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Former President Clinton takes to Twitter

April 25, 2013|By Seema Mehta
  • Former President Bill Clinton and Comedy Central's Stephen Colbert speak during the Clinton Global Initiative at Washington University. Colbert convinced Clinton to open a Twitter account.
Former President Bill Clinton and Comedy Central's Stephen Colbert… (Jeff Roberson, Associated…)

Former President Clinton has officially joined Twitter, sending his first tweets to daughter Chelsea and television host Stephen Colbert.

"Excited to join @ChelseaClinton and my good friend @StephenAtHome on Twitter!" he tweeted Wednesday from the account @billclinton. "Just got a call from Chelsea. Ready to start Twitter lessons tonight."

Colbert, the host of Comedy Central's "Colbert Report," urged Clinton to join Twitter during a segment taped April 6 at the Clinton Global Initiative that aired April 8.

"I understand that you don’t use all of the Internet, you might go on the Internet, but you don’t email, you don’t Facebook, you’re not Pinterest-ing," Colbert said.

Clinton replied that he did Facebook and text his family, but that he didn’t tweet.

"I think I’m so sort of insecure, like if you know, what if you tweet and nobody tweets back? What if you tweet and … there’s nothing worse than a friendless tweeter, right? You’re just wandering around in cyberspace," he said.

Colbert announced that he had set up a Twitter account for the nation’s 42nd president, saying that because more obvious handles were taken, he had chosen @PrezBillyJeff.

"Sir, I took the liberty of opening up a Twitter account.... Would you like to break into the 21st century right now and send your first tweet?" Colbert asked, holding up a silver iPhone. "I’ll type it. 140 characters or less."

Clinton dictated his first tweet: "Just spent amazing time with Colbert! Is he sane? He is cool! #cgiu."

That account, @PrezBillyJeff, appears to have been merged with Clinton’s official Twitter feed: @billclinton.

By the end of the day Wednesday, the former president had sent three new tweets, was following eight people and organizations (most related to his charitable work, plus Chelsea Clinton and Colbert), and had garnered nearly a quarter-million followers.

Twitter: @LATSeema

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