Tales from the Trail

White House to Kremlin: how r u? OMG…

June 24, 2010

President Barack Obama suggested to visiting Russian President Dmitry Medvedev that it might be time to toss out the red phone from Cold War days and open new lines of communication between the United States and Russia — Twitter.

(Although Obama may want to get the terminology down first, it’s Twitter not Twitters). USA-RUSSIA/

Obama cracked the joke at a news conference at the White House with Medvedev, who earlier this week visited technology firms in California and stopped at Twitter offices where he sent his first tweet.

“I appreciated very much the opportunity to hear President Medvedev’s vision for modernization in Russia, especially high-tech innovation as a personal passion of the president,” Obama said.

“And during his visit to Silicon Valley this week, he visited the headquarter of Twitters, where he opened his own account.  I have one, as well, so we may be able to finally throw away those red phones that have been sitting around for so long,” Obama said.

We imagine the greeting over the Cold War hotline connecting the White House to the Kremlin goes something like: “Hello Russia, United States calling, please hold the line…”

But now that both U.S. and Russian leaders have tried their hand at tweeting, perhaps future communications may be something like: “how r u? OMG what was tt all about ydy?”

The direct hotline was created in the wake of the Cuban Missile Crisis when a confrontation between the Soviet Union and the United States threatened to escalate into a nuclear conflict.

But that was the early Sixties. Now, nearly 50 years later, it might be time to put Cold War relics to rest.

Photo credit: Reuters/Larry Downing and Kevin Lamarque (Medvedev and Obama outside White House)

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