Who Pushed First?
(All emphases by Always On Watch)
The 2006 Senate race between incumbent George Allen (R, VA) and challenger Jim Webb (D) has been one ugly campaign. Webb supporters point to Senator Allen's using the term "macaca," and Sen. Allen's supporters point to salacious material written by Mr. Webb. [Hat-tip to Steve's Hodgpodge for the link]
Yesterday the confrontation between supporters became a bit physical. WATCH THE VIDEO. (You'll first have to endure a short commercial)
The October 31, 2006 story from WUSA-TV9:
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (AP) -- A protester who shouted questions at Virginia Senator George Allen was pushed to the floor during Allen's campaign appearance today at a Charlottesville hotel.Excerpt from the Washington Post version of the same story:
Allen held a campaign event there this morning with North Carolina Senator Elizabeth Dole.
The protestor and blogger was put in a choke hold and slammed to the floor by three of Allen's supporters.
First-year University of Virginia law student Mike Stark approached Allen at a campaign event.
Stark loudly asked Allen about a rumor Allen once spit at his first wife.
Allen's campaign says in a statement that Stark was being aggressive and was screaming at Allen.
Allen's former wife, Anne Waddell, issued a statement calling Stark's question "a baseless, cheap shot."
Stark tells The Associated Press that as a constituent, he should be allowed to ask a question to his senator.
He says he will press charges against the people who accosted him.
A Democratic activist who verbally confronted U.S. Sen. George Allen at a campaign rally in Charlottesville yesterday was shoved, put into a headlock and thrown against a window by three men wearing Allen stickers, according to a widely disseminated video of the incident.The 2006 race for the Virginia seat in the U.S. Senate has been one ugly campaign, certainly not of the type which most Virginians usually see. This latest incident reminds me of spats on the playground. "He pushed me first!" "No, he started it!" Considering how important the midterm elections are with regard to which political party will have a Congressional majority, I can understand that emotions of both sides run high. But shoving matches? Shouts of "Did you spit on your first wife?" I didn't even know that George Allen had a first wife, nor do I care.
W. Michael Stark, who identified himself in an e-mail after the incident as a University of Virginia law student, yelled a question at Allen (R) about whether he had ever spit on his first wife, an unsubstantiated charge that has been circulating on liberal blogs on the Internet. Allen supporters hauled him away from the senator as television cameras rolled....
Allen aides accused Democrats and the Webb campaign of orchestrating the event as a way of getting news organizations to write about the Internet rumor. "These are the typical Jim Webb tactics," said spokesman Dan Allen, no relation to the senator. "It was disappointing to see, and this certainly has no place in Virginia politics."
Kristian Denny Todd, a Webb spokesman, said Stark has no affiliation with the Webb campaign. "I have no idea who this guy is or what he was trying to accomplish," she said. "I saw the video, and from what I saw, he was wrestled to the ground by a bunch of Allen supporters so that is not very nice behavior."...
Election results should hinge on a debate of the issues, and I think that most Virginians want to hear discussion of issues such as immigration and national security. As Northern Virginiastan said in a comment to this posting,
"I am getting disgusted by the Senatorial race between Sen. Allen and Jim Webb. I want to know the candidates's stance on substantive issues like national security, immigration, and terrorism, but instead we're getting regurgitated ads about what Jim Webb said about women at Annapolis some twenty years ago and George Allen's potential conflicts of interest, his mother being outed for her Jewish origins, and his gaffe in calling Webb's staffer a 'macaca.'"In another week, the race will be over, and I'll be glad to see the end of it. Even better, once the midterm elections are over, the blitz of political spots which infest our television screens will have ceased.