Why Rick Perry deleted a disparaging tweet

Texas Gov. Rick Perry deleted what was described as an "unauthorized tweet" from his verified Twitter account. The tweet posted an unflattering mock image of Travis County District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg.

Brian Snyder/Reuters
Supporters hold up a t-shirt with the word 'Wanted' written over a photograph of Texas Governor Rick Perry, a possible Republican candidate for the 2016 presidential race at a 'NH GOP Victory Rally' in Stratham, New Hampshire August 23, 2014. A felony indictment accusing him of abusing his power has energized Texas conservatives, who claim it’s a politically motivated attack in an important election year. It’s also put the spotlight back on Perry, who is trying to rehabilitate his political image before leaving office in January and convince would-be 2016 Republican primary voters that he’s worth a second look.
Screenshot from @KUT Austin

A tweet from Republican Texas Gov. Rick Perry's verified account on Sunday night included a disparaging image of the Democratic district attorney who is at the center of his criminal indictment on charges of abuse of power. The tweet was later deleted, followed by another from Perry's account that disavowed the post.

"A tweet just went out from my account that was unauthorized. I do not condone the tweet and I have taken it down," the later post said.

Perry aides did not immediately return messages seeking comment. Although the tweets were sent from Perry's verified account, it was unclear who does the actual posting for the feed.

The earlier tweet posted an unflattering mock image of Travis County District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg, who was convicted of drunken driving in April 2013. Perry vetoed funds to her office when she refused to resign, which led to a grand jury in Austin this month indicting Perry — who is a potential 2016 presidential candidate.

The caption on the tweet reads: "I don't always drive drunk at 3x the legal blood alcohol limit ... but when I do, I indict Gov. Perry for calling me out about it. I am the most drunk Democrat in Texas."

Lehmberg's office did not lead the grand jury investigation against Perry. It was handled by Michael McCrum, a San Antonio-based special prosecutor who was assigned by a Republican judge.

Perry has pleaded not guilty and called the charges a political ploy. His high-powered legal team has asked the judge overseeing the case to dismiss the indictment, claiming that the law being used to prosecute the longest-serving governor in Texas history is unconstitutionally vague.

Perry cut off $7.5 million in state funds to the state's Public Integrity Unit — which is based in Travis County and prosecutes public corruption in Texas — when Lehmberg refused to resign. That veto drew a formal complaint from a left-leaning watchdog group.

Perry's verified account is updated frequently — and sometimes famously. After finishing in fifth place in the Iowa caucuses during his 2012 presidential campaign, Perry addressed speculation that he might call it quits with a tweet of a photo of himself jogging near a lake, and the words, "Here we come South Carolina!"

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Follow Paul J. Weber on Twitter: www.twitter.com/pauljweber

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