Stand up for the facts!

Our only agenda is to publish the truth so you can be an informed participant in democracy.
We need your help.

More Info

I would like to contribute

Aaron Sharockman
By Aaron Sharockman September 8, 2010

Lindsey Graham endorses Charlie Crist talk spreads quickly on Twitter

The Twitter feeds started buzzing shortly after 10 a.m. Sept. 8, 2010 -- Republican U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham had endorsed no-party, independent candidate Charlie Crist in the Senate race in Florida.

"WOW BIG NEWS," wrote Twitter user KenGPDX.

BenRay added, "SCGOP Proxy War in FL. Oh my." That's a reference to South Carolina's other U.S. senator, Jim DeMint, actively supporting Republican nominee Marco Rubio.

Other conservatives were quick to criticize Graham.

"Respect for Graham plummets to 0," KevinWGlass wrote. "We need to publish the names of the RINO (Republican In Name Only) Republicans who are going along with Obama & Pelosi such as Lindsey Graham," wrote ThorntonB1.

Put away the pitchforks, users of Twitter. You've been had.

The bogus rumor was started by Amanda Terkel, a senior political reporter for the Huffington Post. Shortly after 10 a.m. she posted to her Twitter account "Lindsey Graham endorses Charlie Crist, says he's 'exactly what the national Republican Party needs.' "

She realized she'd made a mistake within five minutes, but not before her message had been seen and reposted by hundreds of others. She quickly tried to stop the news from spreading, firing off a quick succession of Tweets.

Terkel was looking at an old press release from when Crist was running for Senate as a Republican. The release was sent out on Sept. 8 by Democratic candidate Kendrick Meek's campaign. The Meek campaign has been resending old Crist releases in recent days to highlight his ties to Republicans.


Terkel's follow-up Tweets:

"Scratch my last tweet. Think I was looking at an old press release. (About Graham/Crist)

"@FranklinLDavis @DukeStJournal @BenRay @kombiz @kate_sheppard @LEPHAMMER @Chris_Moody

@asherhuey @TimFernholz My last tweet was wrong.

"@KevinWGlass Scratch my last tweet. I was wrong. Looking at old release.

"@MilesGrant Ignore! I was wrong.

Crist" for Senate. But it was dated 5/26/09.

For the record, we checked with Graham spokesman Kevin Bishop about the endorsement.

"This is an 'old' endorsement, pre-Crist leaving the GOP," Bishop said in an e-mail. "Senator Graham is supporting Rubio."

Bishop included a helpful timeline explaining Graham's one-time support for Crist.

  • Sen. Lindsey Graham endorsed Gov. Crist on May 18, 2009, when he was a candidate for the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate.  Fund for America’s Future, Sen. Graham's leadership PAC, made financial contributions to the Crist campaign of $1,000 on June 15, 2009, and $4,000 on Dec. 21, 2009.
  • When Gov. Crist announced that he was no longer a Republican candidate for U.S. Senate, we sent a letter to the treasurer of the Charlie Crist for U.S. Senate campaign asking that the $5,000 be refunded and that Sen. Graham's endorsement be removed from the campaign’s website and literature.
  • Sen. Graham is supporting Republican nominee Marco Rubio in the Florida Senate race. Sen. Graham has co-hosted a Rubio reception in Washington and Fund for America's Future gave the maximum $5,000 contribution to the Rubio campaign in August.

Graham endorsed the Republican version of Crist back in 2009, but yanked that support when Crist announced he was leaving the party. The old endorsement came back to haunt Graham, and Crist, on Twitter. But don't be fooled. We rate it Pants on Fire!

Our Sources

Browse the Truth-O-Meter

More by Aaron Sharockman

Lindsey Graham endorses Charlie Crist talk spreads quickly on Twitter

Support independent fact-checking.
Become a member!

In a world of wild talk and fake news, help us stand up for the facts.

Sign me up