The Political Twitter Hall of Fame (Shame?)

PHOTO: Sometimes, congressmen just want to have fun. Rep. Steve Cohen, D-Tenn. says he wasn?t flirting with singer Lauper earlier this week when he tweeted to her that he ?couldn?t believe how hot? she was.
AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta, File

When Rep. Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.) first heard Cyndi Lauper's "Girls Just Want to Have Fun," he must have taken the song to heart.

Cohen, 63, attended a Memphis soul music commemoration event at the White House this week and tweeted at Lauper, who performed there: "@cyndilauper great night,couldn't believe how hot u were.see you again next Tuesday.try a little tenderness. http://t.co/zz4Orccryf

But Cohen appeared to have a "Change of Heart" and he deleted the tweet. That sparked rampant questions about his relationship with Lauper. The congressman, who is unmarried, later explained that he was simply trying to teach the news media a lesson.

"It was all a ruse," Cohen told the Daily Beast in an interview on Friday. "I knew by deleting it they would run it, it would give it news, give it life. That was the hook."

He added at a press conference later in the day that he doesn't care that his thoughts on Lauper's looks went public. "Birds do it, bees do it, even ordinary fleas do it," he said.

OK, then congressman.

You could say that Cohen's tweet -- and the reaction to it -- is stupid and trivial, especially in the context of other political news like immigration, gun control, and the looming budget fight. But this is hardly the first time a dumb tweet by a politician caused a stir.

We've compiled a Political Twitter Hall of Fame, recognizing politicians' unique contributions to the social media service (positive and negative).

PHOTO: In this Jan. 13, 2010 file photo, Rep. Steve Cohen, D-Tenn., left, speaks in Washington, D.C.
AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta, File
Rep. Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.)

Hello again, Congressman!

Cohen may have been looking to teach the media a lesson with his Lauper "ruse" because of another Twitter incident from earlier this year.

On the night of the State of the Union address in February, Cohen tweeted a message that contained the acronym "Ilu" ("I love you") at a 24-year-old woman. The tweets were deleted, but they did not go unnoticed. Was Cohen dating a much-younger woman? Turns out that was far from the case.

Cohen later admitted that he sent the tweets to his daughter, whom he had only discovered three years ago and their relationship was not public knowledge.

The congressman expressed loathing at the firestorm surrounding his tweets.

"My daughter had to experience that," he said in an interview. "It's awful. Bloggers and people saying nasty things. It's disgusting."

PHOTO: Former U.S. Rep. Weiner, who resigned over a sexting scandal in 2011, says he's weighing a run for New York City mayor this year.
Seth Wenig, File/AP Photo
Former Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.)

It's extremely rare that a lawmaker loses his job because of Twitter, but no one has ever accused Anthony Weiner of being an unexceptional human being.

In 2011, Weiner emailed, Facebook messaged, and tweeted a plethora of sexually suggestive notes and pictures to a variety of women from across the country. After the first lewd photo -- sent to a female college student in Seattle -- went public, Weiner denied he sent the image.

Then additional images and messages were published, and he admitted he had lied to his family and constituents about his online hijinks. Weiner sent several of the messages shortly after he was married to former Hillary Clinton aide Huma Abedin. Ten days after he copped to his behavior, he resigned from Congress under pressure from Democratic leaders.

Recently, things have started to look up for Weiner. He did some image rehab with a profile in the New York Times Magazine, in which he acknowledged he's considering a run for New York City mayor this year.

PHOTO: Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) speaks about the health care bill during a news conference on Capitol Hill on December 9, 2009 in Washington, D.C.
Mark Wilson/Getty Images
Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa)

The 79-year-old senator's tweets are less scandalous and actually veer toward entertaining. That is unless you're a PETA member or fan of the spelling bee.

Here's a dispatch from a highway in his home state of Iowa from last October: "Fred and I hit a deer on highway 136 south of Dyersville. After I pulled fender rubbing on tire we continued to farm. Assume deer dead."

And there is his frequent haranguing of the History Channel for getting away from its core mission. Here's one comment from last June: "I've turned to history. Channel. Several times this wkend always Pawn Shop. No history. Change nAme of channel to no history.

Of course, there was this classic from all the way back in April 2009: "Work on farm Fri. Burning piles of brush WindyFire got out of control. Thank God for good naber He help get undr control PantsBurnLegWound

Happy fourth anniversary, PantsBurnLegWound!

Unfortunately, the heydey of Chuck Grassley's Twitter might be over. He told BuzzFeed in March he's adopted a more policy-focused approach on Twitter because of some of the hate and trolling he has received.

PHOTO: Committee Chairman Sen. Christopher Dodd (D-Conn.) speaks during a hearing before the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee September 30, 2010 on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C.
Alex Wong/Getty Images
Former Sen. Chris Dodd (D-Conn.)

Anthony Weiner may be a case study in why lawmakers shouldn't handle their own Twitter accounts. But Chris Dodd just might be the opposite.

In November 2010, a bizarre message appeared on the then-retiring senator's account: "U love torturing me with this s***."

Dodd's account followed up with a message reading that "the last tweet was not from Chris Dodd." In a statement, his office blamed the message on a "technical mistake."

Note to staffers: It's not just politicians who can screw up their official Twitter accounts.

PHOTO:  Donald Trump, chairman and president of the Trump Organization, delivers remarks during the second day of the 40th annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) March 15, 2013 in National Harbor, Maryland.
Alex Wong/Getty Images
Donald Trump

A lot of stupid stuff got tweeted during the 2012 election, but this one may have taken the cake.

In the middle of Superstorm Sandy, the real estate mogul and birther impresario tweeted his thoughts on the political implications of the storm, which pummeled the Eastern seaboard.

"Hurricane is good luck for Obama again- he will buy the election by handing out billions of dollars."

Smart take, Donald.

PHOTO: Ex-Rep. Pete Hoekstra (R-Mich.) speaks during a news conference to call on then-Speaker of the House Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) to open up a debate on offshore drilling on Capitol Hill August 18, 2008 in Washington, D.C.
Alex Wong/Getty Images
Former Rep. Pete Hoekstra (R-Mich.)

In 2009, a congressional delegation traveled to Iraq. The trip was supposed to be kept secret for security purposes, but Twitter got in the way.

Some news outlets had found out about the trip, but agreed to keep the news embargoed until the lawmakers left.

Then Hoekstra stepped in. The former chairman of the House intelligence committee (!), tweeted once they touched down: "Just landed in Baghdad. I believe it may be first time I've had bb service in Iraq. 11th trip here."

PHOTO: Sarah Palin, former Governor of Alaska, speaks at the 2013 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) March 16, 2013 in National Harbor, Maryland.
Pete Marovich/Getty Images
Sarah Palin

Palin literally changed the English language using her Twitter account.

The 2008 GOP vice presidential nominee took to Twitter in 2010 to register her disapproval of a plan to construct an Islamic center at Ground Zero (remember that?). Here's what she wrote: "Ground Zero Mosque supporters: doesn't it stab you in the heart, as it does ours throughout the heartland? Peaceful Muslims, pls refudiate."

Palin deleted the tweet and replaced it with a new one, but not before the internet could take notice.

The tweet received such wide recognition that the New Oxford American Dictionary named "refudiate" the 2010 word of the year.

So congrats, or something.

Honorable mentions: John McCain and Snooki bond on Twitter over tanning taxes, Eva Longoria retweets racially-charged remark at Mitt Romney, initially denies it, then apologizes.

Join the Discussion
You are using an outdated version of Internet Explorer. Please click here to upgrade your browser in order to comment.
blog comments powered by Disqus
You Might Also Like...
 
See It, Share It
Lovable Panda Triplets Get Named
ChinaFotoPress/Getty Images
PHOTO: Sabrina Allen is shown in this photo provided by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.
National Center for Missing and Exploited Children
PHOTO: Adam Sandler arrives at the premiere of Men, Women & Children at The Directors Guild of America, Sept. 30, 2014, in Los Angeles.
Dan Steinberg/Invision/AP Photo
PHOTO: Video recorded Sept. 21, 2014 in Okanogan County, Wash. shows a black bear scratching its back against a tree.
Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife