The Week on Politwoops: post primary purge, a rare clarification and more

Three attachments from the deleted tweets of Bruce Westerman caught by the Sunlight Foundation's Politwoops project.
Deleted images via Politwoops.

This was an unusually busy week behind the scenes of Politwoops as we cleared the many losing primary candidates and bulked up the accounts we follow as the election year moves forward. One House campaign really looking to move forward was the account of Republican challenger Bruce Westerman, which cleared 26 tweets on Wednesday after his primary win in Arkansas.

The deletions, which spanned day-old tweets to week-old tweets, all related to refuting an attack ad from his opponent, Tommy Moll, that characterized him as a supporter of Obamacare. The tweets that his account attempted to bury all used the hashtag #TellTheTruthTommy and included press appearances refuting the ad, articles mentioning the issue and testimonials from other politicians, some included to the right.

The Republican primary in Arkansas’ 4th district centered around the health care law and, as the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette explained on the election day:

Moll’s campaign has sponsored an advertisement suggesting Westerman has not always been against Obamacare. Westerman was briefly listed as a sponsor of a bill to expand Medicaid, but he voted against it in 2013 and 2014.

Republicans and Democrats have called the ad unfair, and Westerman on Tuesday called it “blatantly” and “totally” false.


Moll defended the ad on Tuesday, calling it “very clear and very simple” that Westerman’s name was at one point listed on two bills tied to implementing Obamacare.

The Westerman campaign has not responded to tweet or email requests for comment and the deleted tweets are now safely archived on Politwoops. We will update this story if we hear back from them. Response from the campaign pasted at the bottom of this post.

Two black and white photos from World War Two of U.S. military members that was deleted and caught by the Sunlight Foundation's Politwoops project.
Deleted photo via Politwoops.

Someone who did respond to my requests for comments (and justified the recent reactivation of my Twitter account) was Rep. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz. When asked why she removed a portion of a tweet and the image to the left from “Voted to honor #veterans including the Monuments Men and WWII Civil Air Patrol members” to “Voted to honor #veterans including the WWII Civil Air Patrol members,” she clarified it was because “we didn’t actually “vote” on that bill – it passed by voice vote last night. Just trying to be accurate!” It was great to get a response and hopefully other politicians will be so quick to clarify their reasons for deletions — it’s often quite mundane!

Some other notable deletions this week include the campaign account for Rep. Robin Kelly, D-Ill., that removed a tweet critical of a fellow Democrat that said “Mitch McConnell defeats Matt Bevin, but Alison Lundergan Grimes could be trouble” with a link to this article. The official account of Rep. Virginia Foxx, R-N.C., deleted a tweet about a score in an iPhone game called Mad Skills Motocross 2 that I suspect was a staffer or perhaps a kid, but then again, maybe she was distracted during a long hearing. The official account of Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C., changed his messaging from “What’s it take to get fired in the Obama Admin?” to “It’s time for accountability” when discussing the ongoing Veteran Affairs issues. Stay tuned to Politwoops for more notable deletions!

Have a great holiday weekend and if you have a moment, send me an email if you notice that Politwoops is missing anyone.

Update: Below is the email we received from the Westerman campaign over the weekend:

In response to the gracious move by our primary opponent, whose campaign deleted his attacks against our campaign from his social media accounts, we deleted our corresponding responses from our social media accounts.

Our campaign is very appreciative of actions by our primary opponent’s campaign since Tuesday.

Kenneth Ryan James

Campaign Manager

Westerman for Congress