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Bob Etheridge's street fight: Have ambush interviews gone too far?
After Rep. Etheridge, a North Carolina Democrat, reacted violently to a "student" interview, both sides of the political divide came out slugging
 
Bob Etheridge reads to a group of children.
Bob Etheridge reads to a group of children.
Getty

In a sign of the tense partisan atmosphere in Washington, Congressman Bob Etheridge (D-NC), apologized Monday for snapping when a young videographer asked him if he "fully supported the Obama agenda." A viral video of the incident — first posted at Big Government — shows Etheridge grabbing the young man by the wrist and then neck, demanding repeatedly, "Tell me who you are." Some conservative bloggers say the Democrat's reaction shows how unwilling liberals are to accept responsibility for their big-spending ways, while liberals counter that right-wing activists armed with flip-cams are out of control. Who's right? (Watch an MSNBC report about rumors of a GOP setup)

Etheridge clearly can't defend Obama: This is what happens when "the hard, progressive left" forces its party to "enact a fantasy grab-bag of legislation that is increasingly unpopular with the American public," says Mike Flynn in Big Government. Etheridge, like many other Democrats, has gotten "a bit testy" anticipating the re-election campaign challenge of explaining why Democrats have "maxed out the national credit card" but failed to reclaim lost jobs. "Expect more of this" as the November midterms draw near.
"Long hot summer begins: Congressman attacks student"

Right-wing activists share the blame: OK, so Bob Etheridge "is a jerk," says Colby Hall in Mediaite. But maybe this is what happens when an "army of aggressive college students" are out there "accosting" our public servants to score political points. In these days of Flip cams and Youtube, absolutely anybody can ambush congressmen "until someone eventually loses their cool," so maybe we should treat ambush interviewers like villains, too.
"Congressman loses cool to students with a flip cam, but comes out the hero?"

Whatever the provocation, Etheridge was wrong: Perhaps it was the heat, perhaps it was the "highly-charged atmosphere of hyper-partisan Washington," says Jonathan Capehart in The Washington Post, but there's no excuse for the kind of "thuggish behavior" Etheridge displayed — "not when it's done by rowdy Tea Partiers outside the Capitol, and certainly not by people who are elected to serve there." So if the mystery ambush interviewers strike again with their Flip cams, "let the Etheridge video serve as a warning of what not to do...."
"Rep. Bob Etheridge's Capitol offense"

 

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