GOP calls Cohen's tweets inappropriate - FOX13 News, WHBQ FOX 13

GOP calls Cohen's tweets inappropriate

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (FOX13) - -

Republicans across the country are pouncing on U.S. Congressman Steve Cohen of Memphis.

During Tuesday's State Of The Union, the Democrat gave his followers a play-by-play of President Barack Obama's speech on Twitter. He had a great view of President Obama from the House chamber, took to his Congressional Twitter account, and sent out a photo of the president.

He also had a special message for one follower in particular - a Texas college co-ed and bikini model.

Congressman Cohen draft's his own tweets and he uses Twitter fairly often. His communications director, Michael Pagan, told FOX13 News there's nothing to this story. Pagan said the young woman is a long time family friend.

Throughout the president's annual address to the nation, Rep. Cohen also sent a myriad of tweets about climate change, jobs, education and immigration reform.
But a deleted tweet received the national media's attention: "@victoria_brink pleased u r watching i-l-u"

In Twitter speak -- i-l-u -- is often used as shorthand for "I love you."

The longtime congressman representing the Bluff City quickly deleted the tweet. Rep. Cohen was responding to Victoria Brink, a 24-year-old aspiring model who attended Texas State University, who had seen him on television.

Pagan said the tweet was meant to be a direct message to Brink, who the daughter of a long-time friend of the congressman, and Rep. Cohen views her like a family member.

"She is the daughter of a long time family friend," Pagan said. "They are like family. They've known each other for quite some time."

Wednesday morning the congressman sent another tweet to Brink, which was also deleted, but the Sunlight Foundation, a Washington D. C.-based watchdog group, captured the tweet on a website tracking deleted tweets by politicians.

The deleted tweet read: "nice to know you were watching the state of the union happy valentines day beautiful girl, i-l-u."

National and local Republicans jumped on the story, comparing it to the scandal that took down New York Congressman Anthony Weiner in 2011, the married congressman who sent inappropriate pictures to women on Twitter.

Brent Leatherwood, the executive director of Tennessee Republican Party, sent a statement out saying, "It is very disappointing that Rep. Cohen would use his official Congressional Twitter account, which taxpaying constituents rely on for news and updates from their congressman, to send personal and unnecessarily revealing messages to college co-eds."

"He doesn't understand why everyone is twisting this into something it's not," Pagan said.

This wasn't the first time Rep. Cohen and Brink have communicated on Twitter. FOX13 News found other tweets where the congressman tells Brink he misses her, says he's going to call her, and ends the tweet by saying "love you."

So far this story is very different from the one that involved Congressman Weiner. Rep. Cohen is not married. Pagan said the representative has a long-time girlfriend in Memphis.

Rep. Cohen was unavailable for comment when contacted by FOX13 News.

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