Congressman Apologizes For Grabbing Student, Dems Release Talking PointsS

Congressman Bob Etheridge has apologized for awkwardly grabbing that "college student" in this morning's hot political YouTube video, after watching it on blogs. Meanwhile, the Democrats have come up with some talking points about the issue, which don't really help.

Here's Etheridge's apology, which he drafted after screwing around on political blogs all morning.

I have seen the video posted on several blogs. I deeply and profoundly regret my reaction, and I apologize to all involved. Throughout my many years of service to the people of North Carolina, I have always tried to treat people from all viewpoints with respect. No matter how intrusive and partisan our politics can become, this does not justify a poor response. I have and I will always work to promote a civil public discourse.

Good for him: not being combative, just apologizing and accepting what consequences will come, for grabbing some jackass on the street. And these amateur videomakers are, to be sure, jackasses! But there are jackasses in Washington all the time, from both parties, running up to members of Congress on the sidewalk and screaming nonsense like "What is your opinion of [such-and-such non-issue]?" and it's usually best to not GRAB THEM FOR A MINUTE.

The Democratic Party, meanwhile, is not being so humble, and a senior official has released a set of talking points "on background." While the source of the video is still unclear, it first appeared on Andrew Breitbart's Big Government site, so, uh, time to attack that.

1. There is always the part of the story that you can't see in these gotcha style videos - what were these folks doing, how did they approach him, how were the cameraman and/or others off camera acting?

2. Why would any legitimate student doing a project or a journalist shagging a story not identify themselves. Motives matter - what was the motivation here? To incite this very type of reaction?

3. This is clearly the work of the Republican Party and the "interviewer" is clearly a low level staffer or intern. That's what explains blurring the face of the "interviewer" and refusing to identify the entity this was done for. The Republicans know if they were caught engaging in this type of gotcha tactic it would undermine their own credibility - yet if it was an individual acting on his own there is no reason that person would have blurred themselves out of the video - and if it was the work of a right wing blog they would have their logo on the video and be shouting their involvement from the roof top.

4. This was a purposefully partisan hit job designed to incite a reaction for political reasons - but it is a tactic so low - the parties involved are remaining anonymous.

5. The fact that no one wants to take credit for this should raise real questions in the minds of voters and the press.

6. Push hard w/ blogs the lack of credibility inherent to anything Breitbart does/posts, given its role in the debunked ACORN videos:

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/21/opinion/21pubed.html?src=twrhttp://mediamatters.org/research/201006010001

http://gawker.com/5508190/okeefe-and-breitbart-acorn-videos-severely-edited

No, seriously, they're citing Gawker in their memos. Uh, thanks? Stop grabbing people.