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Michelle Obama joins Twitter as 2012 election nears

The @MichelleObama Twitter account debuts today with welcome tweets from staff and the first lady herself.

First Lady Michelle Obama officially joined Twitter this morning, and after only four tweets, she has 185,000 followers and counting.

Screenshot by CNET

"Hi, everyone, and thanks for the warm welcome. Look forward to staying in touch with you here. -mo," she first tweeted.

As the 2012 election season heats up, it's all hands on deck for Team Obama. The president, who joined Twitter during his 2008 election campaign and has almost 12 million followers, welcomed his wife onto the social networking site. "It's not every day we get to welcome the First Lady of the United States to Twitter--happy to have you, @MichelleObama!," he tweeted this morning.

According to the first tweets on Ms. Obama's feed, the account will be managed by campaign staff and anything directly from Ms. Obama will be signed "-mo." Similarly, President Obama's staff regularly tweets on his behalf and anything written by him supposedly includes a "bo."

Last September, Twitter announced its plans to capitalize on the 2012 presidential election by allowing politicians and political groups to buy ads to place in the site's timeline and search bar. CNET confirmed that republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney will be using this service but it's unclear whether President Obama will also use Twitter for his political advertising.