Three Cheers for Cameraman Altercations

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It's been a good week for on-camera altercations in the world of politics. First, we saw North Carolina Democrat Bob Etheridge accost a filmmaker of some sort (claiming to be a student working on a project) on the street in Washington, DC:




Etheridge has since apologized.


And now we get this, the first bona fide camera altercation of campaign-trail season, from the Illinois Senate campaign between Republican Rep. Mark Kirk and Democratic state Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias:


Giannoulias's campaign has called this a stunt by the videographer, who was apparently sent by the Kirk campaign, and it has said the guys who told said videographer to get lost were guests, not Giannoulias's staff.


We're sure to see this at least one or two more times before Election Day in November, as campaigns send "trackers" to videotape opposing candidates at every step, hoping to catch them in some horrible gaffe, or maybe even get hit the jackpot by getting roughed up.

Videos like these are a sort of guilty pleasure for politics fans. They're so bruising and uncomfortable to watch, and yet you can't turn away. The righteous indignation and rabid loyalty of the candidates' protectors...staffers/supporters acting like cops and angry high school deans...the physical intimidation...the victimized crowing of the camera-holders...the Clint Eastwood dialogue, e.g. "you're done"...the testing of misdemeanor assault laws...the utter obliviousness of the candidates. It reminds us of the crazed bloodsport that is campaign season.
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Chris Good is a political reporter for ABC News. He was previously an associate editor at The Atlantic and a reporter for The Hill.

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