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. Sniffit

    "the entire video, unedited, needs to be seen to see if the students did anything physical with the congressman first"

    Seems unlikely the kids did anything physical, but I'm guessing that Etheridge didn't just flip his noodle over nothing. The video is clearly edited to make it seem Etheridge was out in left field to have gotten upset and it showed up almost immediately on conservative sites as if it was spoon fed to them. I bet the tape in the camcorder had an address label on it already, so to speak, before they went out to tape in the first place.

    June 14, 2010 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  2. Chessnutz of Liverpool NY

    This is a US Congress person they are above the law and beyond reproach.
    How darn these students question him !

    Fire all incumbents in Nov. 2010!

    Tell Congress you are fired unless you want to represent the people first.

    June 14, 2010 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  3. Rafael

    Dems can't handle that people now hate Obama as much as they hated Bush. The thing is this they used to love this when done to a Republican with a unpopular president but the ball is now on their court and they hate it. Maybe we need to change the way politics is done! Sounds familira ?

    June 14, 2010 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  4. John Tighe

    goblackhawks wrote: "This is what you get when you have a socialist gov. under Comrade Obama."

    Are you stupid, or just ignorant? So Obama's bad, but all of the illegal spying that Bush did on you, and the rights you had that Bush threw erased is okay. I'm no longer a big fan of Obama. You guys on the right are a sad example of patriotism.

    June 14, 2010 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  5. brent

    the reallllly big problem i have with this is that the question...while politically loaded...wasn't unreasonable. do you support the obama administration's agenda? how inflammatory is that? i don't really think it is.

    June 14, 2010 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  6. JustaSailor

    Just another corrupt politician, breaking laws, and then saying he's sorry when he gets caught. Why have there been no charges filed, and why did it take the liberal leaning biased CNN (Communist News Network) until now to report it.

    June 14, 2010 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  7. Potentate

    Kid shoulda kicked him in the berries.

    June 14, 2010 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  8. Sniffit

    BTW, college students are generally of the age of majority...18 years old or older...very few get to their freshman orientation at age 17. They want to start sh-t with another grown adult, which is what they themselves are supposed to be, they can accept the consequences like the grown adults they are supposed to be...as can the other guy. This isn't some video of poor little children being abused, so get off that angle stat.

    June 14, 2010 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  9. hypocrites ftl

    I find it funny that some of the lefty bloggers here are trying to accuse CNN of spin when in reality of this congressman had been a Republican, they'd be up in arms about how the "republithugs" were trying to intimidate.

    What I don't understand is why the congressman didn't just answer no comment and walk away. Regardless of if it's some kids trying to start something, if the congressman didn't get frustrated and start making physical contact than nothing would have come of it.

    June 14, 2010 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  10. RedMan, CA

    goblackhawks June 14th, 2010 12:39 pm ET

    This is what you get when you have a socialist gov. under Comrade Obama. This congressmen should be arrested and charged. But than again when Joe the plumber asked a questions to the great one ... the media investigated Joe .... Where was the investigation into Obama's past .... Ayers is just a friend, Rev Wright (racist and Anti-American), wait until Blago's tapes go public and we see how much the Bamster had to do with it ... Where is the lame – stream media ? Your job is to ASK ??? not be the cheerleaders ... THANK YOU FOX NEWS ... were you can actually get the news

    Congratulations – dumbest rant yet. So much anger and so little intelligence to think clearly.

    It must be tough for so many "real" Americans that their way of life – cronyism, nepotism, good-ol' boy club has been replaced by hard work and social awareness.

    I feel for you, it must be tough to be born in to a country where you have all the advantages and still see first generation brown people who barely speak the language make good on the American dream while you rant on blogs about the government.

    Where were you during King George's reign? Or did you just wake up when a Black man got elected?

    June 14, 2010 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  11. David in Houston

    Let's see the UNEDITED version!

    June 14, 2010 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  12. Anonymous

    More GOTCHA poltical tactics form the right. Visably edited footage- why? what Eldridge did was wrong, but what promted it. If you're going ot post the video- post the video

    June 14, 2010 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  13. Drew

    It's sad and ridiculous how quickly something like this turns into a blame game for both sides. Republicans blaming democrats for the overreaction; democrats blaming republicans for entrapment. This is a Congressman–supposedly a public servant–assaulting a citizen for asking him a question. Nobody should tolerate this sort of action from a government official. Etheridge was probably just having a bad day and was caught off guard, but our officials cannot act with impunity. He should step down.

    June 14, 2010 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  14. beesquare

    Good for Bob. His first impulse was right. Too bad he got browbeaten into apologizing for roughing up those jerks who ambushed him. Students my butt. I’ll bet a dollar to a donut their “project” is to smear and hopefully (to them) to destroy the President of the United States. We still don’t know who they are, and it will be interesting to see if they file an assault charge so that their names will become public. If they don’t then they are not students.

    June 14, 2010 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  15. A.B.

    Congressman Etheridge had no right to touch the Students. He behaved in a very immature manner. He had a right to say notthing and just walk away from the students. However, I think the Etheridge was set up by conservative operatives who are creating mischief. The students were obviously harassing the congressman and are working for the conservative operatives.

    June 14, 2010 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  16. jboh

    Concidering the attack "reporters" sent out by right wingers seeking gottcha photos, I admire the congressman for demanding to know who these yoyo's were. After the stunt at Sen Landrue's office who would not. Add the other looneys running around, I would be concerned about someone shoving a camera in my face too.

    June 14, 2010 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  17. GlennTx

    You go Bob should have giving them a good old wedgie in their panties, little brats. Why didn't they approach the congressman this way, "Goodmorning Congressman Etheridge my name is John and this is Joe we are journalist students from NC state and we would like to ask you a few questions on camera, do you have a couple of minutes?"

    June 14, 2010 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  18. American Yes I Am

    Why is this guy not in jail? Because the Regime is in control. How DARE you ask a Congressman a question on the street.

    When CNN yells out questions to Congressmen, have you ever seen them grab Wolf Blitzer by the throat?

    "who are you?? I have a RIGHT to know!!"

    Sounds like a line from an old movie with the German SS Officer interrogating people on a bus.

    Scary what Democrats have turned into now that they have a majority in 2 of the 3 branches of government. Will be scarier when they control the 3rd branch.

    June 14, 2010 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  19. Stalin's Ghost

    Those disrespectful students deserved this, and so much more! Who do they think they are, to question one of their Exalted Leaders this way? They should be jailed, and perhaps beaten, for this vulgar show of insubordination. Citizens should know their proper role, and that role is to obey, not question!

    June 14, 2010 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  20. Mike

    The poor elite... Always being lambasted by those nasty little people! How dare they think they can ask the almighty a question like that... He knows what is best for all of you, now shut up and support his agenda with you're blind faith and devotion!!

    CCN you wonder why your ratings are so poor!?!? "Congressman involved in on-camera confrontation" ???? How about ... "Congressman caught on camera assaulting man for asking a question" ?

    This is why the MSM will be replaced... When there is a story given to them, they can even get it right.

    June 14, 2010 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  21. Sarah

    "Clearly edited" is meant to imply they changed the footage in such a way as to construe a specific message. If you watch the video, the editing takes place after the congressman SLAPS the student's cell phone out of his hand. The events from the first and second footage are consistent, as is the audio.

    There is absolutely no justification for assaulting a person who comes up to you with a camera. He had the choice to continue walking – instead he remained and damaged someone's personal property and physically assaulted them.

    June 14, 2010 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  22. Remember the Alamo

    Of course the Liberal media would state these two young boys were men. It surely confirms by the picture that the two young boys are teenagers who have every right to ask him questions. Just as we as citizans and not Illegal like OBAMA have every right to ask him questions. This Senator needs to be locked up.

    June 14, 2010 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  23. Stoutcat

    "Later in the video, which has clearly been edited..."

    Yes, it has clearly been edited because the thuggish Congressman physically slapped the camera out of the first student's hand. The second kid's video kicks in at that point... So yes, edited to give a complete account of the assault.

    And yes, of course it was also clearly edited to put in title and text cards. How sinister is that?!

    I say it's assault; that student should press charges.

    June 14, 2010 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  24. Rosslaw

    Only one way to describe Cong. Etheridge's actions- a good start.

    June 14, 2010 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  25. Casey Cansler

    Oh come on...he is a sitting representative who wanted to know who this kids were. They were putting a camera in his face and asking him stupid questions. Who cares? If it were me I would of said who I was and then if he continued to grab me then push him off. Its called self defense. Stop being little children about these kind of things. They seemed to be high school students so stop trying to get everyone in trouble and act like an adult. You dont have to put this video up.

    June 14, 2010 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
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