In the latest sign online social networks may be usurping the role of traditional media, Virginia attorney general Ken Cuccinelli on Monday turned to Twitter to announce his plan to sue the federal government if the healthcare reform bill approved by the House of Representatives on Sunday is enacted into law.
"Well, they did it," Cuccinelli wrote on a Twitter post early Monday.
"Once the president signs it into law, we'll walk across the street and file suit b/c the ind mandate is unconstitutional," Cuccinelli wrote.
Translation: Cuccinelli, as well as a number of other state officials and lawmakers, believe the bill's requirement that individuals who do not obtain health insurance from their employers must purchase coverage through government-backed exchanges or face fines is not authorized by the Constitution.
Attorneys general in 11 other states are reportedly mulling similar actions.
President Obama and Democratic lawmakers have argued that mandatory participation is essential to bringing down the cost of coverage as it spreads expenses across a larger population.
The merits of either argument aside, what's clear is that politicians are increasingly turning to social media to deliver their messages directly to constituents. Perhaps as little as a year ago, Cuccinelli would have held a press conference to announce his intention to challenge the healthcare bill.
Obama himself made extensive use of Facebook and Twitter during the presidential election campaign.
Media pros say social networks allow officials to communicate directly, and in real-time, with the public--without having to worry about the press adding its own spin to the message or taking quotes out of context.
Cuccinelli has more than 1,000 followers on his Twitter account.
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