Spin Cycle

04.12.13

Congressman Pretended to Be 'Hot' for Cyndi Lauper

Lawmaker who tweeted to long-lost daughter tried to fool the press--and it worked

Steve Cohen, a Tennessee congressman, called Cyndi Lauper “hot” in a tweet and then abruptly deleted it.

Which, it turns out, was part of his secret plan.

“It was all a ruse,” Cohen tells me, an effort to fool the media. “I knew by deleting it they would run it, it would give it news, give it life. That was the hook.”

The Democratic lawmaker was right. This Twitter post indeed got some press pickup: "@cyndilauper great night,couldn't believe how hot u were.see you again next Tuesday.try a little tenderness. http://t.co/zz4Orccryf."

Cohen’s purpose was to publicize some Memphis soul music that Lauper had performed at a White House event attended by the congressman, so as to buff his state’s music image.

Cohen, 63, isn’t just any public figure when it comes to Twitter. He had an earlier brush with infamy in February when he deleted an I-love-you tweet to a 24-year-old bikini model. The press went wild until Cohen explained that the woman, Victoria Brinks, was actually his long-lost daughter.

“Just because she’s posed in a bikini, it was assumed I’m screwing her,” Cohen told me.

The media, he says, “went way overboard with that. It hurt my daughter and my relationship with her.”

But how were journalists supposed to know he and the model were related? “It could have been my niece,” Cohen says, insisting that reporters are too quick to jump to the “non-innocent” explanation.

Cohen had explained that he discovered that Brinks was his daughter three years ago and has tried to build a relationship with her. (He said the mother gave him "some indication" she was pregnant with his child at the time "but not enough that it was accurate enough to believe her.") So when Victoria tweeted that she had seen him on TV at the president’s State of the Union, he sent back what he thought was a private Twitter message, only broadcast it to the world. The media, he insists, turned that into “a Weiner twitty” tale, referring to Anthony Weiner sending racy pictures of himself to women, and “once it became a nice family story, the press dropped it.”

He has been “P.O.’ed” ever since, says Cohen, and decided to turn the tables on the Fourth Estate.

Besides, says Cohen, who is single, he had no reason to cyber-flirt with Cyndi Lauper because his date at the White House event was “gorgeous.”