Analysis: Most of Romney’s new Twitter followers are fake

Romney, Maria Dryfhout :

Is there even a fiber of moral decency in this man?

The Raw Story

Most of Mitt Romney‘s newest Twitter followers are fake, according to an investigation of bogus social media accounts.

A pay-for-follower service most likely drove the presumptive Republican nominee’s recent and dramatic spike in online followers, concluded Baccardua Labs, a digital security company.

The widely reported surge in tens of thousands of new followers for@mittromney from 21 July – which provoked commentary and suspicion – appeared to have been purchased from a dealer, it said: “We believe most of these recent followers of Romney are not from a general Twitter population but most likely from a paid Twitter follower service.”

The analysis, part of a wider investigation into what the report called the underground Twitter economy, found telltale signals that about a quarter of the new followers were less than three weeks old and had not tweeted. Some 80% were less than three-months-old.

The report’s author, Jason Ding, said there was no way of identifying whether it was the work of the Romney campaign, a Romney supporter or an opponent out to discredit him.

“Romney’s newest followers could have been paid for by himself, his associates or by his opponents. So far, there is not a feasible way to confirm who is responsible.”

Authentication was not required when buying Twitter followers from eBay or other websites, he said, and anyone could buy followers for other Twitter users.

mitt romney twitterAs of Wednesday, Romney had nearly 800,000 followers.

Zac Moffat, the Romney campaign digital director, denied that his side was responsible. “The Romney campaign does not buy Twitter followers,” he told CNET. “We have reached out to Twitter to find out additional information regarding the rapid growth.”

By Wednesday afternoon @mittromney had more than 792,800 followers. He gained 116,922 in a single day, 21 July. Around a tenth have since been suspended by Twitter.

Barracuda said this fit a wider pattern of clandestine Twitter trading which it began studying in May. “Our team set up three Twitter accounts and purchased between 20,000 and 70,000 Twitter followers for each of them from eBay and another website searched from Google.”

It identified “dealers” who charge an average of $18 for 1,000 followers. A dealer can earn up to $800 a day for 7 weeks of selling followings if they can control 20,000 fake accounts, it said. They can earn extra revenue by selling tweets and re-tweets.

The report defined dealers’ clients as “abusers”, with the average abuser boasting 48,885 followers. The phenomenon of fake accounts is not new. The oldest was said to be @krails, created on 15 January 2007. Dealers controlled the following speed and total following number of fake accounts to avoid being suspended by Twitter. “Dealers can apply obscure techniques to make them hard to detect, eg randomly following some famous and some average people, or posting tweets grabbed from the Twitter stream, etc.”

Prices for 1,000 followers ranged widely from $2 to $55 depending on how “real” they seemed. “This underground Twitter business is just blooming,” the report said.

Romney’s welfare ad is just another lie

Mitt Romney’s blatant lies in his political commercials are getting worse.  I have no doubt those lies will come back to haunt him.  He’s trying to do anything to make sure the American public’s attention gets diverted from his tax issues…

Current TV

Mitt Romney’s latest attack ad accused the president of giving away government money to a bunch of lazy freeloaders and “it’s a whole bunch of bunk,” says Jennifer Granholm.


Republicans Hand Obama An Astonishing Bit Of Disrespect


Let the (political) games begin continue…

Addicting Info

The “you didn’t build that controversy” that Republicans have fabricated using out-of-context quotes in a solidarity speech given by our President has taken a new, and shameful, turn.  The Republican National Committee sent a birthday cake to the Democratic National Committee on Friday, which the DNC promptly sent back.

As seen above, the cake has “You Didn’t Bake This” written on it, a play on the misquoted “You Didn’t Build This” speech. I must note that no, Obama didn’t bake the cake. The bakery that DID bake it, though, no doubt had help from the farmers that produced the wheat and other ingredients, the dairy farmers who milked the cows, and the chicken farmers that collected the eggs. They also must have had help from the RNC in moving their product, because a business is nothing without customers.

The Republican continuance of this so-called “controversy” shows an enormous depth of what can only be called stupidity.

Apparently the DNC has teeth too, though, striking back in a hilarious way: “This is typical of Mitt Romney’s approach to the middle class,” DNC spokeswoman Melanie Roussell told The Hill. “He wants to ‘Let them eat cake!’ while robbing them blind. We sent the cake back to the RNC, along with a copy of the Tax Center’s report on Mitt Romney’s tax plan.”

An article referring that study can be found here.


Thursday Blog Roundup

Aurora and Batman

CBO: Obamacare Will Reduce Deficit

More Evidence of Obama’s Solid Latino Base

Romney says he opposes greater gun restrictions

Romney on NBC: Changing gun laws won’t change hearts

Note To WSJ: Romney Didn’t Build The Olympics On His Own

Obama: Assault Weapon Clampdown ‘Shouldn’t Be Controversial’

Romney Struggles To Distinguish His Economic Policies From Bush’s

Sandra Day O’Connor: Conservatives Show ‘Lack of Understanding’ of Court System

Karl Rove Brings Ad Based On Fox’s Deceptive Editing Of Obama’s Remarks To Fox News

Politico’s: The week in one-liners: Rush, Bush, Weiner

AP Photo

The top quotes in politics …

“I give him his own advice.  ‘Stop whining.'”  — Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel on what Mitt Romney needs to do.

“He and his campaign team leadership need to put their big boy and big girl pants on and defend his record.” — Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz  giving Romney more advice.

“Do you think that it is accidental that the name of the really vicious fire-breathing, four-eyed whatever-it-is villain in this movie is named Bane?” — Rush Limbaugh linking a Batman villain to Romney.

“If you goad me into it, I’ll show you my tats.” — Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty  insisting that he’s not boring.

“Eight years was awesome and I was famous and I was powerful.” — Former President George W. Bush reflecting on his time in the White House.

“That’s a stupid question.” — Sen. John McCain getting annoyed when asked why he didn’t pick Romney as his ’08 running mate.

“It’s a clown story, bro.” — Former Rep. Anthony Weiner knocking down reports that he’s planning a political comeback.

Ann Romney’s snobbish snub


Ann Romney, wife of Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, speaks with ABC newswoman Diane Sawyer at Fenway Park baseball stadium in Boston, Monday, April 16, 2012. (Credit: AP/Steven Senne)

I think everyone I know had the same reaction to Ann Romney’s words…you people.  However, I’m ahead of myself so I’ll let the Salon article put it in context…


Ross Perot suffered for calling black voters “you people,” but 20 years on, we’re all “you people” to GOP elitists

Are we allowed to criticize Ann Romney yet? I have a call into Hilary Rosen, but she hasn’t gotten back to me.

I’m thinking that with Mitt Romney’s shot at Teresa Heinz Kerry the other day, for not releasing sufficient information from her personal tax returns, maybe we’re beyond the “wives are off-limits” phase of the campaign. Or maybe “wives are off-limits” always applies, but only to Republican wives.

Whatever. I find it impossible not to comment on Ann Romney Antoinette’s remark that her husband has provided enough tax information to “you people.” Or as she told ABC News: “We’ve given all you people need to know and understand about our financial situation and how we live our life.” Like everyone else, I immediately thought of the trouble Ross Perot caused for himself when he referred to the NAACP audience as “you people” in 1992. It’s so disrespectful.

Now, it may be OK, in some circles, to call the media “you people,” which is what Romney would probably argue she was doing. But in fact, she’s talking to American voters, a majority of whom (including a third of Republicans) want the Romneys share more tax returns,according to a USAToday poll released Thursday. The poll didn’t ask whether voters would like more information generally about how the Romneys “live our life,” but that seems if anything an even more arrogant and elitist reaction from Romney.

Ann Romney’s comment about “you people” is particularly fascinating to me because I can’t get over the way the contemporary right has taken insults they once reserved for African-Americans and applied them to a much broader swath of the country, including white folks, who happen to make up 90 percent of their base. The obvious example I’ve written about before is Charles Murray’s “Coming Apart: The State of White America, 1960-2010,” which blames the hard times suffered by the white working class on its own laziness, aversion to marriage, and fondness for the dole – the same personal traits he blamed for African-American poverty in the 1980s.

Ann Romney is too well-bred to call African-Americans “you people” in public, of course, especially after what happened to Ross Perot. But she obviously has no problem referring to other folks she holds in contempt that way. Of course Romney has displayed contempt for certain African-Americans – like when she and her husband told the Obamas to “start packing,” because in Ann’s words, “It’s Mitt’s time. It’s our turn now,” to live in the White House. As if the Obamas were troublesome tenants who’d overstayed their welcome in the home that rightly belongs to the Romneys.

She displayed her plutocratic sense of entitlement when she proclaimed Hilary Rosen’s remarks about her stay-at-home-mom status “a birthday present.” Romney’s sincere reaction wasn’t outrage but opportunism; she enjoyed the sight of Rosen being grilled on a spit over a bipartisan open flame. Good to know it’s all about you, Ann.

Politico and other mainstream media Romney defenders think some of us are being unfair focusing on the Romneys’ wealth and “the way we live our lives,” in Ann’s snippy terms. They think it’s mean to talk about Romney’s dressage habit, which involves a really expensive horse now headed to the Olympics, whose care and feeding allowed the Romneys to take a $77,000 tax deduction. That’s almost twice the median wage in this country.

But in a time of unprecedented income inequality, the Romneys’ wealth, tax history, lifestyle and values are absolutely fair game. And so is Ann Romney’s barely repressed elitism.

We’re all “you people” to the Romneys. It’s good to know.



Romney Adviser: ‘Real Americans’ Don’t Care About Candidate’s Afghanistan Policy

Mitt RomneyThis is the weirdest campaign that I’ve seen in my lifetime.

The inmates have truly taken over the asylum…

The Huffington Post

Watch video here…

A senior adviser to Mitt Romney declined to provide more specific details on the presumptive GOP nominee’s plan for Afghanistan on Thursday, saying it was a distraction from what “real Americans want to talk about.”

The Romney campaign has said the former Massachusetts governor “supports the 2014 timetable as a realistic timetable and a residual force post-2014″ in Afghanistan, but he would not have announced the withdrawal timeline publicly, as President Barack Obama did. But as Josh Rogin at The Cable notes, “details remain sketchy” on what Romney would do beyond the timeline.

Top senators are equally flummoxed. None of them who talked to Rogin were able to explain what Romney’s policy was.

On MSNBC on Thursday, Romney Senior Communications Adviser Tara Wall was asked about Rogin’s article and whether Romney should have a more specific policy on Afghanistan before his upcoming trips to Israel and London. Wall replied that these “attacks” were a distraction from the more important issues of jobs and the economy:

I’m not going to get into the details of that. I’m here to talk about again, once again, the jobs situation, the economy, the growth that we need and what this governor is planning on doing in that regard and what this president has failed to do. […]These are the issues we need to be talking about. And we need to be talking about how this president has failed to address that, has failed to talk about that and continues to malign small business. Those are the things that I’m here to talk about, that I think we need to continue to focus on, that this campaign will focus on. […]

Unfortunately it’s disappointing that the attacks, these recent attacks on all these issues outside of what the issues are relative to Mitt Romney are diverting away from what real Americans want to talk about. And real Americans want to talk about getting back to work.

Politico’s: Week in one liners: Mitt, Palin, Reid

Mitt Romney, Sarah Palin and Harry Reid are shown.  | AP Photos


The top quotes in politics …

“If I did, I would have to come after you with my ‘Men In Black’ flashlight and erase your memory.” — GOP White House hopeful Mitt Romney on the consequences of revealing his veep pick.

“The Commerce Committee, I’m telling you, is like being a mosquito in a nudist colony.” — Sen.John McCain on the power he wielded as chairman.

“Those walls were awful thin.” — Vice President Joe Biden cracking a joke about his childhood home.

“It’s—who the hell is Grover Norquist, anyway?” — Former President George H.W. Bush talking about taxes.

“To expand this program is not unlike adding a thousand people to the Titanic.” — Texas Gov.Rick Perry on Medicaid expansion.

“He has said before that he doesn’t want to have to light his hair on fire.” —  Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin talking about Romney.

“Burn them.” — Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid on what we should do to the U.S. Olympic uniforms made in China.

Romney responds to NAACP booing: ‘If they want more stuff from the government tell them to go vote for the other guy’

The consensus among the talking heads on MSNBC and elsewhere about Mitt Romney’s speech at the NAACP Conference on Wednesday is that he said what he said intentionally to get the crowd to boo at him.

Many politicians and news pundits were reluctant to say that Romney’s remarks to intentionally solicited the boos, but his response at a fundraiser later that night seemed to confirm their suspicions…

The Rachel Maddow Show

Mitt Romney had this remarkable message for the members of the NAACP who booed him when he told them he’d repeal the Affordable Care Act:

Remind them of this: If they want more stuff from government, tell them to go vote for the other guy—more free stuff. But don’t forget, nothing is really free.

Rachel Maddow reported on Romney’s remarks tonight, which he made at a fundraiser in Hamilton, Montana.

Romney has been accused of hoping to get booed during his speech at the NAACP in order to drum up right-wing support, and as Maddow pointed out, these latest comments lend support to that theory.

“It seemed like Mitt Romney wanted to get booed at the NAACP this morning,” Maddow said. “He wanted to wear that around his neck like a badge of courage. It looks like he is not wasting any time in doing so.”

And later on The Last Word, Goldie Taylor of The Grio had a more visceral response to Romney’s comments.

“That tells me all I need to know now about Mitt Romney, who at first I believed is just disconnected,” Taylor said. “Now I know his problem is much bigger than that.”

Obama vs. Romney: 5 takeaways from their dueling economic speeches

I’m just waiting for the debates…

The Week

The candidates converge in the battleground state of Ohio, delivering competing speeches on their respective visions for the U.S. economy

On Thursday, President Obama and Mitt Romney were both in the battleground state of Ohio, delivering dueling speeches on the most pressing issue facing American voters: The weak economy.

The Obama camp billed the president’s speech as amajor address that would reframe the economic debate, which has not gone in Obama’s favor over the past couple weeks. (On the heels of a grim unemployment report, Obama invited GOP attacks by declaring that the private sector is “doing fine.”) Romney, for his part, appears eager to keep the spotlight on the economy, and his campaign underscored the dueling speeches by sending a Romney campaign bus to circle the site of Obama’s speech and honk at the president’s supporters. Here, five takeaways from the speech-off:

1. Romney blasted Obama’s economic record
Romney slammed Obama for failing to foster a more robust recovery. “He’s going to be a person of eloquence as he describes his plans for making the economy better,” Romney said. “But don’t forget — he’s been president for three and a half years, and talk is cheap. Action speaks very loud.”

2. Obama blamed the Bush-era GOP
The president “offered up a detailed rehash of the decade that preceded him taking office,” arguing that Bush-era tax cuts and deregulation resulted in the 2008 financial crisis and Great Recession, says Benjy Sarlin at Talking Points Memo. Obama hardly mentioned President Bush by name, but “the speech represented his most focused argument that Republican policies devastated the country over the last decade.” Obama’s message was clear: If Romney is elected, he’ll take America down that same road.

3. The president tore into Romney, too
Obama went after Romney aggressively, saying he had “not seen a single independent analysis that says my opponent’s economic plan would actually reduce the deficit.” Instead, Obama argued, Romney’s plan favors the rich. The president even “went so far as to make his economic argument personal” by going after the multi-millionaire’s wealth, says Reid J. Epstein at Politico. “I don’t believe that giving someone like Mr. Romney another huge tax cut” is a good reason to slash spending on social programs, Obama said.

4. Obama also blamed intransigent Republicans in Congress
The president pointed his finger at “partisan politics in Washington,” saying that’s why we’ve seen little “progress in reviving the American economy,” say Amy Gardner and Philip Rucker at The Washington Post. “What’s holding us back is a stalemate in Washington between two fundamentally different views of which paths America should take,” Obama said. He argued that the upcoming election was a chance for voters “to break that stalemate.”

5. The president still has a steep hill to climb
No matter how he frames the debate, Obama has real problems with the “are you better off” question, say Chris Cillizza and Aaron Blake at The Washington Post. He can’t convince people that things are better than they were four years ago, so he has to suggest “that the country is beginning to climb out of a deep hole and the only way to continue that ascent is to elect him.” At the same time, he can’t pretend the economy is moving in the right direction without looking “painfully out of touch to struggling middle- and lower-middle class voters,” say Alexander Burns and John F. Harris at Politico. He has a tough balancing act ahead of him.