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05.09.14

The Great #Benghazi Sales Job

The marketing of the #SelectCommittee, as only Republicans and Democrats can sell it.

The very serious #BENGHAZI investigation will not be forgotten like the investigations of Watergate (what was the outcome of that one, again?) or Iran-Contra, thanks to House Speaker John Boehner’s social-media prowess.

On Friday afternoon, Boehner tweeted an image of the all-star Benghazi select committee cast, coming soon to a cable news network near you.

“Meet your majority members for the #SelectCommittee on #Benghazi,” the tweet (which currently boasts 386 retweets) read. The chair of the committee, Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC), is pictured in the center of the advertisement, and flanked on each side by pictures of the other Republicans named to the committee by Boehner. Democrats have not yet appointed any members to the committee, but Boehner assured in another Friday tweet that the investigation will be both “serious” and “nonpartisan.”

Boehner later tweeted out a #FF to the committee members, followed by a glossy photo of the committee’s first meeting. Sticking to his #personal #brand, all of Boehner’s tweets included #SelectCommittee and #Benghazi hashtags.

“This is just being effective communicating through social media,” one Republican staffer told The Daily Beast. “Social media is weird and calls for such graphics.”

Instead of being concerned about Twitter, the staffer said, people should be more concerned “about the deaths of four Americans, [and] the administration obstructing the House’s oversight.” Boehner’s graphic includes a picture of each committee member and some advice: “Follow @SpeakerBoehner”—but it doesn’t say anything about those four Americans killed.

While Boehner has been busy #Branding, both Democrats and Republicans have been trying to one-up each other to see who can be more tasteless about the already tasteless and now YEARS LONG debate over Benghazi.

On Tuesday, the National Republican Congressional Committee (the campaign arm of the House GOP) posted an item to their blog, titled “You Can Become a Benghazi Watchdog Right Now.” The post asks “Will you automatically add your name today to join us and become a Benghazi Watchdog?” After filling in your name, email and ZIP Code, you are redirected to a contribution page, which suggests donations ranging from $25 to $500.

The following day, Rep. Gowdy told Politico that he has “never sought to raise a single penny on the backs of four murdered Americans.”

The Democratic Congressional Committee responded on Thursday to the blog post by releasing an ad, which charged the House GOP with “disgracefully fundraising off tragedy.” The dramatic ad includes clips of MSNBC hosts shrieking about the NRCC post and Rep. Eric Cantor skirting around a question about it.

Over at the Washington Free Beacon, the absurdity of the fundraising-off-Benghazi debate is highlighted nicely with a post on Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s own donation-seeking website, which on Friday published a blog entitled “Benghazi.“

Because why should Republicans be the only ones who exploit—excuse me, conduct extremely serious deliberations—on #Benghazi?