WASHINGTON — Sometimes, congressmen just want to have fun.

Rep. Steve Cohen, D-Tenn., said he wasn't flirting with singer Cyndi Lauper earlier this week when he tweeted to her that he "couldn't believe how hot" she was.

The tweet Tuesday – and its deletion 21 minutes later – were all part of a joke designed to get publicity for a PBS documentary airing next week about the music scene in Memphis, the city Cohen represents in Congress, the lawmaker said Friday at a news conference.

Cohen tweeted to Lauper, "great night, couldn't believe how hot u were. See you again next Tuesday. Try a little tenderness."

Lauper, famous for `80s hits like "Girls Just Want to Have Fun," "Time after Time" and "True Colors," recorded her most recent album, the critically acclaimed "Memphis Blues," in Memphis, and the singer is featured in the PBS film.

The singer, who is married, had no idea Cohen was going to tweet anything, the congressman said. "I may write her a letter" to explain, he said.

Cohen's tweet came after he and Lauper attended a Memphis-themed event Tuesday at the White House. Cohen said he he'd already decided to tweet something before the event, telling a couple of colleagues that he was "going to have some fun" with the press.

Earlier this year, Cohen drew media attention after he tweeted a Twitter abbreviation for "I love you" to a woman during President Barack Obama's State of the Union address, then deleted it. He later revealed that the woman was a daughter he had never before publicly acknowledged. Cohen, who is single, said he was personally hurt by the press coverage, which he said tried to turn something innocent into a sex scandal.

At a news conference Friday, he said he viewed his tweet to Lauper as a trick on the press and good publicity for his city.

"My constituents want the world to come to Memphis and listen to our music," Cohen said with a laugh.

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