November 4, 2010- Remember when Democratic congressman Bob Etheridge went berserk on two kids who were harassing him on the streets of Washington, D.C.? And everyone was wondering who those kids were? And the GOP denied it? Guess what? It was the GOP.
The video, which first showed up on Andrew Breitbart's Big Government website, showed two college-age kids approaching Etheridge, a North Carolina congressman, on the streets of D.C. last June. They asked him if he supported Obama's agenda, and he inexplicably went into Charles Bronson mode, grabbing one of them by the neck and pulling him into a very uncomfortable and threatening hug. The mystery of who Etheridge's antagonists were—they never identified themselves on the video, despite Etheridge's creepy incantation of "Who are you?" over and over again, and their faces were blurred out—was a brief parlor game at the beginning of the Tea Party summer.
The Democrats immediately accused the kids of being GOP operatives sent to incite democratic congressmen into embarrassing themselves on camera as part of a deliberate and calculated campaign. The Republicans denied it—according to Dave Weigel at the time, "every party committee and conservative group in D.C. was denying knowledge" of the video.
Anyway, today, buried in the New York Times' look at the Republicans' two-year campaign to retake the House, the mystery is solved: The kids were GOP operatives sent to incite democratic congressman into embarrassing themselves on camera as part of a deliberate and calculated campaign.
"They also tried to push Democrats into retirement, using what was described in the presentation as "guerilla tactics" like chasing Democratic members down with video cameras and pressing them to explain votes or positions. (One target, Representative Bob Etheridge of North Carolina, had to apologize for manhandling one of his inquisitors in a clip memorialized on YouTube. Only this week did Republican strategists acknowledge they were behind the episode.)"
Ha! Good one, GOP. Etheridge lost his seat on Tuesday to a Republican challenger (though he's demanding a recount), in part because of a very effective campaign commercial making use of the episode.
The important thing to remember is that the Republican Party won fair and square and that Andrew Breitbart runs a trustworthy independent journalism operation.