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Potent tool for 'tea party' political campaigns: the 'attack tweet'

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Forget foreign wars. Today it’s political insurgents who are making news across the US, as upstart "tea party" candidates roll past GOP regulars from New York to Colorado. How are these political newbies, many penny-poor with barely a campaign headquarters to speak of, doing it?

One handy tool is the “attack tweet,” say social media experts.

One of the fave weapons of these warriors is that 140-character zinger sent out via Twitter. Everyone knows that social media – Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, etc. – lent a big helping hand to the long-shot candidacy of Barack Obama back in '08, but the 2010 tweet is a far cry from the polite Twitter dispatches of 2008.

Sarah Palin set the tone with her tweets, from name calling progressive opponents "a cackle of rads" to calling the president's agenda "backasswards."

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