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Posted at 6:55 p.m. on Feb. 4, 2013
Sen. Robert Menendez has been aggressively challenging allegations that he engaged in sex tourism during donor-enabled swings through the Dominican Republic, but he has so far shied away from providing many specifics on what did go down during those trips.
Though Menendez has acknowledged that longtime supporter Dr. Salomon Melgen was reimbursed for the flights to the Caribbean, those who doubt the New Jersey Democrat’s honesty have taken their case directly to the Internet.
The @MenendezMustGo Twitter feed joined the fray at 10:26 a.m. Sunday by directing eyeballs to a Breitbart News piece about the brewing scandal. In the past 24 hours, the antagonistic account has won the hearts and minds of scandal-centric media outlets (radio, print and Web), outraged conservatives and disillusioned Garden Staters.
Not even the down-to-the-wire Super Bowl could distract Indiana Republican Timothy Salters from slapping Menendez around a bit on Twitter.
“@MichaelBerrySho is that Go Daddy ‘The Kiss’ commercial a documentary of Sen. Menendez and his underaged escapades? #SuperBowl #thekiss,” the Vincennes city councilman asked conservative radio show host Michael Berry even as the San Francisco 49ers were battling back from a 22-point deficit to come within mere yards of making NFL history.
The cracks are even beginning to show among the Menendez faithful.
A Facebook entry congratulating former colleague and retiring Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton for an illustrious career features this less-than-glowing endorsement:
“Let’s support Senator Menendez against these false allegations and smear campaign by right wing Republicans,” supporter Salvatore Pizzuro proposed.
“The senate ethics committee is investigating him, the FBI is investigating and Harry Reid has backed off his support. Once the investigation is done we will know if this is true or not,” skeptic Bethanie Calvi Reid fired back. Her rebuttal was subsequently deleted from the page.
Likewise, a thread about the swirling gun control issue includes this broadside:
“Why don’t you worry about not sleeping with children and not blocking law abiding citizens from exercising their god given rights in the name of children,” pro-gun advocate James Bennett argued.
Not surprisingly, Menendez is taking it on the chin on right-wing blogs. RedState contributor “davenj1” aired his far-reaching grievances against Menendez — and the New Jersey political scene — thusly:
“He will be portrayed as a martyr being attacked by crazy right wing loons and their GOP allies. That is the reality of the New Jersey mentality when it comes to corruption. Maybe the citizenry is just desensitized given its prevalence, but at the end of the day it perpetuates a bad image,” the author groused in the satirical “I Am So Proud to Have Robert Menendez as My Senator” piece.
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