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Rep. Bob Etheridge's Capitol offense

Could it have been the heat? Or maybe it's the highly charged atmosphere of hyperpartisan Washington that caused Rep. Bob Etheridge (D-N.C.) to go off? It doesn't really matter what prompted it. By grabbing the arm of someone who said he was a student working on a project and then grabbing him by the neck after not being told where he went to school, Etheridge displayed thuggish behavior that must never be condoned. Not when it's done by rowdy Tea Partyers outside the Capitol, and certainly not by people who are elected to serve there.

Etheridge's apology came quickly and without the lame "if anyone was offended" line. I applaud him for it.

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.

Now, David Weigel asks a good question: So, who were the young men hassled by Bob Etheridge? And he raises the specter that many other members of Congress might face similar two-person FlipCam crews. If that's the case, let the Etheridge video serve as a warning of what not to do for everyone else.

By Jonathan Capehart  | June 14, 2010; 3:50 PM ET
Categories:  Capehart  | Tags:  Jonathan Capehart  
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Comments

From this video this is a clear cut case of assault. I wonder if the authorities will have the courage to arrest and charge this congressmen. If they do not, it will show that there is one rule for the elites and one rule for the rest of us. Personally, I believe that this congressmen will get away with it. Enough said.

Posted by: jeffreed | June 14, 2010 4:21 PM | Report abuse

Jonathon

Nice job on inclusion of the Tea Party members into an article that was focused on Rep Etheridge (D-NC).

Did you learn this practice from the DNC???

Posted by: jhpbriton | June 14, 2010 4:22 PM | Report abuse

His apology lacks any substance. It looks to me like Etheridge is sorry he got caught more than anything. What is Etheridge going to do to make restitution to these students? How about granting a full interview? Perhaps the students don't want an interview. How about turning himself in at the local police station? That might show some real remorse. Oh I know. He could just withdraw from the race. He does not have a chance to win anymore anyway. That would be an act of public service by allowing someone else to run in his place.

Posted by: RonInIrvine | June 14, 2010 4:29 PM | Report abuse

Frankly, altho the Congressman would have been well advised to keep his hands to himself, those kids should have identified themselves. It shows real cowardice on their parts.

Posted by: cinderonbroadway | June 14, 2010 4:31 PM | Report abuse

Send ol' Bob an email telling him what you think of his arrogant behavior. http://etheridge.house.gov/Contact/

Since he's a typical Democrat wuss, he restricts emails to only those from his district, but just use the zip code 27577 and you can get through.

Posted by: p3orion | June 14, 2010 4:41 PM | Report abuse

How convenient for Mr. Capehart to use the "rowdy tea partiers" in comparison to what a democrat congreeman did. Give me a break, we can see right through you. Even your last paragraph seems to insinuate that there is a conspiracy to embarrass the left. You obviously have an agenda and this event was very inconvenient for you, so you seek to cover it up with such nonsense.

Posted by: PeterDylan | June 14, 2010 4:50 PM | Report abuse

It looks like the republican thugs are at work again.

Posted by: ajvinson61 | June 14, 2010 4:52 PM | Report abuse

He should be EJECTED from the senate IMMEDIATELY if not sooner !!!!for his CRIMINAL ACTS

Posted by: yourmomscalling | June 14, 2010 4:54 PM | Report abuse

I watched this confrontation.....this is NOT a person that any decent American would want sitting in their district's seat in the House of Representatives. I hope his electorate gets rid of this creep........ he hasn't the human decency to just say, "I'm sorry, I have no comment for you unless you identify yourselves and tell me for whom your project is being done."

A small amount of common courtesy goes a long way. The Congressman's behavior was assault to say the least and totally boorish.

Posted by: OregonStorm | June 14, 2010 4:56 PM | Report abuse

I watched this confrontation.....this is NOT a person that any decent American would want sitting in their district's seat in the House of Representatives. I hope his electorate gets rid of this creep........ he hasn't the human decency to just say, "I'm sorry, I have no comment for you unless you identify yourselves and tell me for whom your project is being done."

A small amount of common courtesy goes a long way. The Congressman's behavior was assault to say the least and totally boorish.

Posted by: OregonStorm | June 14, 2010 4:57 PM | Report abuse

It looks like the republican thugs are at work again.

Posted by: ajvinson61 | June 14, 2010 4:52 PM

=======================================

Eldridge is a Republican? Who would've thunk it?

Posted by: bbface21 | June 14, 2010 5:08 PM | Report abuse

cinderonbroadway, why should someone have to give their name for carrying out a legal activity. If I asked you for your name, would you give it to me? If you chose to fine, but I wouldn't demand it of you.

I'm not sure whether a complaint has to be made for a criminal investigation to be made, but Bob clearly should be treated the same as everyone else. I'm sure that if he'd been Joe Average the cops would have already been to see him.

Posted by: Cueball2008 | June 14, 2010 5:22 PM | Report abuse

As someone else commented, he chose to slip in a reference to the tea party as if they are a normal source of this kind of behavior. This man should have been arrested for assault and if it would have been a Republican this reporter would probably have demanded it. Yes, they should have said who they were but this does not give a right to assult them, just ignore them.

Posted by: pnnton | June 14, 2010 5:28 PM | Report abuse

The real interesting thing will be to see how tonight's national broadcast news shows treat the attack by a Congressman on two young men. If NBC, ABC, and CBS don't show it and identify Congressman Idiot as a Democrat, they will prove what we already know, that they have taken sides with the Democrats. Remember when George Allen made an off-the-cuff comment about "Macacca"? The networks showed it over and over again. I'll bet this video showing a Democrat doofus in all his glory may be shown once - if at all- by the networks.

Posted by: ClintJohnson | June 14, 2010 5:30 PM | Report abuse

I'm not excusing the Congressman's actions, but if I were the "student," I believe I would have gone ahead and told him my name/school the first or second time he asked.

Posted by: lizgwiz | June 14, 2010 5:31 PM | Report abuse

"Not when it's done by rowdy Tea Partiers outside the Capitol, and certainly not by people who are elected to serve there."

This quote is typical of the servile, scheming, left-boosting mainstream media. When one of their own is caught committing a crime on video, they roll out misdirection and false accusations IN THE SAME FREAKING STORY.

The message is clear - the media/government mafia will protect itself 100%. We have Mussolini's Italy recreated here in the America of 2010.

Posted by: tweedburst | June 14, 2010 5:38 PM | Report abuse

First, Etheridge did not commit Assault, it was Battery, and it is a crime. Depending on the age of the student it may be a felony. Etheridge was being filmed and still acted without regard for his career or the victims rights. Etheridge is either so absorbed in whatever he wants, or he is just plain stupid. What the public needs to understand is this behavior is a big tell about how a person conducts his business. Etheridge in reality did not act any different that the way out present congress treats the public and how they impose their policies on them. What we saw was only a manifestation of what he really is. He is a bully and a coward combined. Perhaps Etheridge would not have been so intimidated by a camera, if he really had an answer to the question the kid asked him in the first place. I think the State Attorney should file battery charges against Etheridge, but he is probably a Dem too.

Posted by: zbail | June 14, 2010 5:51 PM | Report abuse

"Etheridge displayed thuggish behavior that must never be condoned. Not when it's done by rowdy Tea Partiers outside the Capitol... "

Hey, awesome non sequitur bonus points for trying to spread the thuggery around! Soon as we see some thuggish behavior on the part of Tea Partiers, we'll be sure to avoid condoning it. In the meantime, maybe you can find a real world example to use instead.

Posted by: miracleair | June 14, 2010 5:54 PM | Report abuse

"Etheridge displayed thuggish behavior that must never be condoned. Not when it's done by rowdy Tea Partiers outside the Capitol... "

Hey, awesome non sequitur and bonus points for trying to spread the thuggery around! Soon as we see some thuggish behavior on the part of Tea Partiers, we'll be sure to avoid condoning it. In the meantime, maybe you can find a real world example to use instead.

Posted by: miracleair | June 14, 2010 5:54 PM | Report abuse

""Etheridge displayed thuggish behavior that must never be condoned. Not when it's done by rowdy Tea Partiers outside the Capitol"""

yes, those rowdy assault and battery conservative types. or is that conservative types that have assault and battery performed on them by the liberal brainwashed hate filled people just like this article's author.

Why is Jonathan Capehart even a journalist or is he one? He clearly shows no logic or understanding of issues other than what he is told to think. sigh

Posted by: oceanback78 | June 14, 2010 5:59 PM | Report abuse

Did i miss something? Was this student a Tea Partier? Did some Tea Partiers later show up at the Capitol grabbing congressmen buy the arm and neck? Oh wait, my fault, just another "journalist" with a partisaned agenda. So carry-on, tow the company line, even though I dont recall there being any valid reports of "rowdy, thuggish tea partiers" I sure you can make some up, oops I maent "report on" some. I wonder why newspaper readership is dying?

Posted by: LAMLAM1 | June 14, 2010 6:19 PM | Report abuse

I think after having too many drinks at pelosi's fund raiser...that Bob Etheridge (D-N.C.) wanted to come out of the barney franks closet and wanted a young college stud to rear end him like a pinto...but he wanted to know his name to make it more personal....hahahahaha!

Posted by: JWx2 | June 14, 2010 6:23 PM | Report abuse

Etheridge did well.

It would have been better if he pulled out a taser and zapped the little Teabagger maggots into convulsions, but punking them like that is almost as amusing.

Awesome. :)

Posted by: captainkona | June 14, 2010 6:48 PM | Report abuse

Capehart brings up the Tea Partiers and Weigel, also of the Washington Post, compares what Etheridge did to a hug. What a rag.

Posted by: thebink | June 14, 2010 6:50 PM | Report abuse

All you teatards are free to try the Washington Times boards.

Posted by: koolkat_1960 | June 14, 2010 7:02 PM | Report abuse

If he had grabbed my arm, I would have hauled off and knocked the stuffings out of the arrogant pr**k. (But only if the cameras were rolling so that he could not perjure himself by saying he was attacked!)

What Demoratic arrogance. At least Cheney used a shotgun...and claimed it was accidental!

Posted by: MoonDoggie | June 14, 2010 7:18 PM | Report abuse

At least the Tea Party does not grab and choke their opposition. We leave that to the Looney Left Socialists and their mentor, Barak Hussein Obama.

Posted by: MoonDoggie | June 14, 2010 7:20 PM | Report abuse

(Frankly, altho the Congressman would have been well advised to keep his hands to himself, those kids should have identified themselves - cinderonbroadway)

who are they? I'll tell you who, they are AMERICANS ! ! ! his boss ! ! ! that's all he needs to know - if anyone else treated his boss that way he'd be in the unemployment line before the end of the day - why isn't he ? !

(It looks like the republican thugs are at work again)

funny I saw a "D" next to the thugs name !

(Why is Jonathan Capehart even a journalist or is he one?)

he's NOT a "journalist" - a "journalist" tells the FACTS - while I believe in free speech - if you prove yourself a lying propagandist who makes up whatever lie you want, to make your point (like a certain fatso named Moore) then your NOT a journalist but a propagandist - in this case (as usual) a SOCIALIST propagandist - just like Joseph Goebbels & no one should believe another word he says, EVER ! - commie traders

Posted by: RWFinFW | June 14, 2010 7:25 PM | Report abuse

Why was this Congressman not arrested? To the DC cops the charge is battery / physical assault. Oh wait, public violence is the democrat way.

Posted by: JohnSalmeier | June 14, 2010 7:31 PM | Report abuse

Why is this congressman not in JAIL!

He assaulted a CHILD....a "kid"......

This Joker supported The Patriot Act (which allows filming people like this---these kids were in a PUBLIC street...who does this guy think he is?!?!

He should RESIGN immediately....He's obviously mentally disturbed....

Posted by: EndOfTheWorldasWeKnowIt | June 14, 2010 7:45 PM | Report abuse

I wonder if Congressman Etheridge derides Arizona lawmakers for wanting Arizona law enforcment from wanting to "know who" the people in that state are?

Posted by: onehanded | June 14, 2010 8:03 PM | Report abuse


Love that "What Etheridge did was inexcusable. I unequivocally condemn it. But...."

Posted by: WylieD | June 14, 2010 8:27 PM | Report abuse

Assault and battery. Open and shut case. That is, if the law applies to congressmen as it applies to the rest of us. The DC police should file charges right away. The fact that he apologised only confirms the fact that the assault took place.

Posted by: alzach01 | June 14, 2010 9:09 PM | Report abuse

One little thing intrigues me though: why is the face of the 'student' obscured?

Posted by: alzach01 | June 14, 2010 9:21 PM | Report abuse

I just saw your video and can't belive we have such people in office. This is what's wrong with our country. These poor kids from school just trying to do an assignment shouldn't have been treated like that at all!! I do hope they file assault charges against you! Do us all a favor and just leave office before people finally wake up and impeach you!! As they should!! Oh, nice way to represent North Carolina, I'm sure locals are very proud of you!!

Posted by: bansheeboy1 | June 14, 2010 9:45 PM | Report abuse

It doesn't matter what the question, or by whom, anyone who grabs and restrains another individual is guilty of assult. Deplorably, a Congressman should know better, and be held to the same standard, or higher, than any citizen. If Rep. Etheridge is not guilty of assult, then neither are those who would push, shove, hold, and restrain you.

Posted by: tonyment | June 14, 2010 9:58 PM | Report abuse

To correct the misinformation presented by Caprehart, tea party participants have demonstrated no such "thuggish" and illegal behavior as this disgraceful representative just exhibited. He should be charged with assault and forced to resign his position.

Just another example of democrats showing where the extreme partisanship, divisiveness and boorish political behavior is coming from.

Posted by: kirnosnorbin | June 14, 2010 10:14 PM | Report abuse

Apology or not, this was a crime. Charges should be filed.

Posted by: opusxxvii | June 14, 2010 10:32 PM | Report abuse

He assaulted the students. It doesn't matter who they were. Arrest him. Jail him. Remove him from OUR CONGRESS.

Now the Democrats will trot out the smear machine. Goons are probably already going through the student's garbage. Officials at their school are being called and being asked for information about their grades, addresses, parent's backgrounds, etc. In a day or two these students will be portrayed in the media as members of Hitler's Youth Corps (that is Core, not Corpse for all you Obamaites). The write of this article already casts the first stone with this "Now, David Weigel asks a good question: So, who were the young men hassled by Bob Etheridge?" My advice to the writer is to check your fax machine in the morning. The DNC will have all the information you want to know about these guys right there in your anxious little hands so you can write it up tomorrow without using Google once yourself.

Posted by: MadJayhawk | June 15, 2010 12:06 AM | Report abuse

REP. BOB ETHERIDGE, {D)NC, DID COMMIT BATTERY UPON A CITIZEN OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, IN PUBLIC, ON THE STREETS OF WASHINGTON, DC, THE CAPITOL OF THE UNITED STATES. This BATTERY upon the US CITIZEN was recorded on video for all the FREE CITIZENS of the UNITED STATES to see.

Let it be stated FOR THE RECORD that REP ETHERIDGE (D)NC, is currently a SITTING CONGRESSMAN who swore to UPHOLD THE CONSTITUTION OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, and to serve the people who sent him there.

Let it also be stated that REP ETHERIDGE, (D)NC, IS A MEMBER OF THE DEMOCRAT PARTY, and is IN NOT IN ANY WAY associated with the TEA PARTY, and neither does said TEA PARTY want or condone the BOORISH, ILLEGAL BEHAVIOUR of this DEMOCRAT CONGRESSMAN.

The good people of North Carolina should be OUTRAGED by the behaviour of this DEMOCRAT CONGRESSMAN, as should the HARD WORKING, LAW ABIDING, FREEDOM LOVING AMERICAN CITIZENS ALL OVER THIS LAND OF OURS.

Perhaps REP ETHERIDGE (D)NC needs to be reminded that HE WORKS FOR US, "WE THE PEOPLE", and that an AMERICAN CITIZEN does not have to give their name to him, just because he's a congressman.

"WE THE PEOPLE" ARE WATCHING, AND WE WILL NEITHER TOLERATE OR ALLOW OURSELVES TO BE SUBJECT TO SUCH BEHAVIOUR AS WAS DISPLAYED BY REP ETHERIDGE (D)NC.

REP ETHERIDGE SHOULD DO THE SAME AS WOULD BE EXPECTED OF A REPUBLICAN, IF THEY COMMITED THE SAME ACT, HE SHOULD IMMEDIATELY RESIGN!!!

BUT, IF REP ETHERIDGE (D)NC CHOOSES NOT TO RESIGN, PERHAPS THE GOOD FREEDOM LOVING CITIZENS OF NORTH CAROLINA WILL SEE FIT TO GIVE HIM HIS WALKING PAPERS THIS NOVEMBER.

Posted by: barrysal | June 15, 2010 2:14 AM | Report abuse

Wow, I guess your theory on Obama (and you!) "angry black men" scare whites is shot to hell now huh?
How about this: people are afraid of people who are out of control.
Oh, and he's not a gun toting member of the tea party so.....guess that theory needs some work too..You might actually have to think each case out on its own now, sorry!

Posted by: dcjayhawk2 | June 15, 2010 6:01 AM | Report abuse

The video was severely edited. In this age of virtual reality, people must learn to be more skeptical about what they see on the internet.

Posted by: lensch | June 15, 2010 7:36 AM | Report abuse

Are you kidding me Jonathon? Can you show me ONE evidence of a teapartier getting violent? ONE? None exist, yet, you will find violent videos of those on the left all the while claiming it's the tea partiers that are the violent ones; give me a break! Your rhetoric, hypocrisy and irony is almost laughable, if it wasn't so deplorable of the media.
In addition, no, the next question is NOT who these students are. Who cares! The next question is will this thug of a congressman be charged and how long can we expect him to be in an ankle bracelet.

Posted by: shmedley1 | June 15, 2010 8:05 AM | Report abuse

What a man !! Jacking up kids. I would have knocked his ass out.

Posted by: mitlen | June 15, 2010 8:18 AM | Report abuse

Bob Etheridge should be FIRED!

www.FireEtheridge.com

Posted by: markdotto | June 15, 2010 8:31 AM | Report abuse

Also Jonathon, while you're unable to produce any evidence over violent tea party activists, here are some videos for you of the left whackies:

http://www.thefoxnation.com/search/apachesolr_search?page=1&keys=SEIU%20violent%20protest

The violent ones are who again?

Posted by: shmedley1 | June 15, 2010 8:48 AM | Report abuse

This "student", if he believes he was assaulted, should press charges against Etheridge, who could also press charges as his physical space was violated as well. This won't happen because this "student" won't identify himself lest his ties to Republican party politics are revealed. Better to stay in the shadows and leak a selectively edited video to the internet. This "student" is a Republican plant like those who disrupted town hall meetings during the healthcare debate and those posting comments above bristling with mock outrage. The Republican party has nothing to offer the nation and is attempting to survive by playing dirty tricks to score cheap political points.

Posted by: dnahatch1 | June 15, 2010 9:18 AM | Report abuse

Posted by: dnahatch1 wrote:
This "student", if he believes he was assaulted, should press charges against Etheridge, who could also press charges as his physical space was violated as well.
--------------------
That is utterly hilarious, and not surprising from a left-wing whacko. His space was not violated, nor was he ambushed. The students were on a public side walk. Physical assault does not take place until there is physical contact, which is what was first displayed by the elected representative (Bu-bye Bob). There is no such thing as space invader assault, which, by the way, didn't even take place. Who the students are is of no relevance, as it does not take away from the fact that a crime was committed, and committed by a congressman clearly on drugs or in need of some. Nice straw man though.

Posted by: shmedley1 | June 15, 2010 9:57 AM | Report abuse

Etheridge needs to step down. He is in no shape to handle a high pressure job.

He needs to focus on getting the right treatment for what are obviously very serious personal problems.

As for those who seek to excuse Etheridge's conduct: how would you react if a student or Tea Partier held Etheridge by the wrist or grabbed his neck? My guess is you would want the assailant arrested.

Posted by: VirginiaIndependent | June 15, 2010 10:19 AM | Report abuse

I love how people throw around "thuggish" and "elite". When intellectual thought is absent, a few buzz words and labels will do.

I'm a Dem and I think this man should step down. When in power, both parties make the mistake of not taking their team to task for illegal behavior. Assaulting someone is illegal. I don't care who these kids are. If they were there to cajole him, then he willingly complied. Democratic leadership should ask him to step down right away.

Capehart mentions the Tea Party but doesn't properly put them into context. The idea is not that this situation is analogous to Tea Partiers screaming at townhalls. It certainly is not. The point is that both occurred in one of the nastiest political environments we've seen in decades. Both are evidence that some Americans are not interested in thoughtful debate, discussion, compromise, etc. This Congressman could easily have engaged these students in a discussion and expressed his opinions intelligently. Instead, he resorted to violence. People have called and threatened members of Congress with violence or shouted them down at townhalls meant for everyone's benefit. And to add fuel to the fire, the left and right of the cable dial spend more time digging into their trenches than discussing the complex details of the issues our nation faces. God forbid we discuss complexity and nuance and admit not everything has a clear answer or solution. All of it is symptomatic of cultural and systemic failure and that failure belongs to both left and right and the American public.

Posted by: dcgal2010 | June 15, 2010 10:24 AM | Report abuse

Spare the rod, spoil the child. Another ill bred Young Republican.

Posted by: dhssresearcher | June 15, 2010 10:38 AM | Report abuse

Geez, Capehart - slipping in the Tea Party was sure a desperate move. What did they have to do w/ Ole Bob's behavior? Once again the party that always yells the GOP is not tolerant - is intolerant themselves. And lets not forget many of the environment protests, etc - you remember those - where the rioting occurs, etc...all these tolerant dems are just killing me. Let's face it capehart - the article should have said Ole Bob is a disgrace..nothing more.

Posted by: short1 | June 15, 2010 11:35 AM | Report abuse

Geez, Capehart - slipping in the Tea Party was sure a desperate move. What did they have to do w/ Ole Bob's behavior? Once again the party that always yells the GOP is not tolerant - is intolerant themselves. And lets not forget many of the environment protests, etc - you remember those - where the rioting occurs, etc...all these tolerant dems are just killing me. Let's face it capehart - the article should have said Ole Bob is a disgrace..nothing more. And as far as publishing the names of the students - for what - so thugs like Moveon.org can terrorize them?

Posted by: short1 | June 15, 2010 11:36 AM | Report abuse

"Not when it's done by rowdy Tea Partyers outside the Capitol, and certainly not by people who are elected to serve there."

The big difference of course being that Etheridge did it, while the Tea Partiers only did it in Capehart's fevered imagination.

Posted by: mj13 | June 15, 2010 2:08 PM | Report abuse

It's not assault, it's battery. Assault is a threat of violence, written or verbal, battery is touching someone without their permission; this can even include spitting on someone.

Now that that's out of the way. The congressman should be arrested, if I were the kid I would press charges without hesitation.

Oh, and I'm a democrat.

Posted by: Kludge | June 20, 2010 12:18 AM | Report abuse

Can anyone provide an example where a Tea Partier ever assaulted someone?

Anyone?

Posted by: TheLastBrainLeft | June 21, 2010 12:36 PM | Report abuse

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