By Kris Kitto - 03/10/08 05:19 PM EDT
If there’s any question about whether lawmakers are using Facebook for political purposes, look no further than the profile of Sen. Tom HarkinTom HarkinDo candidates care about our health or just how much it costs? The Hill's 12:30 Report Mark Mellman: Parsing the primary processes MORE (D-Iowa).
“Spending time with my family, climbing, flying, hiking, working for my constituents in Iowa,” reads the “activities” section of the Iowa senator’s profile. He’s one of many who highlight their public service on their Facebook profile.
Content of lawmakers’ pages varies widely, with some lawmakers merely pasting verbiage from their official websites into their “About Me” descriptions and others using a folksier approach to provide little-known details of their likes, dislikes, habits and personal lives.
Noteworthy contents of lawmakers’ profiles:
• In her profile photo, Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.) reveals that she can bowl in a skirt, her arms and legs extended into a star formation as a purple ball plops onto a lane.
• Sen. Chuck GrassleyChuck GrassleyDozens of senators push EPA for higher ethanol mandate Civil liberties group mobilizes against surveillance amendment Brother may I? Congress must reform senseless drug regulation MORE (R-Iowa) provides a personal e-mail address — email@example.com — on his profile. But a message sent there went unanswered.
• Rep. Ron KindRon KindHouse caucus to focus on business in Latin America Wisconsin Dems call on party to end superdelegates Lawmakers, small businesses praise employee stock ownership plans MORE (D-Wis.) received a birthday wish on his page from a profile identified by the username and photo of Wes Clark, former Army general and 2004 Democratic presidential candidate. “Ron — Happy Birthday! — Wes,” the message reads.
• The political designation “moderate” has convened an odd group of lawmakers. They include Sens. Evan Bayh (D-Ind.) and Susan CollinsSusan CollinsGun-control supporters plan next steps versus NRA House Republicans pushing gun control bill The Trail 2016: Berning embers MORE (R-Maine) and Reps. Leonard Boswell (D-Iowa), Darlene Hooley (D-Ore.), Jim GerlachJim GerlachBig names free to lobby in 2016 Ex-Rep. Gerlach ditches K St. in return to campaign world Ex-Sen. Pryor heading to K Street MORE (R-Pa.), Mark KirkMark KirkDuckworth settles retaliation lawsuit The Trail 2016: Berning embers Senate Dems link court fight to Congressional Baseball Game MORE (R-Ill.) and Dennis Moore (D-Kan.).
• Those who logged into Rep. Tim Ryan’s (D-Ohio) profile last week would have seen that he is one of the few lawmakers who make frequent use of Facebook’s popular status-update feature. Last week Ryan informed his Facebook friends, “Tim is in a sub-committee hearing,” and “Tim is out of session until next week!”
• Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s (D-Calif.) profile seems purposefully bland, listing such activities as “spending time with my grandchildren; also art, theater, and of course, politics.”