There was a strangely bipartisan moment on Twitter Friday night when RNC Chairman Reince Priebus tweeted out a photo of Maryland’s Democratic Governor Martin O’Malley.
Priebus’s Twitter account sent out a message saying “Veterans took an oath to defend our freedom. http://gop.cm/6013cyo5 Sign & Show them your steadfast support.” There was then a picture of an elderly veteran saluting at the World War II monument and, standing behind him, was the familiar visage of O’Malley, a potential Democratic contender for the White House in 2016.
The RNC did not immediately respond to requests for comment on Friday night but the tweet was deleted just less than an hour after it was posted. The moment seems to be a familiar breed of Internet gaffe when a eager but inept social media staffer makes a blunder. In a similar situation in January, a social media contractor for the Republican Party of Iowa posted an offensive “racism flowchart” on the state party’s Facebook page.
In a tweet, O'Malley spokesperson Lis Smith took Priebus's use of O'Malley's image in good humor, writing "Thx 2 @Reince, @GOP 4 saluting @GovernorOMalley's commitment 2 vets in latest infographic. Bipartisanship at its best."
This also serves a sharp reminder of the obstacles that O’Malley still faces as a national political figure. After all, if Republican operatives still inadvertently post his picture on Twitter without recognizing him, how many Democratic activists in Iowa or New Hampshire could pick him out of a lineup? In the meantime---or at least until the tweet is deleted--the Maryland Governor can still take comfort in the fact that while he still has an uphill path in 2016, at least he has some bipartisan support.