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Posted at 08:26 AM ET, 12/21/2011

White House launches #40dollars Twitter campaign aimed at winning payroll tax debate

What can you buy with $40?

That’s what the Obama administration wants to know. Shortly after Republicans in the House of Representatives nixed the two-month extension to the payroll tax cut backed by the Senate and President Obama, the White House launched its latest campaign to win over public opinion in the fight.

The payroll tax holiday would keep an extra $1,000 in the pockets of an average American worker — or $40 per paycheck, according to the administration.

“Opponents of the payroll tax cut dismiss its impact by insisting $40 isn’t a lot of money,” David Plouffe, a senior White House adviser wrote in an email to supporters, “but that’s not the case for many families who are already working hard to make ends meet. Forty dollars buys a tank of gas or a fridge and pantry full of groceries. It covers a water bill or the cost of a prescription.”

On Twitter, the White House asked its 2.6 million followers what $40 would mean to them, and Obama’s campaign Twitter account re-published the message to its 11.6 million followers — turning #40dollars into a trending hashtag. Macon Phillips, the White House director of new media, wrote on his Twitter account Tuesday night that responses were coming in at the rate of 2,000 per hour.

The White House even used the Storify platform to create a running narrative of answers it received on Twitter.

“#40dollars is half of my grocery budget for the week for my family.” one user wrote.

“@whitehouse With a daughter in college I need every dollar that I earn. Congress is out of touch with everyday people. #40dollars.” wrote another.

Not everyone was impressed.

One Twitter user named @dcseth, who describes himself as “the Bitter Clinger Obama warned you about” and features a profile picture of himself with Mitt Romney, wrote that $40 “means I’m still $34,960 short for a ticket to an Obama fundraiser.”

By  |  08:26 AM ET, 12/21/2011

 
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