First-term Rep. Jim Himes (D-Conn.) learned a hard lesson this week about the linguistic limits of 140 characters.

The mishap occurred Wednesday, when the lawmaker tweeted from the floor:

"Minority colleague just said he's glad his dad is gone so he wont see consumer finance reform. Sheesh."

It isn't entirely clear who, exactly, was the subject of Himes' original tweet. And to many voters, it also was not obvious what the congressman meant by "minority colleague" -- a source of confusion that prompted some voters to express concern.

Himes, however, realized his ambiguity by Sunday, and he quickly clarified in another tweet:

"Realized when I referred to 'minority colleague' some thought I meant ethnic minority. In fact, meant Republican. Gotta watch the DC-speak!"