Longtime Labrador spokesman fired for bawdy Super Bowl tweet

Phil Hardy, Rep. Raul Labrador’s spokesman since his upset congressional win in 2010, has been fired for mistakenly tweeting in the name of his boss about his admiration for two actresses pole dancing in a Super Bowl ad.

The tweet, “Me likey Broke Girls,” was  deleted after 14 seconds but is archived on a website that collects deleted tweets from politicians.

The Idaho Republican’s office apologized Monday for the tweet, which was Hardy’s take on a CBS promotional spot featuring Kat Dennings and Beth Behrs, the stars of “2 Broke Girls,” dancing in revealing clothing. The pair were depicted on the show’s set — a Brooklyn diner — gyrating to a Def Leppard pole-dancing tune “Pour Some Sugar On Me.”

Hardy worked in the music industry, including a stint in London, specializing in heavy metal bands, before coming to Idaho. His first job in politics was as a spokesman for the Idaho Senate GOP Caucus.

Labrador made the decision to fire Hardy, said the Idaho Republican’s district director, Jake Ball.
Ball said Labrador fired Hardy late Monday, after news of the embarrassing tweet.

“That’s Raul’s call,” Ball said of the firing. “It was the boss” who told Hardy Monday afternoon.

The Meridian-based Hardy’s official title was “coalitions director,” but he functioned as Labrador’s official spokesman and press agent, a job he also held in the 2010 campaign.

When I asked Ball to explain why the tweet was a firing offense, Ball said he couldn’t answer on Labrador’s behalf. “Let me see if the boss would like to answer these questions on his own,” Ball said Tuesday afternoon. “I did not make the decision.”

My attempts to reach Hardy on Tuesday afternoon were unsuccessful.

Dan Popkey came to Idaho in 1984 to work as a police reporter. Since 1987, he has covered politics and has reported on 25 sessions of the Legislature. Dan has a bachelor's in political science from Santa Clara University and a master's in journalism from Columbia University. He was a Congressional Fellow of the American Political Science Association and a Journalism Fellow at the University of Michigan. A former page in the U.S. House of Representatives, he graduated Capitol Page High School in 1976. In 2007, he led the Statesman’s coverage of the Sen. Larry Craig sex scandal, which was one of three Pulitzer Prize finalists in breaking news. In 2003, he won the Ted M. Natt First Amendment award from the Pacific Northwest Newspaper Association for coverage of University Place, the University of Idaho’s troubled real estate development in Boise. Dan helped start the community reading project "Big Read." He has two children in college and lives on the Boise Bench with an old gray cat.

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