MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — U.S. Rep. Steve Cohen of Tennessee says he’s “stunned and dismayed” to learn that DNA tests revealed he is not the father of a woman he thought was his daughter.
Cohen issued a statement Thursday after CNN reported that DNA tests showed Victoria Brink isn’t his daughter.
In February, after Twitter messages he sent to the 24-year-old Texas woman during the president’s State of the Union address received media attention, Cohen revealed that he was Brink’s father. He said he learned about the relationship three years ago and was overjoyed.
In Thursday’s statement, he said he still loves Brink and hopes to remain in her life.
Cohen says he was “stunned and dismayed when DNA tests disproved what Victoria and I believed about our relationship.”
Congressman Steve Cohen says he tweeted and deleted a message to Cyndi Lauper this week intentionally to fool the press into promoting Memphis music, reports the Commercial Appeal. “There’s been a lot of discussion about my tweets — some questioning my ability to tweet,” Cohen, a Memphis Democrat, said from his desk in the Rayburn Building.
“The fact is I tweeted exactly what I wanted to tweet and I deleted exactly what I wanted to delete because, in this age, which I learned a couple of months ago … the best way to get a message out was to tweet and delete because the press will instantaneously assume the worst — something nefarious, something salacious — and jump on it.”
Cohen accidentally tweeted and deleted messages proclaiming his love for a 24-year-old Texas coed during the State of the Union in February and stories of the tweets went viral. Two days later, he revealed that she was a daughter he had never publicly identified.
The deleted tweets to Lauper were captured by Politiwoops, a program of the Sunlight Foundation, a good-government group that promotes transparency in government.
Cohen’s Twitter messages on Wednesday to Lauper mentioned her singing “Try a Little Tenderness” and said her performance at “In Performance at the White House: Memphis Soul” on Tuesday night was “hot.” The concert will be broadcast on PBS stations, including WKNO, on Tuesday night.
On Friday, Cohen explained: “It was a hot show, and Memphis music is hot. And Cyndi Lauper’s performance was hot. So was Justin Timberlake’s and Eddie Floyd’s ‘Knock on Wood’ and I wanted the world to know about it.”
Cohen said that if he put out a press release about the show, no one would see it.
“But I knew from my last episode, because of Politiwoops and the Sunshine (sic) Foundation having their area where they put deleted tweets, I knew the press would see it,” he said. “And I knew the press would also see the worst in it and publish it and, by doing so, they would publicize the Memphis music unlike anything I could have ever done.”
Congressman Steve Cohen is back in the headlines here over more deleted “tweets” from his Twitter account, reports the Commercial Appeal. The Memphis Democrat attended “In Performance at the White House: Memphis Soul” on Tuesday night at the White House, then tweeted one of the stars — Cyndi Lauper — Wednesday morning.
Lauper had sung “Try a Little Tenderness” accompanied by blues harmonica player Charlie Musselwhite at Tuesday’s concert to be broadcast on PBS next Tuesday.
“Cyndi, Wow what a night! See you next Tuesday and Try a little tenderness again! Wow! What a special night. Thanks Steve,” he wrote at 10:31 a.m., then evidently thought better of it and deleted it after 34 seconds.
But it was captured by the Politiwoops aggregation program of the Sunlight Foundation, a Washington good-government group that promotes openness and transparency. Its spokeswoman, Liz Bartolomeo, provided the texts and time stamps Thursday.
At 6:16 p.m. Wednesday, Cohen sent another tweet to @CyndiLauper: “great night, couldn’t believe how hot u were. see you again next Tuesday. try a little tenderness,” he wrote. Then he deleted it after 21 minutes.
The Washington Post’s Reliable Source blog Thursday let the world know about it with the headline: “Rep. Steve Cohen thinks Cyndi Lauper is ‘hot,’ but deletes tweet saying so.” Politico called the tweets “flirty.”
….Cohen did not respond to requests Thursday for comment.
Since 2008, outside parties and private interest groups have spent $402,436 on travel for Tennessee’s nine U.S. House members and their staffs, according to a Chattanooga Times Free Press analysis of 106 trips.
While the total averages to about $45,000 per member and $3,800 per trip, some lawmakers fly more than others on someone else’s dime. U.S. Rep. Steve Cohen, D-Tenn., leads the pack with $96,606 in privately funded travel.
U.S. Rep. Scott DesJarlais, a Jasper Republican elected in 2010, brings up the rear with $21,563.
Here’s the list with number of trips and cost:
• // Steve Cohen: // 21 // $96,607
• // Jim /Cooper: // 25 // $86,429
• // Marsha Blackburn: // 25 // $50,663
• // Diane Black*: // 5 // $42,120
• // Phil Roe: // 12 // $32,322
• // Stephen Fincher*: // 4 // $24,939
• // Chuck Fleischmann*: // 3 // $25,574
• // John // Duncan: 7 // $22,219
• // Scott DesJarlais* // 4 // $21,563
Total: // 106, // $402,436
* Elected in 2010
From the Commercial Appeal:
Tennessee Democratic Rep. Steve Cohen caught flak in the blogosphere this week for his mistakenly public tweets of endearment to a Texas college student half his age as the president’s State of the Union address was ending Tuesday night.
Though Cohen, 63 and a bachelor, didn’t own up at first to who she was when the tweets became public, he said Thursday night she is a daughter he didn’t know he had until three years ago.
The 24-year-old Texas college student and swimsuit model is Victoria Elizabeth Brink, who used her Twitter account to write that she was watching Cohen on television in the House of Representatives chamber. The two exchanged tweets during and after the Sate of the Union address.
Brink, a student at Texas State University, is also the daughter of a Texas criminal defense lawyer, Cynthia White Sinatra, who unsuccessfully ran for Congress in 2006 against Libertarian Ron Paul, who was a candidate for president last year.
Cohen declined to describe the affair with Sinatra, saying only, “her mother and I have been friends for a long time.” There had been a hiatus, “but we renewed our friendship when I found out she was the mother of my child.”
According to her law firm web page, Sinatra, 60, is a criminal defense lawyer who was married to Frank Sinatra, Jr., the son of the famous “Old Blue Eyes.” She has represented criminal defendants before the International War Crimes Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, including Dragan Jokic, a Bosnia Serb accused of genocide, murder and torture in the 1995 Srebrenica massacre.
Excerpt from a story on The Hill’s Gossip blog:
Rep. Steve Cohen repeatedly tweeted, and then deleted, messages to a woman on Twitter who his office is calling “the daughter of a longtime friend” and who has the same name as a Texas State University blonde bombshell featured in a college co-ed calendar.
In a Tuesday night message ahead of President Obama’s State of the Union address, a Twitter user named Victoria Brink tweeted to the Tennessee Democrat, “just saw you on tv!”
According to a tweet captured by the nonpartisan Sunlight Foundation’s Politiwoops site, Cohen replied to Brink, “pleased u r watching. Ilu” The tweet was deleted after three minutes.
Both Wikipedia and UrbanDictionary.com define “ilu” as Internet slang for either “I love you” or “I like you.”
In another message sent Wednesday morning, Cohen wrote again to Brink on Twitter: “nice to know you were watchin SOTU (state of the union.) Happy Valentines beautiful girl. Ilu.” That message was deleted within 15 minutes of being posted.
A biography of Victoria Brink on CollegeDozen.com says the 24-year-old, who is seen posing in a turquoise and pink bikini, plans on “moving back to Beverly Hills or Houston to pursue a career in the fashion industry and do modeling on the side,” following her graduation.
… Cohen’s spokesman, Michael Pagan, tells ITK that his boss and Brink “are pretty much like family.” Adding, “There’s nothing going on there. He actually has a longtime girlfriend in Memphis.”
When ITK pressed Pagan why Cohen was writing “ilu” and wishing the Twitter user a happy Valentine’s Day, he responded, “That I do not know.”
The press secretary explained of the deleted tweets, “He meant to do it as a private message and then he realized he did it publicly.”
The Tennessee Republican Party, not surprisingly, was quick to attack Cohen with a press release. It’s below.
Democrat Steve Cohen of Memphis was the only member of the Tennessee delegation to the U.S. House who voted in favor of the “fiscal cliff” legislation that was approved by a 257-167 bipartisan vote on New Year’s day.
Here’s how the Tennessee delegation voted:
Voting no in the House were Republicans Phil Roe, John Duncan, Chuck Fleischmann, Scott DesJarlais. Diane Black, Marsha Blackburn, and Stephen Fincher. Democrat Jim Cooper also voted against the measure.
Democrat Steve Cohen was the only yes vote among the Tennessee delegation in the House.
In the early morning vote in the Senate, Sens Lamar Alexander and Bob Corker, both Republicans, voted in favor of the bill.
==Here are news releases from Tennessee congressmen on their vote: (Alexander and Corker statements are on an earlier post, HERE.)
From Rep. Jim Cooper:
WASHINGTON – U.S. Rep. Jim Cooper (TN-05) issued the following statement today after voting against H.R. 8, the American Taxpayer Relief Act, which adds nearly $4 trillion to the debt over the next 10 years:
“No real spending cuts. No real deficit reduction. No acknowledgement of America’s out-of-control national debt. This is a popular vote today, but it will harm America in the long run. It is good to see a return to bipartisanship, but not when it makes our fiscal problems worse.
“Congress is missing the chance of the decade to adopt a large, balanced deficit reduction plan such as Simpson-Bowles that combines tax relief with controlling federal spending.
“In just a few weeks, America will face another debt-ceiling crisis as well as sequestration. Today’s fiscal Band-Aid may feel good now, but its relief will not even last until spring.”
Cooper has long favored a balanced, bipartisan approach to tackling the national debt and fiscal cliff. He and U.S. Rep. Steve LaTourette (R-OH) introduced the only bipartisan budget last spring, based on recommendations from the Simpson-Bowles fiscal commission.
The Cooper-LaTourette budget was the only budget plan to receive bipartisan support in the House last year, and was widely praised by editorial boards across the country. Cooper and LaTourette were honored by the Concord Coalition in September 2012 for their political leadership and work to reduce the debt.
9th District congressman Steve Cohen is just back from Georgia — no, not that Georgia, the one that used to belong to the former Soviet Union — and, as he waited in the Newark airport Tuesday, he could barely contain the elation he felt from having observed a political sea change in that land-bound Eurasian naton.
More from Jackson Baker: Cohen was in Georgia as a member of the Helsinki Commission and as an international monitor, appointed by House speaker John Boehner, charged with observing parliamentary elections Monday in the Republic of Georgia.
What Cohen got to see, as he told the Flyer, was a nation in the act of asserting its will for change. The election process seemed both “free and fair,” and the outcome was a defeat for the ruling party of incumbent Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili, who conceded the election to a coalition led by billionaire Bidzina Ivanishvili.
News reports have characterized the pending transition to be a victory for democracy, and Cohen concurs in that judgment.
The new leader is “a Bloomberg type,” Cohen said, referring to Michael Bloomberg, the wealthy entrepreneur who is now serving his third term as mayor of New York.
Two House members introduced legislation Thursday to strengthen laws against soring of Tennessee Walking Horses, but supporters warned that the bill would not be easy to pass, reports The Tennessean. While soring — inflicting pain on horses’ legs, joints and hooves so that their gait becomes more high stepping — is already against the law, Reps. Ed Whitfield, R-Ky., and Steve Cohen, D-Memphis, said their bill would amend the Horse Protection Act of 1970 to:
• Put the Agriculture Department in charge of licensing inspectors and have it assign an inspector to any show that requests one. It also increases the number of inspectors the agency can use for surprise inspections at shows that don’t request a licensed inspector. Funding for the increase in inspectors would come from giving the department a share of the entrance fees that horse owners pay at shows.
• Outlaw the use of “action devices” that rub on sore areas of a horse to increase pain.
• Increase penalties for soring, with fines of up to $5,000 or imprisonment for up to three years or both.
• Increase fines from $2,000 to $4,000 for hiring an unlicensed inspector.
Whitfield and Cohen announced the bill at a Capitol Hill news conference where they also showed an undercover video aired by ABC News’ “Nightline” that showed horses wrenching in pain because of soring techniques employed by trainers.
No matter what the industry says, “it appears this is a widespread practice,” Whitfield
…The Tennessee Walking Show Horse Organization denounced the proposed bill.
“The attacks from Congressman Whitfield are expected as his wife is the vice president of legislative affairs for the Humane Society of the United States, an organization that stands to gain financially for going after the walking horse industry,” Jeffrey Howard, communications director for the group, said in a statement.
The statement alluded to gains in contributions that the Humane Society would receive because of its championing of the issue.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Four congressional incumbents have defeated their challengers in Tennessee’s primary election.
The winners were Republican Reps. Jimmy Duncan in the 2nd District, Stephen Fincher in the 8th District and Scott DesJarlais in the 4th District. Democratic Rep. Steve Cohen prevailed in the 9th District.
Republican Reps. Chuck Fleischmann and Diane Black posted strong leads in early returns following some of the state’s toughest campaigns.
Republican U.S. Sen. Bob Corker also easily won nomination.
Seven little-known Democrats were vying for the Senate nomination to face Corker in the general election.
Republican Reps. Phil Roe and Marsha Blackburn and Democratic Rep. Jim Cooper had no primary opposition.