If Sarah Palin had committed a debate gaffe comparable to announcing that there were no Al Qaeda terrorists left in Afghanistan, then stood by while a member of her campaign staff roughed up a reporter trying to follow up on that topic, it is all we would be reading about.
But since Martha Coakley is a Democrats running for Kennedy's Senate seat the people's Senate seat in Massachusetts it is a bit of a non-event.
John McCormack of The Weekly Standard presents his version, with video.
In an update, he tells us that the goon in question is probably Michael Meehan of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. Is Meehan part of Coakly's staff? Well, arguably yes - this is from the WaPo:
Democrats have buttressed Coakley's campaign this week, adding fresh money and personnel to her operation and vowing to go after the Republican far more aggressively than they have to date. [That increased aggression is not metaphorical]
The DSCC bought $500,000 in advertising time for the contest, and national Democrats sent a pair of experienced strategists -- Michael Meehan and Hari Sevugan -- to Massachusetts to help lead the attack on Brown [and McCormack!] and oversee the final days of Coakley's campaign. Democrats also have sent fundraising e-mails from Obama and Sen. John F. Kerry (Mass.).
The Boston Herald recounts McCormack's story and adds this:
McCormack writes he believes he was pushed by Michael Meehan, president of Blue Line Strategic Communications in Washington, D.C. The Associated Press also identifies the man as Meehan, based on photos and videotape of the incident.
CNN covered the faraway look Ms. Coakley gets when asked about Afghanistan:
Washington (CNN) – Democrat Martha Coakley dodged a pointed question Tuesday about her claim during a Massachusetts Senate debate the night before that terrorists are no longer in Afghanistan.
During Monday's debate with Republican Scott Brown, Coakley questioned why the United States still has troops in Afghanistan. She claimed that the al Qaeda terrorists who were originally targeted by American military action have migrated elsewhere, rendering the mission moot. "They're gone," she said. "They're not there anymore. They're in, apparently Yemen, they're in Pakistan."
A reporter asked Coakley about that claim after a Capitol Hill fundraiser on Tuesday. "Do you stand by that remark?" he asked.
Coakely, standing before a small cluster of reporters and cameras, listened to the question, then quickly looked in a different direction.
"I'm sorry," she said. "Did anybody else have a question?"
No mention of the pushing and shoving, but there attention may have been elsewhere.
Ben Smith of The Politico is advised by the DSCC that the video is a Republican "dirty trick":
Meehan is a veteran Democratic staffer, Bostonian, and Obama appointee to the Broadcasting Board of Governors. An attempt to reach him through his Washington P.R. firm was unsuccessful. But friends said they found the video both inappropriate and out of character.
"It is no surprise that Washington Republicans are trying to use every dirty trick they have to throw the Coakley campaign off their stride, but we are determined to end this campaign talking about the issues that matter to voters, like creating jobs and lowering middle class taxes," said Schultz in a written statement.
The Hill covers this and is also advised that McCormack is a notorious troublemaker, questioning candidates and so on.
Fox News has coverage, including a damning AP photo of Coakley looking on as Meehan looms over a sprawled-out McCormack.
And from the left, Taylor Marsh rallies for a free press - free to brush up on their mixed martial arts, that is:
I wanted to add something about this race. I’m 100% behind Ms. Coakley, but the scene outside Sonoma restaurant the other night, an upscale, wonderful wine bar that I’ve been to many times, is indicative of the heat right now coming from the right. A video of a “reporter” getting pushed to the ground by someone on Coakley’s staff, which means to me the point was to get something just like this captured on tape.
Pardon me? The question about the Afghanistan gaffe was just a ruse? The "point" was to get tape of someone being shoved to the canvas? Uhh, are the Coakley people knocking people to the deck all over Massachusetts but without cameras nearby? Is Ms. Marsh routinely knocked down while covering the news?
I can't shake the feeling that if a Bushie had decked a reporter that Ms. Marsh would be writing about nothing other than the impending Dark Night and checking the weather reports from Gitmo. But since it was Dems bringing the muscle she can't even muster a "tut, tut" and goes on to blame McCormack. Worth remembering.