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Posted at 10:52 AM ET, 06/14/2010

Video: Lawmaker jostles with student

By Mike McPhate

David Weigel at Right Now is spotlighting video of a confrontation on a D.C. street between a U.S. lawmaker and two students that promises to fuel plenty of political chatter this week.

Weigel writes:

Last week Rep. Bob Etheridge (D-N.C.), who's seen as a safe bet for re-election this year despite representing a somewhat conservative (Cook R+2) district, ran into two self-described students with video cameras outside of a fundraiser.

"Do you fully support the Obama agenda?" asked one of the students.

"Who are you?" asked Etheridge, grabbing one of the cameras and pointing it down -- a move more typically seen from Hollywood bodyguards than congressmen. The second camera rolled as Etheridge, irritated, held the wrist of the first cameraman, then pulled the student to his side and grabbed him in a hug.

"We're just here for a project, sir," said one of the students.

"I have a right to know who you are," Etheridge said.

"I'm just a student, sir," said one of the students.

It went on and on like that until Etheridge left. The videos were under a minute long. On June 11, a new YouTube user named "DCCameraGuy" posted two videos, one from each camera.

No one noticed, though, until today, when Andrew Breitbart's Big Government posted the video -- an edited version posted at another YouTube account -- with a commentary from editor Mike Flynn.

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. They seem to have learned from organizations such as ThinkProgress that any video of a member acting strangely, no matter how grainy, is grist for the Web.

By Mike McPhate  | June 14, 2010; 10:52 AM ET
Categories:  DC  | Tags:  washington  
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i dont see how badgering a congressman with a videocamera is news. just watch TMZ. people there get badgered all the time.

Posted by: MarilynManson | June 14, 2010 11:25 AM | Report abuse

If he was coming from a fundraiser, he probably had tooo many drinks. He'll probably be a teetotaller now until he gets his butt kicked out of office.

Posted by: goldenco5 | June 14, 2010 11:28 AM | Report abuse

"...riling up a member of Congress,..." !!

This reportage on your part seems to put some kind of onus on the student!!!

That makes the 'victim', of an unmerited assault (posibly also a legal battery!), out as something other than perfectly innocent!! Spin...spin...quickly, SPIN

Posted by: jonnyroy | June 14, 2010 11:29 AM | Report abuse

Just another stressed out Democrat.

He's probably worried about being able to find a job after November and took it out on the guy with the cam.

Posted by: Thozmaniac | June 14, 2010 11:36 AM | Report abuse

Just another set-up by headline grabbers.

Posted by: MrFusion1 | June 14, 2010 11:37 AM | Report abuse

If this is how freedom and free speech are practiced in the US what hope is there for my countrymen in a newly democratized asian country. I hope our lawmakers dont see this video and start acting like American lawmakers.

Posted by: obeeone | June 14, 2010 11:37 AM | Report abuse

Wikipedia, on ASSUALT:

Assault is a crime of violence against another person. In some jurisdictions, including Australia and New Zealand, assault refers to an act that causes another to apprehend immediate and personal violence, while in other jurisdictions, such as the United States, assault may refer only to the threat of violence caused by an immediate show of force.[1][2]

Assault is often defined to include not only violence, but any intentional physical contact with another person without their consent.[citation needed] In common law jurisdictions, including England and Wales and the United States, battery is the crime that represents the unlawful physical contact, though this distinction does not exist in all jurisdictions. Exceptions exist to cover unsolicited physical contact which amount to normal social behavior known as de minimis harm.

In most jurisdictions, the intention to cause grievous bodily harm (or its equivalent) may amount to the mental requirement to prefer a charge of murder in circumstances where the harm inflicted upon the victim proves fatal.[3]

At common law criminal assault was an attempted battery. The elements of battery are (1) a volitional act[4] (2) done for the purpose of causing an harmful or offensive contact with another person or under circumstances that make such contact substantially certain to occur and (3) which causes such contact.[5] Thus throwing a rock at someone for the purpose of hitting him is a battery if the rock in fact strikes the person and is an assault if the rock misses. The fact that the person may have been unaware that the rock had been thrown at him is irrelevant under this definition of assault. Some jurisdictions have incorporated the definition of civil assault into the definition of the crime making it a criminal assault to intentionally place another person in "fear" of a harmful or offensive contact. "Fear" means merely apprehension - awareness rather than any emotional state.

Posted by: jonnyroy | June 14, 2010 11:38 AM | Report abuse

Wow! This is going to get ugly by November...there may be hand to hand combat by November 2012. These Lib/Dem's don't like to answer those hard questions like, "Do you fully support the Obama agenda?".
Macaca? Naw.

Posted by: d1carter | June 14, 2010 11:51 AM | Report abuse

"Jostles," "hug," Conservatives have learned "that any video of a member acting strangely, no matter how grainy, is grist for the Web."
Sorry, this was not a jostle, a hug or a mere grainy strange video. It is clearly assault and battery and deserves coverage, not excuses.

Posted by: macombbob | June 14, 2010 11:51 AM | Report abuse

Oh, How dare a citizen talk to a royal member of congress in a public street! Typical thug Democratic congressman assaulting citizens who don't kowtow to them. 'Who are you?' to be addressing him. Sickening.
And of course we notice the two separate rules, he is allowed to basically hold someone against their will and then assault him in the neck, while the lowly public can't even ask a straight forward question. Personally, I think the students should press charges.

Posted by: jamesd1234 | June 14, 2010 11:54 AM | Report abuse


I do not think that word means what you think it means.

Posted by: piraticalbob | June 14, 2010 11:55 AM | Report abuse

Typical right-wing setup, echoed by the ditto-heads who are responding to this story and trying to keep it alive. If the "college kids" had said who they were and why they were recording, the congressman might have kept his cool. We all have bad days.

I don't see any assault at all. They shove a mike/camera in his face, ask him reporter-like questions, and refuse to identify themselves or show any credentials. He holds onto a wrist, and then shifts his arm around the man, by way of briefly holding his neck. I thought that was an adroit move, for an older man who doesn't know if these over-dressed "students" are harmless or about to throw battery acid.

The titles identifying the rep by name and district give it away: this is a dirty trick, straight from the RNCC, which must be worried about its chances in the Nov election. PS. Unlike the previous commenters, I do NOT work for any political lobby.

Posted by: ripvan80 | June 14, 2010 11:55 AM | Report abuse

Congressman Etheridge didn't "jostle with" the student. That suggests that the contact was mutual and that it was trivial. In fact, the student didn't do anything other than ask Etheridge a question. The physical contact was all by Etheridge, who knocked a camera out of one student's hand and grabbed the student's wrist, held it tightly and refused to let go, then roughly grabbed the student's neck. Meanwhile the Congressman was claiming a right to know the students' identities; he had no such right. The Post deserves commendation for mentioning this incident in its blogs (at the New York Times, it's under the Cone of Silence), but the attempt both by Weigel and this blog to minimize and dismiss what happened is contemptible. What Etheridge did was criminal assault and battery. That's outrageous behavior and should be treated as such.

Posted by: Rob_ | June 14, 2010 12:11 PM | Report abuse

Way to go Washington Post & Mr. Weigel. If you lean any farther to the left, you are going fall over.

Bob Etheridge is as dirty and as crooked as they come. He's right up there with Rod Blagojevich and Tom DeLay...he's just uncaught. Now, he's assaulting people. Dirty politicians, whether Democrat or Republican, don't like be questioned on anything, especially ethics.

You can spin this all you want to, Mr. Weigel. Rep. Etheridge should be charged with assault and I hope the students press charges.

Posted by: msgtswife | June 14, 2010 12:14 PM | Report abuse





Posted by: yourmomscalling | June 14, 2010 12:16 PM | Report abuse

Don't you folks know that thugocratic tactics are justified by all members of the elitist class? How dare this member of the peasantry ask such foolish questions about the leader he worships and adores?

Posted by: DL13 | June 14, 2010 12:31 PM | Report abuse

I would've been tempted to pop the Congressman in the 'nads, but he may not have any. Bringing charges always works, though.

Posted by: AstuteReader | June 14, 2010 12:32 PM | Report abuse

Hmmm - Kind of what it must have been like to be a Nazi. Demanding people on the street identify themselves to the powers that be.

Ignorant DumboCRAP Libturds - your friends in Washington (as long as you're goose stepping to their message).

Posted by: Bcamp55 | June 14, 2010 12:37 PM | Report abuse

LMAO, Rep. Bob was Drunk or buzzed, just look at his eyes, The agenda of the little "Student" wussie, that allows someone to Manhandle him, I thought he was going to cry, How about defending yourself from assault on an urban street! The Drunken Rep would have fallen like a house of cards with one well placed kick to the knee! Laughable, The "Students" remind me of "O Rilely's gang of thugs he sends out to harrass the Dems! But with that said, Remember what you learned in Kindergarden next Time Rep.Bobby Etheridge, "Keep your hands to yourself" Is he Mellisa Etherdge's Dad? LMAO!

Posted by: RaferJanders | June 14, 2010 12:38 PM | Report abuse

Only 53 links in Google News? If this was a republican there would be 3,000 with Pelosi, Reid and Obama grandstanding demanding resignation.

What a sad joke the msm has become and the more they try to push their bias the more people realize it.

Posted by: Cryos | June 14, 2010 12:49 PM | Report abuse

Just another example of how Democrat Politicians work to preserve your rights!

When will the average Democrat, (the real people, who do not hold positions of power} realize that the Democrat Office holders are anything but Democratic?

All the top Democrat political hacks care about is gaining/retaining power, not the Constitution or our rights as Americans.

Posted by: BudMiller | June 14, 2010 12:50 PM | Report abuse

Nobody wants to be associated with the Obama agenda because it's a dirty piece of slime.

Posted by: farmsnorton | June 14, 2010 12:52 PM | Report abuse

I'm female and have never been physical but if someone grabbed me by the wrist and the neck, I wouldn't have waited for the 'hug'. I would have fought back to get him to let go.


Posted by: Geepers1 | June 14, 2010 1:05 PM | Report abuse

Renee Ellmers, a solid, responsible, non-violent, true conservative, is the candidate running against the violent, savage, brutal eltheridge. Go to her web site and contribute. We must take back our country from these out-of-control d-crat socialist extremists.

Posted by: TeaPartyPatriot | June 14, 2010 2:24 PM | Report abuse

He only apologized because he got caught on camera. His behavior is absolutely unacceptable, especially for a Public Servant. He has become a disgrace to the Democratic Party, and should resign immediately.

Posted by: thomasmc1957 | June 15, 2010 12:25 PM | Report abuse

Most Americans and Europeans Support Impending Attack on Iran
The death merchants have burrowed deep inside the corporate media — the Carlyle Group at the New York Times (the “liberal” newspaper instrumental in propagating neocon murder disinfo prior the invasion of Iraq), Bechtel at NBC (owned by mega-death merchant General Electric), Boeing and Halliburton at ABC, and Lockheed-Martin at Gannett.
Both Fox News and CNN enthusiastically cheered the invasion of Iraq. CNN not only sought advice from the Pentagon on new hires during the invasion, but during a previous invasion the Pentagon ran the show at the news network.

Corporate Media Does It’s Best To Keep You Uninformed
The mainstream media is running a 24 hour news cycle focusing purely on the BP oil spill, a disaster, as we have shown, that is being intentionally hyped in order to sell cap and trade legislation and moves to nationalize big business.
In the wake of this, big important news stories are being overlooked. Here are just some of the stories, in no particular order, that you should be hearing on the nightly news, but of course, are not.
1. Israeli nuclear submarines positioned close to Iran:
2. Iran war propaganda:
3. The continuing economic slide:
4. FCC ready to restrict the Internet:
5. Obama/Blagojevich story
6. UN small arms treaty
7. Mexicans riot in LA/Land given over to Mexico
8. Obama Plans To Sneak Through Carbon Tax By Stealth
9. Afghanistan Mineral Riches Story Is War Propaganda
10. Free Speech Gag Bill Moving in House

Posted by: PaulRevere4 | June 19, 2010 4:08 PM | Report abuse

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