If a candidate wants to build some credibility as a Republican candidate for an election in which she faces both a Democrat and a conservative, would calling the police on a reporter from a conservative publication help or hurt that effort? It might help if the call had any justification at all. Unfortunately for Dede Scozzofava, the police all but told the Associated Press that she overreacted to a normal exchange:
Police questioned a reporter from a conservative publication after receiving a call that he harassed a Republican candidate for Congress who refused to answer his questions about her positions on tax and health issues.
Lowville Village Police Chief Eric Fredenburg said officers responded to a call Monday night saying state Assemblywoman Dierdre Scozzafava “felt concern for her safety” during questioning by reporter John McCormack of the Weekly Standard. He wouldn’t say who made the call.
“I don’t believe it ever escalated to anything that would ever be classified as an emergency,” Fredenburg said.
No charges were filed against McCormack.
And the AP hints that Scozzofava may have been dishonest about it from the beginning (emphasis mine):
In a statement released Tuesday to the blog Politico, Scozzafava’s campaign said the reporter “repeatedly screamed questions (in-your-face-style),” but later issued a statement deleting the accusation.
So what did John say that frightened Scozzofava so much? He asked her about her position on Card Check (she supports it), abortion (she supports it), and whether she would vote for a health care bill that raised taxes and covered abortions. No wonder Scozzofava panicked!
Jazz Shaw, who earlier had given Scozzofava a shot in this race, says that should just about finish her:
That’s the kind of “grilling” that results in a call to the police? And this woman plans on moving in to the hot-house environment on the Hill? Congratulations, Democrats. I think you’re in line to grab yet another seat in the House. Yeesh. I still maintain that the local party officials have the right to select and push their own chosen candidate for the primaries, but it’s hard to imagine how they settled on this one.
I know John McCormack, having met him a couple of times at events, and having interviewed him on my show a few times. It’s hard to imagine a calmer, friendlier person in the media than John. He makes Minnesota Nice look like a home playoff game at Yankee Stadium. There may be some reporters who would get in the face of a candidate in the way Dede Scozzofava imagined this week, but not John McCormack. What an embarrassment, especially for those national Republicans who went out of their way to endorse Scozzofava like Newt Gingrich.
Hopefully, Douglas Hoffman can take advantage of the situation.