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DAN FUMANO

Clark earns Twitter kudos for rebuking Branson Add to ...

The Twitterverse isn’t always kind to Premier Christy Clark. On any given day, her @christyclarkbc account can be deluged with complaints about either a policy decision or policy indecision.

But Twitter users lauded the Premier this week after her pointed response to a come-on from Virgin magnate Richard Branson.

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All was friendly when Ms. Clark and Mr. Branson met at Vancouver International Airport last week to celebrate the launch of Virgin airline’s non-stop service between this city and London.

But Mr. Branson tweeted a joke to his two-million-plus followers on Monday, inviting the Premier to join him for a racy kite-surfing session. He included a photo of him partaking in the sport with a nude woman on his back.

Ms. Clark fired back the next day, saying if that was Mr. Branson’s best pick-up line, it would explain why his company is called Virgin.

Several people used the micro-blogging site to express their support for Ms. Clark, dubbing Mr. Branson’s tweet as “creepy” and “inappropriate.”

@TheChrisCoburn said: “Don’t normally agree with Ms. Clark, but I am with her on this one.”

Added @tbeaudrymellor: “Standing Ovation for Premier Clark on her handling of Branson’s naked kitesurfing invite.”

@___Danno wondered which other Canadian politicians might receive similar offers from Mr. Branson. He said: “UK billionaire Richard Branson wants naked BC Premier Christy Clark to cling to his back while kitesurfing. Same deal for Rob Ford? #cdnpoli”

Some marketing-minded tweets said the incident showed once again that Mr. Branson knows how to generate media coverage.

Said @ianhinkle: “Christy fell for it- Branson wins: Clark hands Virgin free press & an earned-media coup. Now we all know Virgin is in #yvr”

Twitter, of course, is never short of conflicting opinions. And so the website that played host to the “controversy” also had some people who disagreed with Ms. Clark’s response.

‏@darktwain said: “Christy Clark arranged the photo-op with Branson! She knew, or SHOULD have known, who she was dealing with. He didn’t just change.”

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