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Kriesel marriage ad elicits profane Twitter reaction from Gimse assistant

Tweets posted Thursday night by GOP Senate legislative assistant Bob Koss about Rep. John Kriesel, R-Cottage Grove.

Cottage Grove Republican Rep. John Kriesel's opposition to the proposed constitutional amendment banning gay marriage drew a late-night, profanity-laced response from a surprising critic: a Republican legislative staffer.

Minnesota Senate GOP legislative staff member Bob Koss, a legislative assistant for Sen. Joe Gimse, R-Willmar, took to Twitter Thursday night to sharply criticize Kriesel after he said he saw an anti-amendment television ad featuring the retiring House member.

"Just saw the (Kriesel) marriage ad. Really glad the RINO will be leaving the Legislature," Koss tweeted. "RINO" is a political acronym for "Republican in name only."

Kriesel, a widely followed and prolific Twitter user, replied on the social messaging site by calling Koss a profanity, though he later deleted that comment.

That prompted sharper remarks from Koss.

"Wow, so the piece of sh** representative confirmed by long standing belief," Koss tweeted.

Koss later added: "Go ahead and play your veterans card to shreds as you've done. You're a self serving SOB and I pity you."

Kriesel is an Army National Guard veteran who lost his legs while serving in Iraq. He referenced his near-death battlefield experience in a speech he made last year on the House floor before being one of two Republicans voting against putting the marriage amendment on this year's ballot. The amendment would ban same-sex marriage in the Minnesota Constitution.

The anti-amendment group Minnesotans United for All Families is using video of Kriesel's speech in a TV ad. Kriesel supports the organization.

A Twitter photo of Koss appears to show him sitting at a senator's desk at the Capitol. Kriesel asked him on Twitter whose desk he was using.

That drew another sharp response from Koss: "Answer me first toy publicity loving SOB. And your supporters are as disgusting as you."

As their exchange started getting attention from political observers, Koss tweeted that he was sorry: "I want to say I'm sorry for how this evolved. It's very personal to me but I approached it in the wrong way. God bless."

Some Republican activists denounced Koss' comments toward Kriesel and Democratic operatives suggested Koss should lose his job.

Kriesel responded to Koss by calling the veteran remark "beyond classless."

"I retweet idiots for fun, but they don't bother me. I've been through way too much in my life to let a couple people ruin my day."

Kriesel later tweeted: "I definitely wasn't blameless tonight. I can be a bit of a jerk at times."

A phone message left for Koss was not immediately returned Friday. Kriesel also did not immediately reply to a request for comment Friday.