Bachmann a hit at first-ever Twitter debate, asks "4 ur vote"

Bachmann has mastered the hashtag.

Bachmann has mastered the hashtag.

Michele Bachmann did well at the first-ever Twitter debate, using a bit of Twitter savvy to outshine several second-tier candidates.

The debate, sponsored by conservative site, saw Bachmann swimming in the shallow end of the Republican pool against Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum, Herman Cain, Thad McCotter and Gary Johnson.

With Twitter, Bachmann's finally found a medium that doesn't let her blurt out wild allegations, or misstate facts. Plus, she's not going to get any questions about her headaches, her husband's anti-gay clinics, or any crazy or stupid thing she might have said or signed.

Interestingly, the one live question Bachmann got came from a mysterious person who apparently didn't ask it.
Bachmann and Gingrich, a 68-going-on-11 year old geek, proved most adept at using the Twitter format. At one point, Gingrich tweeted a link to a campaign video, which was technically outside the rules of the all-Twitter debate.

Bachmann showed off an understanding of hashtags, and used abbreviated write-arounds to keep all the amazing things in her head to less than 140 characters.

[email protected]140townhall I ask 4 ur vote as I try 2 return ur voice to DC. If elected POTUS, I will represent u w/a titanium spine no matter the cost.less than a minute ago via Tweet Button Favorite Retweet Reply

But when it came time for Bachmann to take a tweeted question from the audience, a curious thing happened. First, moderator S.E. Cupp sent along the question:

For you @TeamBachmann from @LJordan. Why isn't anyone talking about the 47% of Americans that don't pay taxes? @140Townhallless than a minute ago via web Favorite Retweet Reply

Bachmann's reply was bold, brief, and short on verbs.


[email protected]140townhall I am. Simple. Fair. Flat. Everyone should pay something.less than a minute ago via Tweet Button Favorite Retweet Reply

There's only one problem. The question didn't come from @Ljordan, who apparently hasn't sent out a single tweet yet. So who is @Ljordan, and who really asked this question? We might never know, or care.

This fake Twitter question will surely become the scandal that brings Michele Bachmann down.

Perhaps least impressive was McCotter, who completely misunderstood the format, sending out long, multi-tweet paragraphs that got sliced up by other candidates' answers, leaving odd fragments dangling without a beginning or end.

[email protected]140townhall Gov't into self-gov't 2 match our consumer driven-econ; restructure the failed Wall St. bailout banks; pass tax & regulatoryless than a minute ago via Tweet Button Favorite Retweet Reply

Another notable performance came from Rick Santorum, who apparently answered questions by jamming his forehead into the keyboard.

The convenient format that allowed Bachmann to answer a softball question -- from a person who didn't actually ask it -- also let her dodge real, pressing queries like this one.

@140townhall @TeamBachmann Why do u believe u r the #TEAPARTY Candidate when u r against Gay freedom? Does their freedom mean less 2 u??less than a minute ago via Tweet Button Favorite Retweet Reply

But the question of the day came as the first ever Twitter debate wound down.

Why did you agree to do this? And do you regret it now? #140townhallless than a minute ago via TweetDeck Favorite Retweet Reply

These are great questions. Though, come to think of it, it's not clear whether he's asking about the Twitter debate or running for president.