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Romney aide accused of assuming fake Twitter handle @CrazyKhazei

at 01:57 PM ET, 08/24/2011


(Blue Mass Group)

Updated at 7:30 p.m.

A strategist for 2012 presidential candidate Mitt Romney and Republican Sen. Scott Brown (Mass.) has admitted to authoring a fake Twitter account that makes light of the “It Gets Better Project” for gay youth and pokes fun at reporters covering Massachusetts politics.

Romney strategist Eric Fehrnstrom admitted on Wednesday evening to authoring the fake Twitter account @CrazyKhazei.

“It was my Twitter acccount,” the aide said in an email to the Boston Globe. “Sometimes we take our politics too seriously and this was my way of lightening things up. As they say in politics, if you can’t stand the tweet, get out of the kitchen.”

The liberal blog Blue Mass Group early Wednesday morning posted a screenshot of a tweet from Romney and Brown strategist Fehrnstrom’s Twitter account that appeared to promote an endorsement for 2012 Brown opponent Alan Khazei’s (D) campaign as if speaking for Khazei’s campaign.

The blog pointed out that the tweet appeared similar to tweets from a fake Khazei Twitter account called @CrazyKhazei, which lampoons the Democratic Senate candidate. The tweet appears to have been deleted from Fehrnstrom’s account, as it no longer appears in his feed.

Social media experts have pointed out that it’s relatively easy for authors of multiple Twitter accounts to accidentally post something meant for one account on another account’s feed.

Fehrnstrom did not respond to several efforts to reach him, and Romney’s campaign declined to say earlier in the day whether it had any knowledge of the aide’s involvement in the fake Twitter feed.

Other reports pointed out that the @CrazyKhazei Twitter account follows Fehrnstrom’s feed — one of just three it follows — and that another one of Brown’s consultants has registered the crazykhazei.com Web site domain.

The fake account is an embarrassment for both the Brown and Romney campaigns. Much of the content of the feed is sophomoric and borders on being tasteless.

Among the tweets sent from the account is one discussing Brown’s decision not to appear in a video for the “It Gets Better” campaign that seeks to prevent suicide among gay teens. The feed refers to the campaign as “making gay videos.”

I promise to devote all my time in office to making gay videos. Shame on Scott Brown for focusing on jobs!” it says, as if speaking for Khazei.

Other tweets say unflattering things about reporters who cover Massachusetts politics, including poking fun at one reporter for being skinny and another reporter for writing for a newspaper that “no one reads.”

Fehrnstrom is a former journalist and longtime adviser to Romney, going back to his days as Massachusetts governor. He has been traveling with Romney in recent weeks and, according to the Boston Globe, and has been advising Romney on strategy and campaign ads.

Both Fehrnstrom’s Twitter account and @CrazyKhazei went offline between the tweet in question on Tuesday night and late Wednesday morning.

@CrazyKhazei then broke the silence by distancing itself from Fehrnstrom: “I just googled @ericfehrn and that guy is a loser.”

Fehrnstrom has not tweeted since early Tuesday afternoon.

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