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BLOG: Twitter offers glimpse into characters of Stefanik, Cobb

BLOG: Twitter offers glimpse into characters of Stefanik, Cobb

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There's a Jekyll and Hyde quality to Elise Stefanik's social media posts on Twitter and Facebook. Most of what she posts are the usual announcements of grants made to parts of her district (like the recent HUD housing grants to Glens Falls) and congratulations and condolences. But here and there are posts with the mocking, attacking tone that makes the social media world such an unpleasant place.

I've already written about her tweet earlier in the week concerning the Oscars. Like many posts of this sort, when looked at rationally, it made no sense. It drew a nonexistent connection between Joaquin Phoenix's Oscars acceptance speech, in which he criticized the normal practices of dairy farming (Phoenix is a vegan) and Tedra Cobb. There is no connection between the two, but Stefanik drew one because Cobb has received a few campaign donations from other celebrities, like Chrissy Teigen, who are not vegans and have not criticized farmers.

Another recent Stefanik tweet mocks Cobb for a story she told about her mother in an interview published in the Adirondack Daily Enterprise. Cobb mentions her very large family -- her parents adopted nine children -- and says her mom used to serve a dish she called "Chicken surprise," telling her kids, "You find the chicken, I'll be surprised."

Stefanik's tweet, accompanied by a few "laughing so hard they're crying" emojis, says: "Amazingly, this is not @TheOnion. Enjoy reading where my Far-Left opponent #TaxinTedra announces her 2020 campaign message and strategy: 'Chicken surprise!' Not making this up. #TrainwreckTaxinTedraPart2 is a true gift. #NY21."

Cobb responded with several tweets, as follows:

"@EliseStefanik and the #GOP are completely out of touch with reality. Today they mocked my upbringing and my family. My parents Ted and Barbara adopted 9 children on a public school teacher’s salary.

"Sometimes things were hard financially. But that didn’t stop them from helping others. My mom learned to be frugal with the grocery budget. She used to make this dish called 'chicken surprise.' You find the chicken, I’ll be surprised.

"That frugality combined with their compassion and hard work made me who I am. It might be funny to Stefanik and her DC pals but it’s real life for so many here in #NY21. Join me, we deserve better."

I wonder whether Stefanik actually writes her tweets, especially the ones that mock Cobb and use derogatory nicknames for her. 

The strange thing about Stefanik's Twitter feed is, one of her standard responses in the past, when challenged about bad behavior by Trump, was to say something like, "The president shouldn't tweet so much."

In another social media kerfuffle, Cobb has called on Stefanik to return several thousand dollars in campaign contributions from Steve Wynn and his wife. Wynn, a Las Vegas casino owner, has been accused by several women of sexual harassment and assault. Other prominent Republicans have returned donations from him.

But Stefanik has so far refused, and her campaign hit back by demanding Cobb return donations from George Conway, who called Stefanik "trashy," and from other donors who were inspired by Conway to give to Cobb.

Cobb has not called Stefanik "trashy" and has said she will not call her opponent names. Cobb argues, however, that calling someone a name on Twitter is not the same as sexual assault. 

Will Doolittle is projects editor at The Post-Star. He may be reached at will@poststar.com and followed on his blog, I think not, and on Twitter at

@trafficstatic.

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