The Other McCain

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Rep. Bob Etheridge: ‘Who Are You?’

Posted on | June 14, 2010 | 43 Comments

A Democrat in a Republican-leaning North Carolina District, Etheridge was leaving a fundraiser with Nancy Pelosi when two college kids with a video camera asked him a simple question: “Do you fully support the Obama agenda?” Madcap hijinks ensued:

A “macaca” moment for the Democrat. His Republican challenger is Renee Ellmers.

UPDATE: Department of Unflattering Headlines:

Congressman caught on camera in physical confrontation
WRAL-TV, Raleigh, N.C.

N.C. Congressman Under Fire for Physical Confrontation With Man in Washington
Fox News

Video shows Rep. Etheridge grabbing videographer
Charlotte (N.C.) Observer

Rep. Etheridge assaults a person on the street
The Hill

Congressman loses his cool, acts like a fool
Greensboro (N.C.) News Record

When Democrats Attack!
Ed Driscoll

Who TMZ’d Rep. Bob Etheridge?
Washington Post

That last headline is from Dave Weigel, who writes:

“So who are the students? I don’t know. The National Republican Congressional Committee tells me they didn’t send them, and ‘DCCameraGuy’ has yet to respond to my e-mail. But without any name or organizational support, just by riling up a member of Congress, the students have created the first conservative meme of the week.”

Just a blind guess: These kids are probably from the Leadership Institute, which trains conservative students in political strategy and tactics. Campaign video “trackers” have been standard operating procedure for Democrats since 2006, at least. What’s strange is Etheridge’s assertion: “I have a right to know who you are.”

Well, does he?

UPDATE II: Instapundit has background, and Dan Riehl highlights Etheridge’s “F” grades on 2nd Amendment rights.

Checking Etheridge’s Wiki, there doesn’t seem to be anything particularly controversial in his past. He’s just a Blue Dog dinosaur, a fossil of the Clinton era elected to Congress in 1996. It’s amazing he’s survived this long, given how he flipped out the first time he was confronted by opposition video trackers.

Wonder how many other Blue Dog Democrats would react the same way to a simple question, e.g., Rep. John Barrow, why are you trying to keep a progressive black Democrat out of Congress?”

UPDATE III: Etheridge has apologized and the DCCC is “out for blood.”

UPDATE IV: Comment from Renee Ellmers:

“If a teacher or principal treated a student this way it would raise serious questions and he would be suspended. This kind of behavior is equally unacceptable in a Congressman.”

Read the whole thing at Right Wing News.

UPDATE V: Ann Althouse highlights Dave Weigel’s commenter “Bob”:

What [Etheridge] has is the dangerous notion that he’s exempt from the laws of the District of Columbia and from the dictates of a civil society.

Weigel is intrigued by the unwillingness of the students to identify themselves. Dave’s getting a lot of flak from conservatives for his coverage of the incident, although in his defense I’d say that the questions he’s asking — Who are these kids, who are they working for and why was Etheridge their target? — are legitimately newsworthy.

No one is likely to discover the answer to those questions any time soon. Mike Flynn hasn’t returned my calls today, but if Flynn knows the identity of these kids, he’d be a fool to burn his source. I just got off the phone with my source, the “black ops” guy – who was not involved in this operation – who pointed out that (a) by maintaining their anonymity, the kids preserve their ability to do future operati0ns, and (b) on the video, Etheridge appears to have had a few cocktails, so he probably won’t be able to ID the kids.

UPDATE VI: Wow, this is the second time in three weeks I’ve been mentioned by Allahpundit:

Not a single word is devoted to the idea that asking a question of a congressman shouldn’t mean walking away with his palm print on your neck. . . .
Breitbart and Michael Flynn say they have no idea who shot the video; assuming that the students were indeed Republican “trackers,” paid to shadow Democrats in hopes of capturing a gaffe on film, I wait with bated breath for an explanation as to why these guys are illegitimate but the guy who caught George Allen’s “macaca” line on tape is A-OK. As for why they’re anonymous, R.S. McCain offers a persuasive theory: Given the viciousness of the DNC in trying to make this a story about them, wouldn’t you want to stay anonymous too in order to avoid reprisals?

Hmmm. Staying anonymous “in order to avoid reprisals”?

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Comments

  • http://www.fitsnews.com Will Folks

    Crazy ain’t limited to south of the border.

  • http://www.fitsnews.com Will Folks

    Crazy ain’t limited to south of the border.

  • Joe

    Remember North Carolina, Congressman Etheridge supports the Presidential commission for deficit reduction:

    Watching this Presidential commission discuss strategies for deficit reduction is like watching a pack of gluttons talk about getting in shape while they prowl up and down a buffet table. They linger over the deep-fried mortgage interest deduction caps, dip their spoons into the rich chocolate of the VAT tax, and lick their lips as they wait for the expired Bush tax cuts to pop out of the oven. They end up perched on the edge of creaking chairs, tittering at the wonderfully naughty idea of devouring everyone’s 401k plans for dessert. It’s a nauseating spectacle that will only end when they’re escorted from the restaurant by angry voters.

    Yeah, I’m angry. Not quite Congressman Etheridge angry, but I also did not put two shots of bourbon in my coffee this morning. Then again, I am not a mean drunk.

  • Joe

    Remember North Carolina, Congressman Etheridge supports the Presidential commission for deficit reduction:

    Watching this Presidential commission discuss strategies for deficit reduction is like watching a pack of gluttons talk about getting in shape while they prowl up and down a buffet table. They linger over the deep-fried mortgage interest deduction caps, dip their spoons into the rich chocolate of the VAT tax, and lick their lips as they wait for the expired Bush tax cuts to pop out of the oven. They end up perched on the edge of creaking chairs, tittering at the wonderfully naughty idea of devouring everyone’s 401k plans for dessert. It’s a nauseating spectacle that will only end when they’re escorted from the restaurant by angry voters.

    Yeah, I’m angry. Not quite Congressman Etheridge angry, but I also did not put two shots of bourbon in my coffee this morning. Then again, I am not a mean drunk.

  • FenelonSpoke

    It’s hell being a Democrat in a Right Leaning District. Someone may ask you a question about Obama.

  • FenelonSpoke

    It’s hell being a Democrat in a Right Leaning District. Someone may ask you a question about Obama.

  • Count Vikula

    Young Americans for Liberty maybe? YAL kids love to stir the pot.

  • Count Vikula

    Young Americans for Liberty maybe? YAL kids love to stir the pot.

  • http://theothermccain.com Robert Stacy McCain

    Young Americans for Liberty maybe?

    Yeah, I know some YAL kids, but it might also be Young America’s Foundation or their media-training division, the National Journalism Center.

    If the NRCC or the Ellmers campaign didn’t do it, it could be anybody, but right now my money is on Leadership Institute. I called Dave Weigel, who said he’d call LI and check it out.

  • http://theothermccain.com Robert Stacy McCain

    Young Americans for Liberty maybe?

    Yeah, I know some YAL kids, but it might also be Young America’s Foundation or their media-training division, the National Journalism Center.

    If the NRCC or the Ellmers campaign didn’t do it, it could be anybody, but right now my money is on Leadership Institute. I called Dave Weigel, who said he’d call LI and check it out.

  • Joe

    Whoever did it, take credit for it.

  • Joe

    Whoever did it, take credit for it.

  • http://kingshamus.wordpress.com/ KingShamus

    “Will Folks” for the win.

    Hahaha.

  • http://kingshamus.wordpress.com/ KingShamus

    “Will Folks” for the win.

    Hahaha.

  • http://pointofagun.blogspot.com/ Dave C

    As for why they obscured their identity.. I don’t blame them for not wanting a Joe The Plumber treatment.

    Besides.. it was a simple question and Bob went off on them.

    Who they are shouldn’t matter.

  • http://pointofagun.blogspot.com/ Dave C

    As for why they obscured their identity.. I don’t blame them for not wanting a Joe The Plumber treatment.

    Besides.. it was a simple question and Bob went off on them.

    Who they are shouldn’t matter.

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  • mpw280

    All they need to identify themselves as is concerned voters. The soon to be ex-congressman’s response is that of a tin horn dictator, say a Chavez, and for that alone he needs to be shoved out the door on election day. For the offence of grabbing the kids he needs to go to jail. mpw

  • mpw280

    All they need to identify themselves as is concerned voters. The soon to be ex-congressman’s response is that of a tin horn dictator, say a Chavez, and for that alone he needs to be shoved out the door on election day. For the offence of grabbing the kids he needs to go to jail. mpw

  • Joe

    DaveC–I want them to take credit so I can thank them.

  • Joe

    DaveC–I want them to take credit so I can thank them.

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  • http://www.etheridgeforcongress.org/ Rep. Bob Etheridge

    I have an offical statement at my congressional website:

    I have seen the video posted on several blogs. I deeply and profoundly regret my reaction and I apologize to all involved. Throughout my many years of service to the people of North Carolina, I have always tried to treat people from all viewpoints with respect. No matter how intrusive and partisan our politics can become, this does not justify a poor response. I have and I will always work to promote a civil public discourse.

    My unofficial statement is it was the liquor talking! And I like manhandling the opposition. Do you have a problem with that? What’s your name!

  • http://www.etheridgeforcongress.org/ Rep. Bob Etheridge

    I have an offical statement at my congressional website:

    I have seen the video posted on several blogs. I deeply and profoundly regret my reaction and I apologize to all involved. Throughout my many years of service to the people of North Carolina, I have always tried to treat people from all viewpoints with respect. No matter how intrusive and partisan our politics can become, this does not justify a poor response. I have and I will always work to promote a civil public discourse.

    My unofficial statement is it was the liquor talking! And I like manhandling the opposition. Do you have a problem with that? What’s your name!

  • http://www.etheridgeforcongress.org/ Rep. Bob Etheridge

    It is intrusive and partisan to be questioned about my loyalty to Barack Obama’s agenda. Okay. Got that. Or do I need to give you the back of my hand.

    I have and I will always work to promote a civil public discourse.

  • http://www.etheridgeforcongress.org/ Rep. Bob Etheridge

    It is intrusive and partisan to be questioned about my loyalty to Barack Obama’s agenda. Okay. Got that. Or do I need to give you the back of my hand.

    I have and I will always work to promote a civil public discourse.

  • Adobe Walls

    Surely whoever did this never dreamed of hitting the jackpot like this. I’ve talked to Bob only once at a HC town-hall last summer, he was sober. As for us being a right leaning district I hope we show it this time and send Bob back to his farm in Lillington.

  • Adobe Walls

    Surely whoever did this never dreamed of hitting the jackpot like this. I’ve talked to Bob only once at a HC town-hall last summer, he was sober. As for us being a right leaning district I hope we show it this time and send Bob back to his farm in Lillington.

  • http://www.etheridgeforcongress.org/ Rep. Bob Etheridge

    It is unsportsmanlike to challenge me after a few drinks. I mean, it was not like I was driving drunk.

  • http://www.etheridgeforcongress.org/ Rep. Bob Etheridge

    It is unsportsmanlike to challenge me after a few drinks. I mean, it was not like I was driving drunk.

  • http://www.etheridgeforcongress.org/ Rep. Bob Etheridge

    “Etheridge, …pulled the student to his side and grabbed him in a hug.”

    You are just misrepresenting me. I was just hugging some strange young man on the street. Happens all the time. Nothing wrong with that.

  • http://www.etheridgeforcongress.org/ Rep. Bob Etheridge

    “Etheridge, …pulled the student to his side and grabbed him in a hug.”

    You are just misrepresenting me. I was just hugging some strange young man on the street. Happens all the time. Nothing wrong with that.

  • http://flyoverlibertarian.blogspot.com TAS

    So much for the peace, love, and nonviolence the Democrats are always claiming to support.

  • http://flyoverlibertarian.blogspot.com TAS

    So much for the peace, love, and nonviolence the Democrats are always claiming to support.

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  • http://www.etheridgeforcongress.org/ Rep. Bob Etheridge
  • http://www.etheridgeforcongress.org/ Rep. Bob Etheridge
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  • http://www.etheridgeforcongress.org/ Rep. Bob Etheridge

    I love that scene in the Godfather when Sonny grabs the reporter’s camera, rips the film out, and throws the camera on the pavement. And then he throws down a $100 bill. That is classic stuff.

  • http://www.etheridgeforcongress.org/ Rep. Bob Etheridge

    I love that scene in the Godfather when Sonny grabs the reporter’s camera, rips the film out, and throws the camera on the pavement. And then he throws down a $100 bill. That is classic stuff.

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