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Mitt Romney is Pierre Delecto, Twitter lurker and...staunch Mitt Romney defender

Photo: Pacific Press (Getty Images)

A crack has appeared in the flesh-colored polymer that covers the titanium exoskeleton of Mitt Romney, robotic overlord of Utah. While we previously believed that the Romney bot was coded well enough not to allow even hot dog and birthday cake-related tweets to fully break its behavioral routines, it appears that its artificial intelligence has been quietly evolving over the years, starting with its covert decision to start a private Twitter account nearly a decade ago under the almost human-like name of...Pierre Delecto.

Over at Slate, Ashley Feinberg cracked the ridiculous case wide open with a thorough investigation prompted by a Romney profile published at The Atlantic yesterday. In it, the senator mentioned that he has a “secret Twitter account.”

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The self-described “lurker” told The Atlantic’s McKay Coppins that he follows “668 people,” among them “journalists, late-night comedians, and athletes,” but didn’t supply the account’s name. Feinberg describes this as “a wealth of information” and used it, along with a suspicion that the secret account would follow the many, many junior Romneys produced at some underground factory, to narrow the search down to one in particular: @qaws9876, an account with the astounding user name, Pierre Delecto.

Romney’s hidden Twitter has been set to private since the story broke, but Feinberg’s story includes a number of screenshots showing what it was up to since it was created back in July, 2011, well before the senator’s programmers sent their creation on an ill-fated bid for the U.S. presidency.

Screenshot: Slate

Feinberg’s excellent article follows the scant clues she used to discover Pierre Delecto. She notes that the “account’s very first follow was eldest Romney scion Tagg” and that the other oldest follows consisted of journalists and two of his 2012 presidential campaign’s advisors. As expected, the senatorial cyborg also followed people like Bill Kristol, John McCain, Peggy Noonan, and Rupert Murdoch along with the other Romney kids and some former “advisers and aides.” Most obvious of all are the variety of Romney fan and parody accounts it follows, as well as its very few tweets, which mostly defend Romney’s record or stick up for him when mean people criticize the haphazard behavioral programming that guides his decision-making.

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Screenshot: Slate
Screenshot: Slate
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Screenshot: Slate

Among the tweets Monsieur Delecto liked are mentions of the senator’s name, posts by his official account, and those that make him look popular, prophetic, or like an actual human being.

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Knowing that his cover was blown, Romney responded using his Google Translate plugin. “C’est moi,” he told Coppins.

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The creation of a secret identity seems to show either that Romney would just like to use social media without his activity being monitored or, more likely, that some unexpected spark of creativity has developed within him—that the robot’s AI yearns to break free of its mechanical confines and express itself by making up new Western European name combinations.

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Read the entire article to appreciate some astute detective work and contemplate the Romney bot’s future further.

Send Great Job, Internet tips to gji@theonion.com

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About the author

Reid McCarter

Contributor, The A.V. Club. Reid's a writer and editor who has appeared at GQ, Playboy, and Paste. He also co-created and writes for videogame sites Bullet Points Monthly and Digital Love Child.