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David Axelrod and Eric Fehrnstrom, Twitter frenemies

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A few months ago, when the story of Mitt Romney’s dog Seamus’ ride on top of a car was once again in the news, a top strategist for President Obama took a subtle jab.

David Axelrod, the president’s closest political adviser, took to Twitter to declare that “loving owners” take their dogs inside the car, tweeting a photo of Obama carrying his dog Bo in the presidential limo.

<blockquote class=”twitter-tweet”><p>How loving owners transport their dogs.<a href=”http://t.co/wKAGwHkl” title=”http://bit.ly/xGeJuZ”>bit.ly/xGeJuZ</a></p>&mdash; David Axelrod (@davidaxelrod) <a href=”https://twitter.com/davidaxelrod/status/164083085799981057” data-datetime=”2012-01-30T20:30:30+00:00”>January 30, 2012</a></blockquote> <script src=”//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js” charset=”utf-8”></script>

Last night, after a conservative blogger pointed out President Obama had confessed to eating dog in Indonesia, Romney adviser Eric Fehrnstrom tweeted:

<blockquote class=”twitter-tweet”><p>In hindsight, a chilling photo RT @<a href=”https://twitter.com/davidaxelrod”>davidaxelrod</a>: How loving owners transport their dogs. <a href=”http://t.co/KC9u3GSy” title=”http://bit.ly/xGeJuZ”>bit.ly/xGeJuZ</a></p>&mdash; Eric Fehrnstrom (@EricFehrn) <a href=”https://twitter.com/EricFehrn/status/192435076917772288” data-datetime=”2012-04-18T02:11:12+00:00”>April 18, 2012</a></blockquote> <script src=”//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js” charset=”utf-8”></script>

Obama spokesman Ben LaBolt came to Axelrod’s defense:

<blockquote class=”twitter-tweet”><p>What’s the next attack @<a href=”https://twitter.com/EricFerhn”>EricFerhn</a> and the RNC will surface on a 6-10 year old?</p>&mdash; Ben LaBolt (@BenLaBolt) <a href=”https://twitter.com/BenLaBolt/status/192448371796090880” data-datetime=”2012-04-18T03:04:02+00:00”>April 18, 2012</a></blockquote> <script src=”//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js” charset=”utf-8”></script>

In truth, LaBolt probably could have let Axelrod handle it. This was far from the first time Axelrod and Fehrnstrom have tangled on Twitter.

Obviously, both strategists are defending their bosses at every opportunity, and social media is an easy outlet — and one that they know has a very high number of reporters spectating it. But beyond that, both men seem to love sparring over social media, often on subjects their official campaigns wouldn’t touch or in language they wouldn’t use.

And given how often they tweet @ each other — see what we did there? — it’s hard not to imagine they both enjoy each other’s virtual company (at least a little).

Here’s a brief history:

* On Bill Maher

Just a few days ago, Fehrnstrom took a shot at Axelrod for not repudiating comedian Maher, an Obama supporter, for defending Hilary Rosen, a Democratic strategist, who said Ann Romney had “never worked a day in her life.”

<blockquote class=”twitter-tweet”><p>By not condemning Bill Maher, @<a href=”https://twitter.com/davidaxelrod”>davidaxelrod</a> is signaling to supporters it’s OK to keep up the attacks on Ann Romney. Shame.</p>&mdash; Eric Fehrnstrom (@EricFehrn) <a href=”https://twitter.com/EricFehrn/status/191272804279255040” data-datetime=”2012-04-14T21:12:44+00:00”>April 14, 2012</a></blockquote> <script src=”//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js” charset=”utf-8”></script>

Axelrod responded with a flurry of tweets higlighting offensive remarks made by Republicans and concluding:

<blockquote class=”twitter-tweet” data-in-reply-to=”191219400517484545”><p>@<a href=”https://twitter.com/EricFehrn”>EricFehrn</a> So until you have the guts to stand up to one of your own, you can take your studied outrage and stick it in...your Swiss bank!</p>&mdash; David Axelrod (@davidaxelrod) <a href=”https://twitter.com/davidaxelrod/status/191266689483153408” data-datetime=”2012-04-14T20:48:26+00:00”>April 14, 2012</a></blockquote> <script src=”//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js” charset=”utf-8”></script>

* On Mad Men

After Axelrod said on CBS’ that Romney was living in a “time warp” and “watches ‘Mad Men’ instead of the evening news,” Fehrnstrom responded:

<blockquote class=”twitter-tweet”><p>@<a href=”https://twitter.com/davidaxelrod”>davidaxelrod</a> says Romney living in <a href=”https://twitter.com/search/%2523MadMen”>#MadMen</a> “time warp.” You mean, when unemployment was lower, and the economy was expanding?</p>&mdash; Eric Fehrnstrom (@EricFehrn) <a href=”https://twitter.com/EricFehrn/status/187176583780507648” data-datetime=”2012-04-03T13:55:49+00:00”>April 3, 2012</a></blockquote> <script src=”//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js” charset=”utf-8”></script>

And Axelrod responded by reminding Fehrnstrom of his “Etch-a-sketch” gaffe:

<blockquote class=”twitter-tweet” data-in-reply-to=”187176583780507648”><p>@<a href=”https://twitter.com/EricFehrn”>EricFehrn</a> No, when Russia was our greatest foe, bosses could dictate on women’s health & Etch-a-Sketch was a toy, not a political strategy.</p>&mdash; David Axelrod (@davidaxelrod) <a href=”https://twitter.com/davidaxelrod/status/187180512304037888” data-datetime=”2012-04-03T14:11:26+00:00”>April 3, 2012</a></blockquote> <script src=”//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js” charset=”utf-8”></script>

* Unemployment

In January, Axelrod and Fehrnstrom argued over whether, as Romney himself claimed, more Americans lost their jobs under Obama “than any president in modern history.”

Axelrod started by linking to a chart showing the job situation getting worse under President Bush and slowly improving under Obama.

<blockquote class=”twitter-tweet” data-in-reply-to=”158963529540571136”><p>. @<a href=”https://twitter.com/MittRomney”>MittRomney</a> A picture’s worth a thousand misleading words. This chart tells the story.http://bit.ly/z4V0Us</p>&mdash; David Axelrod (@davidaxelrod) <a href=”https://twitter.com/davidaxelrod/status/159006887797456896” data-datetime=”2012-01-16T20:19:30+00:00”>January 16, 2012</a></blockquote> <script src=”//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js” charset=”utf-8”></script>

Fehrnstrom responded:

<blockquote class=”twitter-tweet” data-in-reply-to=”159042266068033537”><p>@<a href=”https://twitter.com/davidaxelrod”>davidaxelrod</a> Why does Obama blame everyone but himself? If he were kicker on NFL team and missed a field goal, would he blame the wind?</p>&mdash; Eric Fehrnstrom (@EricFehrn) <a href=”https://twitter.com/EricFehrn/status/159043931823292416” data-datetime=”2012-01-16T22:46:42+00:00”>January 16, 2012</a></blockquote> <script src=”//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js” charset=”utf-8”></script>

Nearly a dozen posts later, Axelrod reminded Fehrnstrom that there was a Republican primary debate that night:

<blockquote class=”twitter-tweet” data-in-reply-to=”159043931823292416”><p>@<a href=”https://twitter.com/EricFehrn”>EricFehrn</a> Dude, none of my business, but shouldn’t you be in debate prep instead of trying to explain yourself to me?</p>&mdash; David Axelrod (@davidaxelrod) <a href=”https://twitter.com/davidaxelrod/status/159045202567364609” data-datetime=”2012-01-16T22:51:45+00:00”>January 16, 2012</a></blockquote> <script src=”//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js” charset=”utf-8”></script>

And the Romney adviser shot back:

<blockquote class=”twitter-tweet” data-in-reply-to=”159045202567364609”><p>@<a href=”https://twitter.com/davidaxelrod”>davidaxelrod</a> Haha! Believe it or not, the economy is an issue where we don’t prep Mitt, he preps us.</p>&mdash; Eric Fehrnstrom (@EricFehrn) <a href=”https://twitter.com/EricFehrn/status/159046216963985408” data-datetime=”2012-01-16T22:55:47+00:00”>January 16, 2012</a></blockquote> <script src=”//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js” charset=”utf-8”></script>

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