In what may be the year's most unusual PR stunt, Democratic Rep. Steve Cohen claimed Friday that a flirtatious tweet on singer Cyndi Lauper was merely meant to drum up publicity for a PBS program on his city's music scene.
The Tennessee congressman titillated the media this week with a bizarre tweet which was quickly deleted. He tweeted "@cyndilauper" that he "couldn't believe how hot u were."
Cohen now says it was all part of a plan to draw attention to the news media's focus on salacious stories and promote a PBS documentary airing next Tuesday on the music scene in Memphis, the city he represents in Congress.
"It occurred to me that a perfectly innocent, factually-correct tweet, once deleted, would receive great media attention. And that is exactly what happened when I tweeted," he said in a statement Friday, after holding a press conference to reveal his master plan. "The night at the White House was great, I was amazed at Cyndi Lauper's hot performance and I look forward to seeing her performance of 'Try a Little Tenderness' again when it airs next Tuesday on PBS. That's what the tweet said but that's not how it has been speciously interpreted in the media."
Cohen's tweet came after he and Lauper attended a Memphis-themed event Tuesday at the White House. Cohen said he'd already decided to tweet something before the event, telling a couple of colleagues that he was "going to have some fun" with the press.
Earlier this year, Cohen drew media attention when he tweeted a Twitter abbreviation for "I love you" to a woman he later revealed was his daughter.
Attention to lawmakers' Twitter feeds has been heightened ever since former Rep. Anthony Weiner tweeted, and then quickly deleted, a lewd picture of himself -- an incident that led to his resignation.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.