George W. Bush joins Facebook
By Garance Franke-Ruta
America's 43rd president has joined Facebook.
Former president George W. Bush's Facebook page was set up around two weeks ago but made public Wednesday, rapidly climbing to more than 27,000 who "Liked" it by mid-afternoon.
The first Facebook post was written in the third person, suggesting the page is being maintained by someone other than the president, as is common with Facebook pages for public figures:
"Since leaving office, President Bush has remained active. He has visited 20 states and 8 countries; given over 65 speeches; launched the George W. Bush Presidential Center; participated in 4 policy conferences through The Bush Institute; finished the first draft of his memoir, "Decision Points"; and partnered with President Clinton to establish the Clinton Bush Haiti Fund. More on his activities in future posts..."
A spokesman for the former president confirmed to CBS that the site is real.
Bush has kept a relatively low public profile since leaving the White House, and his move into social media space is sure to be watched closely as he carves out an online identity.
A fresh Twitter identity for the former president was also launched Wednesday, though it has not yet been verified by the company, its procedure for confirming the identity of public figures on the service. "Stay tuned for updates!" @George_WBush wrote Wednesday afternoon in an inaugural post. ABC News reported that it is being maintained by the George W. Bush Presidential Center, but not Bush personally.
Many political figures on Twitter have their feeds maintained by staff. President Obama is on Twitter but uses the site sparingly and mainly for formal announcements and speech excerpts. Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and former Alaska governor Sarah Palin, the 2008 Republican nominees for the White House, can be very personal in their use of Twitter and Facebook, however, and use the services as outlets for pointed political commentary and event notifications for supporters.
There are a large number of fake George W. Bushes on Twitter; the new @George_WBush address is designed for those who "Support George Bush."
An e-mail to Bush's spokesman was not immediately returned.
June 2, 2010; 4:00 PM ET
Categories: 44 The Obama Presidency
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