How My Most Embarrassing Moment Made the News

March 31, 2017
most embarrassing moment

That’s me back there with the camera, taking photos of my boss at a Senate hearing.


Me and Senator Roberts on the steps of the Capitol building


I could tell you about the time I hit a parked car in college while an old boyfriend watched nearby, or how when I was a reporter I filmed the wrong house for a story about a drug bust while the “right” house watched me from across the street. Those moments are embarrassing. But this story is a much better one; it got picked up by the news.

It all started a few years back while I was working for Senator Pat Roberts as his press secretary. I had just attended a Senate workshop for press secretaries, hosted by Twitter.

During the presentation, the Twitter guru insisted that as press officials, if we wanted to be successful with our personal Twitter accounts, we absolutely needed to find our own unique niche.

I wasn’t much into Twitter at the time, but when the forum ended, I walked back to my office feeling like I could really master this Twitter thing, if only I could figure out a unique niche. What was no one else doing? I was stumped.

During a moment of down time at work that day, I quietly perused the news, searching for something to inspire me on what my Twitter niche could be. Moments later, I came across this article. It was about 92 year-old identical twin brothers, who were Friars no less, who died on the same day, just hours apart. Isn’t that amazing? Because I am also an identical twin, I suppose this news story really spoke to me. How incredible that twin brothers would die on the same day! I decided then and there that my unique niche on Twitter would be to tweet about things relating to twins.

Looking back now, I realize such an uninspiring topic probably wouldn’t have amounted to much. But on that day, it seemed like I was really on to something.

My genius, inaugural tweet was simple: “Strange twin news,” it said, and I included the link to the article.

After that first inspired tweet with my newfound niche, I all but forgot about my new, soon-to-be mass following “twin” role on Twitter until a few days later.

I was combing through the morning news, as I did every morning, searching the local Kansas newspapers for mentions of my boss, Senator Roberts. It was my job to combine all those news clips and make a copy for the senator and our Chief of Staff.

As luck would have it, this was around the same time Congressman Anthony Weiner accidentally tweeted an inappropriate photo of himself, the first time. You remember that, right? So, naturally, Twitter was on the minds of many journalists.

This particular morning, it was also on the mind of a reporter from the Kansas City Star. In fact, his headline read, “On Twitter, Our Area Lawmakers aren’t Twits.” The article proceeded to discuss the boring things the Kansas and Missouri public officials had recently been tweeting. Fun topic, I thought as I read on… until I got further down the article where my boss was finally mentioned…

“Strange twin news,” Sen. Pat Roberts of Kansas tweeted the other day. Turns out that two brothers, identical twins who also were Franciscans, had just died on the same day at age 92. No kidding. Happened down in Florida. Is your pulse racing?

My pulse was indeed racing.

I stared at the screen in complete horror.

I was mortified. I reread it again, just to be sure: “‘Strange twin news,’ Sen. Pat Roberts of Kansas tweeted…”

Yes. It was real.

What had I done?!

My tweet about twins hadn’t been tweeted from my personal Twitter account at all. I had been logged in to Senator Roberts’ Twitter account.

I made my boss, a U.S. senator, tweet about twins. And now it was printed in the newspaper.

I’m quite certain my heart stopped for a moment.

I whirled around in my chair to see if my office mate, Senator Roberts’ Communications Director, had noticed my momentary loss of breath. She hadn’t.

I now had to break the news to her about my utter stupidity. I could not possibly keep this a secret. It was in the news.

It seemed as if the words tumbled out of my mouth in slow motion, “Sarah… I did something really embarrassing…”

Thank goodness for a coworker with a good sense of humor. She shrugged it off, laughing, “don’t worry, we’ve all done that before.”

All the same, I may not have included that Kansas City Star article into the stack of news clips for my boss that day.

If he ever saw it, I’m sure he probably laughed about it too. He was, after all, voted one of the funniest U.S. Senators several years running.

And in case you’re wondering, I never did tweet anything else about twins. Not on my account. Or anyone else’s.



Here’s the full news article mentioned above, in case you want to read it in its entirety. It’s no longer fully listed on the Kansas City Star’s website, since it is a few years old.

Kansas City Star, The (MO)

June 12, 2011
Section: News
Page: C3
as provided by The McClatchy Company
On Twitter, our area lawmakers aren’t twits
Author: STEVE KRASKE, The Kansas City Star
Article Text:U.S. Rep. Anthony Weiner of New York issued a crotch-shot photo from his Twitter account not long ago that rocketed official Washington into another round of sex-gate histrionics.
So any enterprising journalist might want to know: What are our area public officials up to when it comes to using Twitter? Is there a 140-character scandal in Mo-Kan? I went looking. Turns out that we’re represented by a pretty tame bunch.Tame … and boring, at least by Twitter standards.
“Here is video of my remarks supporting Israel on the Senate floor earlier today,” Sen. Jerry Moran of Kansas tweeted near the end of May.
“My weekly newsletter is about to go out,” Rep. Emanuel Cleaver of Missouri noted on May 20. “Are you on the list?”
“Strange twin news,” Sen. Pat Roberts of Kansas tweeted the other day. Turns out that two brothers, identical twins who also were Franciscans, had just died on the same day at age 92. No kidding. Happened down in Florida. Is your pulse racing?
Maybe freshman congressman Kevin Yoder of Overland Park, still a lad at a mere 35, might be more adventurous. He hails from the high-tech generation.
“Don’t forget to join this afternoon from 3-6 p.m. @ our new district office for a constituent services open house!”
Well, maybe not.
“Thanks to the great people at Sara Lee for giving my staff a tour of this new advanced facility,” Yoder tweeted on another day. “This is a great addition to the KCK area.”
Yawn …
Leave it to the Mo-Kan queen of Twitter to stir up some dust.
Sen. Claire McCaskill of Missouri has been hailed far and wide for her flash messaging. She began tweeting early and often, generated a ton of national publicity for herself and today boasts an impressive 55,410 followers.
That’s five times the total of her U.S. Senate colleague from Missouri, Roy Blunt, and more than 50 times the number of Cleaver’s followers.
McCaskill trots out her share of tried-and-true political cliches so often used on Twitter: “Great visits yesterday to Whiteman AFB, Warrensburg, & Columbia.” But she at least throws in occasional doses of real humanity that provide some depth to her very political persona.
Lately, she’s been talking about her struggles with weight.
“I’m tired of looking and feeling fat,” she wrote last month. “Maybe talking about it publicly will keep me on track as I try to be disciplined. Off to the gym.”
And later: “I just want to feel better, be in better shape. Healthier as I approach my late (gulp) 50s.”
Then there was this on May 7: “On the eve of Mother’s Day, one of my favorite quotes. ‘Children are God’s way of telling you that your house is way too clean.’”
She points out there are two philosophies when it comes to Twitter: members who have their staff post for them and those who subscribe to the notion that there’s value to speaking with “an authentic voice.”
In other words, posting personally.
McCaskill understands what Weiner did not, and that is: “When I post a tweet, I know I’m putting it on a public bulletin board. If I’m not smart enough to communicate in a way that is effective, knowing it’s going on a public bulletin board, then I deserve the fallout.”
Our area reps seem to get that, which is why it’s hard to understand why Blunt tweeted the other day that there was a big softball game that night against the team from Moran’s office.
“Good luck!” Blunt wrote.
The final score was never posted. So an enterprising journalist made a call to Blunt’s office and learned that Moran’s team won — 32-16.
Twitter strikes again.
Copyright (c) 2011 The Kansas City Star

Author: Andrea

Former news reporter and Capitol Hill press guru, wife, mom, and pastry addict.

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1 Comment

  • Reply Lynnette April 6, 2017 at 9:55 pm

    Oh, my goodness…this is hilarious! I am not much of a Twitter user, but I can totally see myself doing something like you described. I’m glad it all worked out in the end. And now you have a memento from the press to remember you mishap that turned into a really great story!

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