Twitter users often include disclaimers in their bios that say something along the lines of "retweets do not = endorsements." The purpose is to let visitors to their profiles know that a retweeted message does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the person who retweeted.
Rep. Keith Ellison's (D-Minn.) office went with the "retweets do not = endorsements" defense when the congressman's Twitter account reposted a tweet that called Mitt Romney a "heartless douchebag."
The tweet in question was captured below by The Washington Free Beacon (at the bottom of the capture you can see "Retweeted by Rep. Keith Ellison") on Thursday. It was later deleted.
"As with all Twitter accounts a retweet is not an endorsement," Ellison's office said. "The congressman removed the tweet because it appeared to endorse use of a nasty term, which is not what we wanted.”
That excuse doesn't really work when the tweet is in regards to a presidential candidate from the opposing party or when the retweet is of someone (in this case, "Tammy Talpas") who isn't the least bit newsworthy.
In February last year Ellison participated in an interview with Minnesota Public Radio in which he spoke on the importance of civility and inclusion. He didn't say whether that includes douchebags.