One of the biggest conservative political events of the year took place just outside the nation’s capitol this past weekend, generating thousands of tweets and arguably as many Facebook entries.
Speakers at the 40th annual Conservative Political Action Conference, or CPAC 2013, excited a firestorm of social media activity, not the least of which was Sarah Palin.
During her speech before a packed room last Saturday, the 2008 vice presidential candidate took on the political establishment, mocking the media, President Obama, and GOP political consultant Karl Rove.
Twitter curator Twitchy headlined it: “Boom! Sarah Palin mocks media who came to CPAC to write ‘conservatives in crisis’ stories.”
As she wordlessly sipped from a Big Gulp – as a symbol of the large drinks recently outlawed by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg – Palin set social media buzzing, all the more so when she held up the Big Gulp in torch-like fashion as she left the stage to thunderous applause. Palin was a trending topic on Twitter for the rest of the day.
Dr. Ben Carson, pediatric neurosurgeon at Johns Hopkins Hospital, was also among those whose CPAC appearance generated a blizzard of tweeters, both complimentary and racist. Carson told of the “nastygrams” he received following remarks he gave as keynote speaker at last month’s National Prayer Breakfast. Haters hurled the N-word at him for “insulting” President Obama and for bringing up God and the Bible.
Earlier last week, CPAC speaker and new-media-savvy Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas circumvented the traditional media and used Facebook and Twitter to ask social media users to reply if their health insurance premiums have increased.
Cruz was among a handful of conservatives who took the senate floor last week in support of the filibustering Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., earning them the sobriquet “Wacko Bird” from “the honorable senator from Arizona.”
When Arizona’s U.S. Sen. John McCain felt the political heat from his invective, his apology generated yet another blizzard of comments on social media.
During his keynote at CPAC, Sen. Cruz used the incident to make a point, zinging the “éminence grise” of the Senate: “If standing for liberty and standing for the Constitution makes you a wacko bird, then count me a proud wacko bird,” a remark which resulted in a standing ovation and another avalanche of tweets and retweets.
My prediction for the next “Tebow-type” imagery certain to go viral: “The Palin Liberty Pose”, tweeted by Organize4Palin (O4P).
Ask and ye shall receive
Recently First Lady Michelle Obama announced on her Twitter feed that she’d be taking questions on Monday, March 11, at 11:05 a.m. EST about her “Let’s move” campaign. Unfortunately for the First Lady, the date marked the six-month anniversary of the attack on Benghazi and the loss of four Americans. #AskFLOTUS got more, er… movement than she bargained for.
“Since they are givers, happy warriors got the questions rolling early. Let’s move? Let’s move toward truth and accountability. And so it began, kicking off with questions about Benghazi. Yes, once again Twitter users are doing the job that most in the media won’t do.”
Here’s another Washington denizen who no doubt regretted opening himself up for questions on Twitter.
White House de-tours
Could Rep. Darryl Issa, R-Calif., be hinting at the real reason President Obama ended public White House tours?
In a tweet which featured a photo of POTUS running down a White House hallway with dog Bo, the California congressman wrote: “
@BarackObama to Bo Obama: “We finally got the place to ourselves” http://bit.ly/10Shm4T #WHTours #Sequester”
Obama blamed the Secret Service for the White House closure. But could it be the federal budget sequester allows him and the First Lady cover because they just don’t want “outsiders” traipsing through People’s House? Naw…
Twitter reports that while thousands gathered in St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican awaiting the election of a new pope, the rest of the world came together on Twitter to celebrate the white-smoke announcement of Pope Francis: “After 45 minutes of post-smoke waiting, the new @Pontifex was announced. …as anticipation mounted about an announcement, we saw over 7 million tweets about the papacy. As people reacted to Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran’s announcement of the new pope, we saw more than 130,000 tweets per minute.
“Since Pope Francis is the former Cardinal of Buenos Aires,” Twitter continued, “good wishes poured in from his home country of Argentina. In fact, the president tweeted her formal congratulations.”
Twitter has an array of photos taken by on-site tweeters at the Vatican.
America’s funniest video
Editor’s note: The following clip contains exclamations of shock and alarm that stray into profanity and “bleeped out” obscenities.