June 14th, 2010
12:17 PM ET
8 years ago

Congressman involved in on-camera confrontation

 Rep. Bob Etheridge is shown in a video, posted online, getting into a physical confrontation with two young men.

Rep. Bob Etheridge is shown in a video, posted online, getting into a physical confrontation with two young men.

(CNN) – Rep. Bob Etheridge is facing questions Monday after a video was posted online showing the North Carolina Democrat getting into a physical confrontation with two young men who eventually identified themselves as students and asked the congressman whether he "fully supports the Obama agenda."

"Who are you?" a clearly frustrated Etheridge replies when the two men approached Etheridge with a camera on a Washington street. When the purported students did not answer, Etheridge is seen slapping the camera out of one of the individual's hands.

Later in the video, which has clearly been edited, Etheridge is seen grabbing the wrist of one of the men and again repeatedly asking, "Who are you?...Tell me who you are."

"We are just here for a project," one replied. "We are just students, that's all we are."

In the video, currently posted on the website of Andrew Brietbart - a conservative commentator and online news aggregator - the students faces are obscured and they never fully identify themselves or their affiliation.

"I have a right to know who you are," Etheridge responded, still firmly gripping the man's wrist. The Democrat then briefly grabbed the individual's neck before letting him go.

Etheridge has represented North Carolina's second congressional district - located in the central part of the state – since 1997. He was reelected in 2007 with 67 percent of the vote.

Update at 12:55 p.m. ET: Ethridge apologizes

Filed under: Bob Etheridge • Popular Posts
soundoff (160 Responses)
  1. ASMA

    It looks like the kids were actually sent there to trap him. He is clearly doing what a normal human being would react with that kind of prank from 2 kids with cameras. Shame on the conservative right for ever sinking to new lows every day. I am willing to put money down that the Green story is planted by the right wingers to make hay on the Dems in a state where most people are most of the time misinformed by the FOX news types.

    June 14, 2010 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  2. donna

    A young man asks one question and he is assaulted by a congressman......this cannot really be true can it ?.....and then I looked at the video a few times. ........wow it is true! No one could think this is proper behavior by anyone and certainly not by a sitting U S Congressman. If this congressman was working for any company he would be fired and since he works for all of us we should fire him but hopefully he would resign immediately.

    June 14, 2010 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  3. obama victim

    this will be a great campaign ad....this loser/democrat should resign now

    June 14, 2010 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  4. Paul

    How tragic that this clown representative acts this way – If he truly didn't want anything to do with these kids he should have left – not attacked them. What a disgrace that this guy is in office – It's seems to be the democrate way. They are all running scared of the way they voted the last 15 months and anything upsets them when they are called on it – what a joke. Only 5 months till the Republicans take back the House and Senate –

    June 14, 2010 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  5. wombatty

    Dunno, maybe if more people fought back against "reporters" and pests we might actually get some work done in this country.

    June 14, 2010 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  6. vanessa

    HA HA HA!!! He sounds a little paranoid to me. That's hilarious. Just who WAS he worried about those boys being anyway? That should be the real story.

    June 14, 2010 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  7. Willy Brown

    One of Barry stooges. He'll get a pass from the liberal media.

    June 14, 2010 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  8. Mark

    Kids need to learn to respect people older than them, dont feed this college boy's ego, liberal or conservative. There is a time and a place to ask questions, in the middle of the streets where your head is filled with thoughts and threats aint one of them.

    June 14, 2010 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  9. SocialismBad

    Is this Congressman unhinged or what?! To assault people because they asked you a question is outrageous. I guess this fool doesn't think people should have the ability to ask such difficult (ie. embarrassing) questions.

    He should resign or be thrown out of office. he is a disgrace.

    June 14, 2010 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  10. logosolos

    This isn't assault... he's just hugging him REAL tight.

    June 14, 2010 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  11. ficheye

    Lots of hypocrites here. What would you do if two kids showed up out of nowhere and started filming you? The answer is: You would give them lots of trouble, then when they didn't stop you would smack the camera out of their hands because it's a strange invasion of privacy. And the comments about the 'Obama Agenda' are clearly meant to inflame his anger. But Glenn Beck Told you how to think. Sarah Palin told you to stop going to english class. And this is what we get. America, the failed state.

    June 14, 2010 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  12. Indiana Voter


    Republicans try to talk about issues all the time. It is the Democrats running from the discussion and playing dirty politics. We as conservative Republicans would love to have a debate on the issues for once. Too bad nobody from your party wants to hold town hall meetings like the Republicans do. Seems you are a little messed up in the head to be commenting on so many things you have no knowledge of.

    June 14, 2010 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  13. Billy

    One point!:
    What if the (D) was an (R)? Really...you that have agreed and even applauded the Congressman would be rioting in the streets against an (R)...Right? You know you would.
    What if this was a doctored video...? and you find out it was an (R)?..?

    June 14, 2010 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  14. Dan WILLIAMS

    There may "clearly" be some editing, but the long and short is the Congressman saw the students after they addressed him, and walked towards them to engage in conversation. If he did not want to speak on camera, he should have said so and continued walking. He had no right to assault (slap) or otherwise lay hands on these boys when he was clearly not physically threatened. I can't wait to see the official lawyered-up explanation. (From North Carolina's 4th Congressional District)

    June 14, 2010 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  15. perryrants

    the new form of gottcha journalism.

    advice: say nothingand keep on walking. CAUSE YOU ARE NOW ON VIDEO!

    June 14, 2010 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  16. mjm

    That's assault...brother.

    He could have just said yes to the question....unless....

    June 14, 2010 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  17. arias

    Andrew Breitbart is the giveaway that this whole thing was a stunt to entrap the congressman.

    June 14, 2010 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  18. Steve (the real one)

    Etheridge just apologized. if he did nothing why would he apologize?
    I think he is fearful of an assault charge! I have read the "O'Keefe" and "GOP plant" comments. The ONLY proof we have is the congressman assaulted someone. Keep spinning though! It is highly entertaining!

    June 14, 2010 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  19. Dave G.

    Yeah, the guys asking questions were "conservative plants." Liberals are worthless. The Congressman acted like a thug, and liberals do not even have the intellectual honesty to admit as much. These are the same idiots who supported the Duke rape accuser, John Murtha's statement on the Marines in Iraq, etc.


    June 14, 2010 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  20. mjm

    The video may have been edited, but not by much. You can hear the fear in the kids voice as they try to calm down the congressman who is going all "sean penn" after what appears to be a simple question.

    June 14, 2010 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  21. Jimmy Smith

    He is obviously very drunk. Does not excuse it one bit, but jeez, get a freaking clue here.

    "Who you are? Who you are? Who am I?" C'mon, he was plastered and obviously in a bad mood.

    June 14, 2010 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  22. Anonymous

    Ha! This is a joke! – I went to the youtube page where it was posted and said that in this political climate, with the Louisiana congresswoman's office bugged and glenn beck calling all Dems and the President commie Nazis it is not surprising what happened. Do the same to Dick Cheney & you'll get shot in the face or sent to Guantonimo Bay!! My comments were deleted & I was "banned" from posting again! These kids are clowns!!

    June 14, 2010 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  23. cubfaninindy

    i cant believe the arrogance of these elected officials. their opinions on any subject important to voters should be shared when asked. answer the question and dont attack us. not everyone questioning is a lunatic. we have legitimate concerns and need answers. this guy wouldnt even hold town hall meetings for his district. wake up Washington!! it's "WE the people" and not "WE the government". thankfully election is coming soon and we can vote out these arrogant and selfish losers.

    June 14, 2010 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  24. steve

    Definitely committed misdemeanor assault. Wonder if he'll do any time or pay a fine?

    June 14, 2010 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  25. char

    theirs no excuse for a congressman to put his or her hands on anybody so regardless if he was egged on or the video was edited there is no excuse to result in violence. the congressman was in control of the situation thats clear nomattr how many times in was edited.. he should have just kept walking like every celebrity in that position does but he didn't. like every person acused of assualt he needs to pay for what he did and grow a pair th media needs to quit defnding the actions of people with money and power.

    June 14, 2010 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
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