Team Romney: Twitter will influence presidential debates

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GOP vice presidential candidate Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) already demonstrated the immediacy and accessibility of Twitter during a live political event on Wednesday. Democrats used tweets during Ryan's speech to the convention to attack his facts as incorrect, seeking to cast doubt on Ryan's argument before he left the stage. By Thursday morning, President Obama's campaign had released a Web video picking apart four particular lines in Ryan's speech.

"Our job is to make that information as easy to access as possible and then to spread that message all over," Moffatt said. "That's going to be the most amazing part of debates."

There are three presidential debates scheduled this fall, and one vice presidential debate between Ryan and Vice President Biden.

Although a recent study from the Pew Research Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism showed that Obama's campaign is more active on social networks, Moffatt emphasized that Romney's campaign strategy is focused on engagement over followers or quantity of content.

"I would rather have less followers and focus on getting them engaged," he said. He claimed that 37 percent of Romney's fans on Facebook are engaged on a weekly basis, and that far fewer are engaged on the president's page despite a much wider fan base.

He also pointed to the success of the "Mitt's VP" mobile app, which was how many of Romney's supporters found out about his choice of running mate one Saturday morning earlier this month. 

"Once people downloaded the app suddenly what we saw it caused all our other networks to explode because people are talking about it," he said.

The app has since turned into a Romney-Ryan app.

Although Obama's campaign has been heavily invested in the digital space since the 2008 election, Romney has dedicated significant resources to his digital strategy as well, with more than 100 employees specifically dedicated to online innovation.

The Republican National Convention emphasized digital tools in convention plans this year,  naming theirs the "convention without walls" and opening up events to a virtual audience as much as possible. 

"This is no longer just about being at the event," Moffatt said, comparing convention events to events on the campaign trail. "That's what digital has done for us, it creates a lot of access that was never there before. ... Otherwise the only interaction is if the candidate comes to your town."

The Republican National Convention has hosted several other Hangouts in Google’s display area at the Tampa Bay Times Forum this week. Other Hangout participants have included North Carolina Rep. Renee Ellmers, the Michigan convention delegation, and College Republicans. 

The Romney campaign has done Hangouts before, including with Romney, and Moffatt said Ryan would also be "hanging out" in a video chat sometime in the future.

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