Republicans Catching Up to Obama on Facebook

While President Barack Obama is busy getting testy with Texas reporters ahead of his visit to Facebook HQ on Wednesday, his Republican rivals are busy using social media to make a run at Mr. Obama's seat.

The 2012 race for the White House is all but officially under way and Republicans are taking a page out of Obama's 2008 presidential run and turning to social media to get their message out. has a round up of the social media antics of official Republican presidential candidates and those thought to be in the running.

Tim Pawlenty announced his aspirations to become president in 2012 on Facebook. He went to Twitter before making the announcement to tweet to his followers that an announcement was coming on Facebook.

Newt Gingrich has not officially declared his intention to make a run at the White House but the former speaker of the house has more than 850,000 followers on Twitter and another 122,169 likes on Facebook.

But perhaps no Republican hopeful has been more active on social-networking than former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin.

Palin has more than 2.8 million likes on Facebook and more than 485,000 followers on Twitter. Her tweets have become a thing of legend when William Shatner put them to music on "The Tonight Show" with Conan O'Brien.

But Mr. Obama has not forgotten the importance of social media since becoming president. He will be in Palo Alto on Wednesday hosting a town hall meeting with Facebook and its users.

Many see the trip as the official kick off to the president's re-election campaign and his first opportunity to begin raising money.

During his 2008 presidential run, Obama generated more than 6.5 million online donations that netted him more than $500 million.

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