Call it the case of the disappearing "intern."
Someone claiming to be an intern for Bill Faison's campaign manager Jeanne Milliken Bonds is in a war of words with veteran Democratic blogger Betsy Muse.
Muse has been blogging about North Carolina politics since 2004. She started a new site, Democratic Muse, last year.
In early March, she posted an entry about Faison's campaign staff. The entry was critical of Faison's selection of Bonds as his campaign strategist. Muse called it an "unfortunate" choice.
"Game Over," Muse added.
Over the weekend, someone identifying him/herself as "Jeanne's intern" commented that Muse should "Grow up" and "Become something other than a housewife." Read the thread here.
Bonds referred our question about interns to Debra McHenry, who manages volunteers and interns for the Faison campaign.
McHenry said on Twitter the Faison campaign has no interns, despite a recent Faison campaign press release touting "a wonderful group of volunteers and student interns statewide."
The comment at Muse's blog was signed EGC - the same initials as English Grey Clemmons, a Meredith senior whose LinkedIn profile describes her as a "campaign intern at Bill Faison for Governor."
But Clemmons says she didn't make the comment.
"Those comments were absolutely not made by me," she said in a Facebook message. "Whoever did this it is insulting to me and Jeanne. Thanks for checking and letting me know that something like that was out there with my initials on it. I appreciate it."
"It's very sexist," Muse said Monday, adding that while she "wasn't outraged" by the comment, she was surprised by the "personal attack."
Muse is a stay-at-home mom, a decision she says she and her husband made some years back.
"I don’t even know Jeanne," Muse said. "I don’t have an axe to grind with her."
She says there's really no way to know who authored the comment, or what the author's connection to the campaign might be. It could be another Democrat, she said. But Faison is running well behind primary opponents Walter Dalton and Bob Etheridge.
Muse thinks the comment likely came either from Bonds or from someone working closely with her. "The comment sounds very much like the kind of comment Jeanne has made on Twitter – attacking the messenger," she said. "It's so in line with how she has behaved, it's easy to make that reach."
"I do hope that we don’t have Democrats running for office or hiring people to help them run for office who really sincerely hold that opinion of those of us who stay home to raise our children," Muse added.
Bonds cannot comment
Asked by email whether the "housewife" comment was appropriate, Bonds responded, "I haven't read the post so I cannot comment on what is appropriate or not therein."
She also did not comment on who authored the slam. "Our campaign has many volunteers of all ages; some are students, and Debra McHenry coordinates and communicates with them all. Volunteers are not paid. Debra and I are volunteers as well," Bonds said. "We appreciate our grassroots volunteers and our paid consultants."