Congressman Jeff Miller's Office Sends Birther Twitter Poll, Deletes It

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
May 30 2012 12:43 PM

Congressman’s Deleted Twitter Poll: “Was Obama Born in the United States?”

I hate to be “that birther guy,” but the “born in Kenya” story has definitely had legs beyond what Breitbart.com initially intended. Yesterday, Donald Trump mused about the story hours before hosting a Vegas fundraising bash for Romney.

And today the Sunlight Foundation watchdog group is reporting that after the “born in Kenya” story broke, this question was posted on Republican Rep. Jeff Miller’s Twitter account

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The link went to this Facebook post:

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But 55 minutes after it went up, the Tweet was deleted according to the Sunlight Foundation’s very cool, newly launched web site Politwoops, which screengrabs and preserves deleted Tweets from U.S. politicians.

Miller’s chief of staff Dan McFaul says that the Congressman did not write the Tweet and that the post was not a serious question, but just something “pertaining to current headlines.”

“The poll was updated by a staff member,” McFaul said. “It was not a question that we were asking. It was a question regarding a news story.” The Facebook post was deleted, he says, because it’s standard practice in the office to delete Facebook polls once the news topics go stale, and the Tweet was deleted because it was sent out accidentally.*

I asked if Miller personally had any questions about Barack Obama’s eligibility to be president. “He’s been very clear on that that he does not,” McFaul said.

The Congressman from Florida’s reddest district won re-election in 2010 with 81 percent of the vote and seems like he might have the least to lose from expressing birther sympathies of anyone in Florida’s delegation.

Asked why the office would choose to post a birther-curious question, McFaul said, “our constituents have varying opinions” and that the question was newsy.

This is similar to Romney’s line about not agreeing with everyone who supports him, but needing them on the team anyway. It seems to be the popular excuse for serious Republicans looking to justify pandering to the right’s unicorn crowd.

Whatever reason the post was deleted, it's good to have Politwoops doing the lord's work by preserving these items and making it much easier for blogger-types to do their blogger-type things.

Update (4:16 p.m.): Jeff Miller's Twitter account appears to have been deleted.

*Clarification: This post originally quoted Sunlight communications director Gabriela Schneider as saying the FB poll was deleted the same day it was posted, but Sunlight does not keep track of Facebook deletions and they have no way of knowing when it was deleted.

Jeremy Stahl is a Slate senior editor. You can follow him on Twitter.

 

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