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Video 'stalking' on the campaign trail: Have Democrats gone too far?
Some GOP candidates complain that rivals are invading their privacy by shooting video of their luxury homes and posting it online to turn voters against them
 
The GOP says that Democrats are invading the privacy of Republican rivals by videotaping their homes and posting the footage online.
The GOP says that Democrats are invading the privacy of Republican rivals by videotaping their homes and posting the footage online.
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Videographers known as campaign trackers, a fixture in modern politics, follow their candidate's rivals to document every public appearance on tape. But some Democratic trackers are crossing the line between public and private this year, Politico reports, shooting video of the homes of wealthy GOP congressmen and candidates and posting the footage online — to Republicans' dismay. "It's totally inappropriate," said Rep. Reid Ribble (R-Wis.), after a 38-second clip of his generously proportioned home showed up on the web. For their part, Dem officials say videotaping Republican candidates' mansions to show they can't relate to struggling families is perfectly legitimate. Invasion of privacy or just political hardball?

This is simply creepy: Following candidates around is "part of the game," says Moe Lane at RedState, and even that — waiting for hours in the hope your opponent will say something "career-ending" — is "kind of obsessive and sad." This, however, is unquestionably an invasion of privacy. Rep. Jim Renacci (R-Ohio) told Politico that his neighbor caught a tracker hiding in his bushes. Sorry, but that is "out and out stalking."
"Democrats reduced to hiding in bushes, posting creepy stalker videos"

GOP mansions are fair game: "House Republicans have spent this entire Congress trying to hide that they’re protecting benefits for millionaires and perks for themselves," Jesse Ferguson, a spokesman for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, tells Politico. Democrats are under no obligation to let them "keep it secret any longer." This is a perfectly legitimate way to show that these GOP candidates look out for themselves, instead of the middle class.
"GOP unnerved by Democrats' candid camera techniques"

This is not helping the Democrats' cause: The video of Renacci's house looks like it was shot by "some deranged ex-husband," says Dan Amira at New York. The only thing missing: "Heavy mouth-breathing." The really odd thing is that the DCCC says posting the clips online allows outside groups to use them in commercials without violating laws. "So it's [both] creepy and undermining-campaign-finance-laws-y. Impressive."
"Democratic trackers now indistinguishable from common stalkers"

Read more political coverage at The Week's 2012 Election Center.

 

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