Unbelievable talking points from Democrats on Etheridge attack

This is totally rich. The Democrats are saying this is all a nefarious Republican plot to sting Rep. Bob Etheridge (D-N.C.). It’s not legitimate … gotcha politics … inciting a reaction … partisan hit-job … attack anything Breitbart does.

This is crazy! (Check out how Etheridge believes young adults should get more involved with politics – via Hot Air.)

Here are the DNC talking points clearly questioning the motives of the student who dared to ask one simple question of the congress-critter. The hat tip goes to Ben Smith at Politico.

A national Democratic Party official e-mailed around a set of talking points about an hour ago, under the subject heading, “Etheridge Gotcha Video Background.

  1. There is always the part of the story that you can’t see in these gotcha style videos — what were these folks doing, how did they approach him, how were the cameraman and/or others off camera acting?
  2. Why would any legitimate student doing a project or a journalist shagging a story not identify themselves. Motives matter — what was the motivation here? To incite this very type of reaction?
  3. This is clearly the work of the Republican Party and the “interviewer” is clearly a low level staffer or intern. That’s what explains blurring the face of the “interviewer” and refusing to identify the entity this was done for. The Republicans know if they were caught engaging in this type of gotcha tactic it would undermine their own credibility — yet if it was an individual acting on his own there is no reason that person would have blurred themselves out of the video — and if it was the work of a right wing blog they would have their logo on the video and be shouting their involvement from the roof top.
  4. This was a purposefully partisan hit job designed to incite a reaction for political reasons — but it is a tactic so low — the parties involved are remaining anonymous.
  5. The fact that no one wants to take credit for this should raise real questions in the minds of voters and the press.
  6. Push hard w/ blogs the lack of credibility inherent to anything Breitbart does/posts, given its role in the debunked ACORN videos: [here and here]

Etheridge needs to go home right now, today.

This story will not go away, and the DNC – if the talking points released are real – just made another political blunder. As a reminder, Etheridge already has apologized – sort of.

So which is it? A nefarious plot by the GOP to use young college Republicans who were may have been paid cash by Andrew Breitbart to sting Etheridge, or is Etheridge just another Democrat who was having a bad day and totally lost control?

Can’t be both.

Exit Question: If this was a female student and Etheridge grabbed the teen or 20-something girl like this, what would the reaction be?


[poll id=”257″]

Update: Oh my. David Weigel at The Washington Posts suggests it was a hug. Is he kidding? It looked like Etheridge was about to headbutt him when he grabbed the back of the kids neck!

Posted in

Steve McGough

Steve's a part-time conservative blogger. Steve grew up in Connecticut and has lived in Washington, D.C. and the Bahamas. He resides in Connecticut, where he’s comfortable six months of the year.


  1. fuller on June 14, 2010 at 10:48 am

    That is somethin'. It doesn't matter who the kids are. His behavior was inexcusable, end of story.

  2. Dimsdale on June 14, 2010 at 12:49 pm

    I have little trouble believing that these are Democrat talking points.  Things that would make a Republican resign in shame are usually considered resume enhancement for Democrats.


    Forget if the interviewer was a girl – imagine if the "representative" were a Catholic priest!

  3. Anne-EH on June 14, 2010 at 2:11 pm

    Well Steve, had this been a female reporter, be it a teen or twenty-something, there would have been calls for his arrest right on the spot. But even so, this young man should press charges and I would not be suprised if he does.

  4. DuffTerrall on June 14, 2010 at 3:37 pm

    Based on the insistence that this was an intentional attempt to draw a response that would make the congressman look bad and the implications of foreknowledge of what sort of response would be received are we to assume then that this can safely be considered the expected reaction to a question regarding policy viewpoint from a Democratic congressman?

  5. PatRiot on June 14, 2010 at 5:24 pm

    1.  Go to the Huffington Post and see the spin over there.  OMG

    2.  Bet you a cup of coffee the student hid his face for his own protection and I don't blame him.

    Not that authorities haven't figured it out and come a knocking.

    3.  I cannot deny that I am curious of the students party affiliation. 

  6. GdavidH on June 14, 2010 at 6:02 pm

    This probably won't be the last incident. The loyal lib soldiers are struggling to toe the party line and follow the leadership's crappy orders. Breitbart is 100% spot on about the progressives taking the party away from the Dems. My guess is Etheridge does not want  to answer that question at all to anyone.

  7. chris-os on June 15, 2010 at 2:25 am

    This is crazy-the only think nuttier is the poll "should Etheridge resign from congress?". Some kid (with no press credentials) got right in his face with a cheap flipcam.

    There was no assault, Etheridge grabbed his arm-he did not punch, kick or knock him down-that would be assault. Honestly, my reaction would be a good shove.

    This is worth all this right wing media attention-no other "news" to concentrate on?

    The level of political discourse in this country has sunk to a new low.

    Wait, I find myself saying that almost daily….


    • Steve McGough on June 15, 2010 at 3:25 am

      Although I am not an expert, I know that your (chris-os) definition of assault is incorrect. Punching, kicking or knocking someone down is not just assault, it's assault and battery, and damn close to aggravated assault. You can assault someone without even touching them. What Etheridge did seems to fit the definition of assault in my opinion. Once he touched him, he's damn close to assault and battery.

      I'm going to say this clearly. If this guy was a Republican, I would be demanding his resignation immediately and encourage the DC police to investigate to determine if a crime has been committed – as I think there has been.

      This is not about politics, this is about the angry representative who needs a wake-up call.

    • Steve McGough on June 15, 2010 at 3:56 am

      And as a reminder, the political discourse in the country has been contentious for decades … probably since the beginning of our great country. That's what politics ispartisan.

      Back in 2006, Frank Ross at Big Journalism reminds us

      "During the 2006 campaign, the Washington Post effectively torpedoed Sen. George Allen’s re-election campaign by making a federal case — more than a dozen front-page stories — out of Allen’s calling a Democrat video stalker “<strong class="highlighted0">macaca,” whatever that meant. As you can see from the clip above [follow link], Allen made an off-hand reference, using a nonsense word, and the left went batty trying to divine the hidden racism implicit in Allen’s goofy remark. Allen paid for his media-manufactured “<strong class="highlighted0">macaca” tempest with his Senate seat."

    • Dimsdale on June 15, 2010 at 7:08 am

      "This is worth all this right wing media attention-no other “news” to concentrate on?"


      Now note what you didn't say: there has been virtually no coverage in the mainstream media.  I know, because I have to watch it (no cable).  Maybe the "right wing media" should go cover the human tragedy of Charlie Sheen tossing another expensive Mercedes over a cliff like the left.  Or maybe the Lindsay Lohan trainwreck of a life?  How does the constant coverage of the deathbed pictures of Gary Coleman sound?  All of these were covered in more detail than the Etheridge assault (I would say "alleged", but I saw the complete video, and I don't have to).


      Shame on you, right wing media!!  LOLOL!

    • Dimsdale on June 15, 2010 at 8:45 am

      Come to think of it, I would have been reasonably happy if the lefty press covered this assault with the same level of fervor (or at least interest) as Carly Fiorino's commentary about Barbara Boxer's hair!


      I think there is a pattern developing here……;-)

    • Dimsdale on June 15, 2010 at 7:10 am

      "The level of political discourse in this country has sunk to a new low.

      Wait, I find myself saying that almost daily…."


      Especially since "hope and change" kicked in.  Or even the "most ethical Congress" began to do its fine work in 2006.

  8. chris-os on June 15, 2010 at 4:15 am

    You can indeed assault someone without touching them. I would call the police if I was walking down the street and someone shoved a cheap flipcam in my face-well, that would be the right thing to do. As I said , though, my first instinct would be to shove the guy away.

    Please correct me if I am wrong, Steve.

    Gov. Stanford, disappearing from his duties -shutting cell phone off when he went to see his mistress in Argentina-you called for his resignation?

    How about Sen. Ensign, paying his mistress  her husband and son with public funds-you called for his resignation?

    Maybe it's me, but these examples (only ones I can think of now) seem far more egregious than grabbing a thug (with no press credentials) who accosts you in the street by the arm.

    • Steve McGough on June 15, 2010 at 4:29 am

      You may have shoved the guy away, but that's NOT WHAT HE DID. Etheridge, took his phone, grabbed him and would not let go, then he grabbed him behind the neck and looked like he was going to headbutt the kid! Etheridge could have simply kept walking.

      He was not a thug accosting someone in the street. If I was a representative walking in DC who was known, I'd expect questions from the public. I don't accept your premise the students accosted Etheridge, that's not what I saw at all.

      Sanford? Not sure if I said it publicly, but absolutely I think he should have resigned, as did many prominent conservative bloggers. I'm not too familiar with Ensign's incident you mentioned, but I do remember a bit about Ted Stevens (R-Alaska) and I thought he should be toast too.

      Did Ensign break the law? Actually, Sanford did not break the law that I know of … unless disappearing from public view is against the law in N.C.

      I think the Ensign thing – if your brief overview is correct – is another symptom of the disease. And again, this is nothing new … has been going on in politics for years.

    • Steve McGough on June 15, 2010 at 4:35 am

      By the way, can you find any examples where a Republican in Congress assaulted someone and it was caught on video like this or there were witnesses? If so, let's demand they resign and be charged as appropriate.

      But you could not mention a similar case, so you bring up other cases (Ensign and Sanford) who may well need to go in your opinion, but they assaulted no one that I know of.

    • Dimsdale on June 15, 2010 at 6:01 am

      I remember Mark Foley, who had to resign for sending suggestive emails to congressional pages.  I also remember one Gary Studds, who actually had sex with male congressional pages, and was welcomed back to Congress with a standing ovation (from his own party only, of course).  Need I point out the party affiliations?

  9. skibikekayak on June 15, 2010 at 5:49 am

    It is curious that we do not know who the students are and that they have not come forward to press charges. How is that for fair and balanced from a conservative Republican.

    • Steve McGough on June 15, 2010 at 5:57 am

      Damned if they do, damned if they don't. Have you seen how some citizens are attacked these days? If they came forward and went to CNN or Fox News looking to be interviewed, they would be showboats looking for their 15 minutes of fame.

      Maybe they got just a bit more than they bargained for and want to be left alone? Then again, maybe an investigation is going on right now and charges will soon be filed (or not)?

      It's always been this way, but if a liberal or conservative steps up to speak, they become a target in every way (remember Joe the Plumber)?

    • Dimsdale on June 15, 2010 at 7:00 am

      Maybe the brave congress"man" scared them witless.  Consider the thought of being accosted by union thugs (with police escort).  To date, despite all the projection and all the slanted reporting (or lack thereof), all the violence and thuggery (and litter) has come from the lefties.

  10. BEA on June 15, 2010 at 6:56 am

    Does it really matter who these kids are?  Does it really matter if they were involved in a set up, a sting, a project, whatever?  It's his job…the people pay his salary.  People have questions…we want answers.

    If he was having a long day why didn't he just say "I'm sorry guys, no comment.", or how about "Oh, I'd love to talk with you about why I support the Obama agenda but right now is not a good time.  Stop by my office tomorrow and we can talk over a cup of coffee.", or even "……" (silence, keeps on walking.)

  11. rickyrock on June 29, 2010 at 9:02 am

    What despicable behavior …our elected officials should be held to a higher standard than the electorate.This idiot should apologize and then resign …Wrong is wrong no matter what your political beliefs are.


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