President Barack Obama admitted Monday to a group of students in Shanghai, China that, while billed as the most tech savvy President in history, he doesn’t use Twitter.
When asked by a student if he was aware of China’s firewall blocking the popular micro-blogging service, Obama forewent his tech friendly reputation, saying, “I have never used Twitter but I’m an advocate of technology and not restricting internet access.”
President Obama’s admission of his unfamiliarity of the internet tool du jour would have been an altogether innocuous acknowledgement that the President is, well, old, were it not for the dogged efforts of his campaign apparatus in portraying the young then-Senator Obama as hip and tech savvy opposite the old and inaccessible Senator John McCain.
In explicitly making the case that McCain’s simple awareness of technology was not equivalent to Obama’s superior appreciation–and use–of technology, the Obama campaign launched a web ad in September of 2008 callously assailing McCain for his inability to use a computer and send an email. Were McCain elected, their logic went, the seat of the Free World’s power would run through the 73-year-old’s car phone and computer running on MS-DOS.
Of the ad, the Obama campaign said, “‘Still’ details why John McCain would just be another out of touch president offering more of the same.”
While the Obama campaign suggested McCain’s indifference to new technology was the result of the Senator’s age, Republicans were quick to note the real reason for his perceived tech-illiteracy: Senator McCain’s battle-field wounds limit the use of his hands. The Obama campaign never apologized, insisting McCain’s failure to make use of technology was due to his age and he was therefor unfit to serve as President.
President Obama’s admission that he’s Twitter-averse is not an acknowledgment that he’s old or even out of touch, like he suggested of Senator McCain. It is, however, emblematic of the duplicitous ends to which President Obama and his allies–complicit in this and countless other deceptive electioneering offenses–will go in the name of campaigning.