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Opinion: Bernie Sanders filibuster turns Twitter-buster

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Sen. Bernie Sanders went from filibuster to Twitter-buster hours into his nine-hour stand Friday against the proposed tax cut deal, the first genuine filibuster seen in the Senate since 1992.

Twitter users flocked to Sanders’ page to express their support for the independent senator from Vermont, a longtime critic of extending tax cuts for America’s wealthiest and a vocal critic of the deal President Obama negotiated with Republicans, as he stood talking for hour after hour with only water as sustenance.

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Sanders added more than 4,000 new Twitter followers, and his name trended at No. 1 on Twitter throughout much of the afternoon. His name was also a top search term on Google Trends.

Sanders took the floor at 7:25 a.m. PST and eventually ceded it just after 4 p.m. His staff tweeted continually through his stand, the latest being: ‘Sen. Bernie Sanders is now in his 9th hour of ...

...non-stop #filibuster. Sanders has not left the floor once in that time.’

His Tweets are listed below.

Sanders, the longest-serving independent senator in U.S. history, who caucuses with Democrats, spoke on the day Bill Clinton joined Obama in the Oval Office to voice his support for the tax deal, which would extend expiring tax cuts for the wealthy and middle class, renew jobless benefits and institute a broad one-year cut in Social Security payroll taxes.

It has been the subject of heavy criticism from congressional Democrats and Obama’s voter base.

Filibusters, typically used to derail legislation when one political side lacks the necessary 60 votes to bring cloture to debate, are rare in practice.

The last filibuster occurred in 1992 when Sen. Al D'Amato (R-N.Y.) spoke for hours to oppose a change in a tax bill that would have hurt a home-state typewriter company, the Associated Press reported.

-- Craig Howie

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