investment in scientific and medical research and to cure cancer - nanotechnolgy is the key
We are at war - seems to me honoring our troops should come on page one rather than the end of the speech
As for other Congressional tweets, check out these pearls of opinion (unedited, showing human typos that anyone makes from mobile devices):
Rep. Bob Inglis (R-SC): Speaker just gaveled to order. Senate entering now. It's crowded on Democratic side. Not so much on R side. Something about 255 D to 178R!
Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO): Quite an ovation.The warm greeting between Pres Obama & Sec Clinton makes me proud of our democracy. What a difference a year makes.
Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR): His introduction of the first lady is a first
Rep. Rob Wittman (R-VA): I agree that all government spending should have accountability an transperency.
After the speech, here's what some wrote:
Rep. Don Manzullo (R-IL): Appreciate President's call for fiscal prudence, but why hike taxes on small employers who create 70 percent of new jobs?
Rep. John Shimkus (R-IL): Just sat through the state of the union. The President did well but values matter and so the fight for the future of this country continues.
Rep. Chuck Grassley (R-IA): Concentrate on what Obama said abt parental invovment in kids education. I'm going to help him. Wout spending one penny that will do good
Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ): President Obama delivered straight talk and a vision for how we can renew the American Dream for the 21st century
Rep. George Radanovich (R-CA): Did not like to hear Obama mention GHG cap and trade. Our economy cannot afford such a disastrous idea
Sen. Chris Dodd (D-CT): These are difficult economic times for many, but with the leadership and vision that President Obama displayed tonight... we can be confident that America will emerge from this crisis stronger.
Rep. Jeff Flake (R-AZ): Pres Obama assured us tonight that he "doesn't believe in big government." Dang, that's a relief!
Sen. John Ensign (R-NV): Starting a satelite media availability for Nevada media.
Rep. Cathy McMorris-Rodgers (R-WA): I'm being interviewed on KXLY live right now!
Rep. Steve Israel (D-NY): Great speech by President. Had nice but brief chat with him when he concluded. Message from my daughter: "I just say you on TV!"
Moments after Obama was sworn into office on Inauguration Day, the first White House blog post highlighted the importance of communication, transparency, and participation, indicating that "change has come to the White House."
I can't think of a better example of those three tenets than bipartisan members of Congress using a social networking service to microblog and intermingle facts with opinions in real-time to the American public -- and the global audience.
I don't think anyone was impolite -- and I cite that White House blog entry as evidence.
Follow Ari Herzog on Twitter: www.twitter.com/ariherzog