Dem congressman in hot water over altercation with video bloggers UPDATE: Etheridge apologizes 

Rep. Bob Etheridge, D-N.C., will soon have to explain his behavior during an incident last week on a Washington D.C. street corner, when he seemed to attack a young man with a camera who asked him, “do you fully support the Obama agenda?”

The explosive video was posted Monday by Andrew Breibart, who runs his own news site and was responsible for bringing attention to the undercover video sting operation involving ACORN staffers that eventually led to the organization’s demise.
The men in the Etheridge video approach the lawmaker as he is leaving a fundraiser put on by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif. They tell him they are students working on a project.

Etheridge 68, repeatedly asks the man with the camera, “who are you,” and then seems to knock the camera out of his hand, before grabbing his arm and then his neck, in an effort to get an answer and get control of the microphone.
The man repeatedly asks Etheridge, “please let go of my arm.”


It’s a pretty startling video and it looks terrible for Etheridge, who is serving his seventh term and was likely to win an eight in the fall, though he has an opponent.

Etheridge has not yet issued a statement, but Republicans are naturally chiming in on the incident and are emailing the video all over the place.

National Republican Congressional Committee spokesman Jon Thompson had this to say:

“Bob Etheridge has lost it. His conduct is unbecoming of a member of Congress. It’s bad enough that he’s joined Obama’s assault on North Carolina jobs, but his physical assault on a college student goes beyond the pale. ”

Etheridge, hails from a district with a Republican streak and is thus a moderate, though he’s not a member of the fiscally conservative Democratic Blue Dog Coalition and voted for the stimulus package and health care reform bill.

He’s been a businessman and tobacco farmer and said he currently teaches Sunday school at his church in North Carolina’s second congressional district.

According to Etheridge’s web site, he received the Silver Beaver Award, which is the highest district award a Scout leader can receive, “for his diligent and decades-long work for the Boy Scouts.”

UPDATE

Rep. Bob Etheridge has issued the following statement on his altercation with a group of video bloggers:

“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.”

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Susan Ferrechio

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