As I reported yesterday, Republican Representative Frank Wolf was being pestered by questions from volunteers with the Judy Feder campaign, and Wolf’s staffers physically attacked the volunteers.
Today, the Wolf campaign apologized, sort of:
At one point in the video, as [volunteer] Kent asks [congressman] Wolf a question, the camera abruptly shakes and the videographer shouts, “Sir, please don’t!” This is the moment at which both camps say [staffer Ben] Dutton struck Kent. Though you can’t see it, both camps say it was with a cane.
[Spokesman Dan] Scandling said Dutton, an 83-year-old former Winchester town councilman, felt that [wife] Carolyn Wolf “was being threatened” and responded in a “knee-jerk” way.
[Feder spokeswoman Marisa] McNee said Dutton struck Kent a second time, and there is another abrupt shake later in the tape that could corroborate this. Scandling denies this. He said the events transpired behind Wolf’s back and that Wolf did not witness anything.
“The campaign apologizes if Ben used poor judgment and hit him with his cane,” Scandling said. But he said the reaction was “provoked.” The two Feder staffers had been egging him on with questions like, “How does it feel to be in the real Virginia?” Scandling said.
“If”? Given that the campaign acknowledges that Ben Dutton did indeed strike Mr. Kent, the only “if” possible in that statement is the question of whether it represents “poor judgement” for him to have physically beaten a constituent asking questions. Anyone who thinks that’s appropriate has no place in public service.