Old Tweets Haunt Romney Spokesperson

Richard Grenell, Mitt Romney’s new national security spokesperson as of Thursday, April 19, has always been known to speak his mind, particularly on Twitter. And now that he’s working for the likely Republican presidential nominee, the history of Grenell’s Twitter presence has come under scrutiny, resulting in a scrub of some 800 tweets from his Twitter account and the closing of his personal Web site, according to Michael Calderone in The Huffington Post.

Before the Twitter site could be cleared of Grenell’s often snarky posts, political media brands like ThinkProgress and Politico began noting Grenell's biting comments from more than 7,500 posts—particularly regarding the appearances of women in media and in politics. There were posts about Michelle Obama exercising (“Sweating on the East Room carpet”); Rachel Maddow (“Rachel Maddow commercials can't possibly attract any viewers, aside from Bieber fans #DeadRinger”); Hillary Clinton (“Hillary starting to look like Madeleine Albright”); and the Gingriches (“Newt: My 1st Lady knows what it’s like to be 2nd and 3rd…”).

After the scrutiny, Grenell wrote an apology to Politico, saying: “My tweets were written to be tongue-in-cheek and humorous, but now, I can see how they can also be hurtful.” But the damage had been done. In further follow-up to the story, reporters uncovered Grenell’s digs against journalists, and have been asking people who have interacted with him what their impressions were. The answers were not very positive.

All of this hurts the Romney campaign, particularly as it courts women voters, who may not take to Grenell’s brand of Twitter humor. So next time you want to tweet something you think is funny, think first of the potentially countless people who may not appreciate your sense of humor.

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About Scott Van Camp

Scott Van Camp is editor of PR News, an executive-level, reader-supported publication that helps enhance the business impact of PR. Scott has a rich background in both journalism and PR/marketing. He has more than 15 years of experience as a writer/editor at various consumer and trade publications. Scott was with VNU Business Publications for five years, including stints as managing editor at IQ News and Technology Marketing magazines and senior editor at Brandweek. In the PR/marketing sphere, he has served as corporate communications manager at MarketBridge, a marketing and sales consultancy, and as editorial director for the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) Council. While at the Council, Scott led several high-profile marketing research projects. He has also operated his own communications and media consulting firm, SVC Communications.

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