GOP presidential candidates join Twitter debate

By KEN THOMAS | July 20, 2011 | 4:44 PM EDT

WASHINGTON (AP) — Six Republican presidential hopefuls are participating in the first presidential debate conducted through Twitter, outlining their agendas 140 characters at a time.

Wednesday's debate is sponsored by and allows people to submit questions to the presidential candidates through the popular social media service.

The online forum includes former House Speaker Newt Gingrich of Georgia, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson, Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann, Michigan Rep. Thaddeus McCotter and Georgia businessman Herman Cain.

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman and Texas Rep. Ron Paul declined to participate.