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Dem Lawmaker: Deleted Tweets Were Sent To My ‘Secret’ Daughter

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Rep. Steve Cohen, D-Tenn., speaks during a news conference to voice opposition to state photo identification voter laws at the U.S. Capitol on July 13, 2011 in Washington, D.C. (credit: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Rep. Steve Cohen, D-Tenn., speaks during a news conference to voice opposition to state photo identification voter laws at the U.S. Capitol on July 13, 2011 in Washington, D.C. (credit: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (CBS Charlotte/AP) — A Democratic congressman who touched off a firestorm of speculation after deleting tweets to a woman 40 years younger than him admits that he was tweeting his daughter.

Rep. Steve Cohen, the 64-year-old lawmaker from Tennessee, told CBS News that it was his daughter, whom he has kept secret from the public that he was responding to on Twitter during the State of the Union address.

“There has been much written and said about my tweeting a very beautiful 24-year-old woman during the State of the Union,” Cohen said. “I haven’t been able to say this until now, and I only found out three years ago, but I’ve known since then that the young lady is my daughter.”

A Cohen aide originally said the lawmaker accidentally exchanged a couple of public tweets with a woman who is the daughter of a friend, but removed them when he realized they weren’t private.

Aide Michael Pagan says Cohen told him he thought the messages to Victoria Brink were private. One was sent during the State of the Union speech Tuesday night and the second was sent Wednesday morning, in response to her tweet “(at)RepCohen just saw you on tv!”

Cohen’s tweets ended with “Ilu,” and Pagan says the initials stand for “I love you.”

“I’m very proud and happy to have a 24-year-old, beautiful, sweet, loving daughter. But I haven’t been able to talk about this publicly because it wasn’t known to others about this relationship. It had been kept secret for years,” Cohen said.

Cohen added that the speculation was “hurtful” to his daughter.

The tweets and deletions were reported Wednesday by New York Magazine and The Hill blog.

(TM and © Copyright 2013 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2013 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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