Maybe I’ve got this all wrong. Perhaps assault is the new “Hope and Change.” For the second time in a week, a Democratic campaign for Congress has to answer for an assault on a videographer, although this time the candidate had the good sense to outsource it to his staff, unlike Rep. Bob Etheridge of North Carolina’s 2nd CD. Two staffers of Illinois Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias, who is running for Barack Obama’s old seat in the US Senate, get testy when a videographer got oh-so-compelling shots of an open-air cocktail party and fundraiser in Washington DC, and took it upon themselves to physically remove him themselves (via Instapundit):
More rough tactics were on display last night in Washington DC as a hotheaded campaign worker for the Alexi Giannoulias campaign for Senator of Illinois confronted a man with a video camera at a fundraising event.
The event took place on the rooftop of an apartment building in Washington DC which is a public space for residents of the building and their guests. The unidentified camera man has stated that he was, in fact, the guest of a friend of his who lives in the building. Even if one stipulates that the campaign had the right to the section of the roof that was set aside for the event, the way in which the situation was handled certainly calls into question the judgement and temperment of the people candidate Giannoulias surrounds himself with.
Actually, Big Government’s Larry O’Connor undersells it a bit here. Regardless of whether the area in dispute was “private” or not, Giannoulias’ staff had no right to lay their hands on the videographer — period. They should have called building management or the police. According to the conversation in the clip, the building had a security guard who would have known how to handle this dispute and enforce the limits of the rental for the fundraising event.
Frankly, just as with the Etheridge altercation, it’s a little difficult to see why the assault took place anyway. Ever since a campaign oppo researcher caught the “macaca” moment in the George Allen campaign, every political event has an oppo videographer somewhere on the fringe. I’ve seen them at Tea Parties; whenever we interview candidates on our Minnesota State Fair appearances, there will be a video camera. The Giannoulias campaign managed to turn an otherwise dull two hours of people standing around drinking into a one-minute video that will go viral and paint Giannoulias as a thug — which, given the Mob connections to his bank and his lending decisions, is hardly an image he needs to bolster.
The NRSC has started warning its own candidates to be careful when approaching videographers, as O’Connor notes. The DSCC should consider doing the same.