76-Year-Old Senator All A-Twitter

Don’t tell Senator Charles Grassley (R-IA) social media is just for the young kids. Well, maybe someone already did and that’s why the 76-year-old longtime Senator is banking on his virtual know-how to win voters. He’s unveiled a new campaign ad, on YouTube of course, titled “Grassley Works for Us – Twitter” in which he promises constituents he’ll deliver, virtually.

The ad opens with two older women discussing what they presume to be some distressing medical news about the senator. “I heard Chuck Grassley has a Twitter,” one says. “Oh, can it be cured?” asks the other.

Grassley then appears to assure voters, “I like to use new technologies like Twitter and Facebook, just to keep in touch — and meetings in 99 counties, every year,” he says to the camera, along with visuals of his fingers working on a BlackBerry. “I’ll tweet, I’ll text, I’ll do whatever it takes. I work for you.”

Grassley is expected to easily win reelection against Democrat Roxanne Conlin in November. The famously Blackberry-wielding senator has a stream-of-consciousness Twitter account on which he discusses everything from his battle with a brush fire to his battle with President Obama. His opponent has stuck with a decidedly lower-tech analogy to describe why voters should not send the Senator back to Washington, saying in her television ads, “51 years…is a long time to go without rotating crops.”

Grassley follows the trend this election season of Republicans, and old ones at that, taking the lead in using social media for political gain. Two recent studies have shown Republicans in Congress far outpacing their Democratic colleagues in social media IQ. Grassley certainly stands out, with 20,000 Twitter followers and a strong reputation for keeping followers guessing with cryptic, shorthand messages.

Yes, although Grassley will turn 77 on Friday, he still Tweets like a teenager: “Thx 2 my followers Im in Top 10 tweeters in Congress Gr8 way 4 me 2 listn & talk 2 Iowans RT so more can follow 2,” was a recent post.