I’ve seen this numerous times from the left but was genuinely shocked to see it occur from the right one of our own, a well-known tea party citizen journalist. Jeremy Segel of Rebel Pundit was asking a few questions of Mourdock at a tea party rally when Mourdock’s campaign manager Jim Holden – who also happens to be Indiana’s Deputy Treasurer and General Counsel – appears to make physical contact with Segel and shoves the camera down before later shouting “douchebag!”
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I reached out to the Mourdock camp and spoke with his communications director, Chris Conner. I asked whether or not Mourdock felt Holden’s response was an appropriate action.
“The individual didn’t ID himself and there were other people there doing the same thing,” Conner replied. “We felt like he was being overly aggressive and when it was clear that Richard was going to talk to other supporters, the individual wouldn’t stop.”
Except Segel does identify himself and it’s heard on video at 1:36 in. I’m told he was also wearing a Gadsen Flag hat. I’m not exactly sure how a few calm and polite questions wound up being mischaracterized by Mourdock’s camp as “aggressive,” but judging by the video, the only aggression viewers can see is that from Mourdock’s campaign manager – who as General Counsel, should know the law better than he demonstrated.
I know both Segel and Mourdock, having met the latter briefly when I visited my affiliate WIBC in Indianapolis where I also spoke at the Indianapolis Tea Party’s April 15th rally. Mourdock was mild mannered and soft-spoken when not making speeches which is why I was genuinely shocked to see that his campaign manager responded in this way.
While I oppose candidates referring to themselves as “tea party candidates,” I don’t see why Mourdock can’t say that he loves the tea party ideology.
“If the tea party is such a political organization, they would have positions on the ballot and maybe somebody could run as a tea party candidate. But I don’t have that option even if I wanted to, and I wouldn’t because I’m a Republican. I don’t think that upsets. … Ultimately, all elections are about alternatives and you go with your best alternative.”
This response seems to imply that Mourdock doesn’t actually understand what the tea party is: a movement, not a party, that is the unattached conscious of political parties and drives forth to the ballot the most conservative ideals and representations from each.
Mourdock doesn’t identify himself as a “tea party candidate” but the link www.itsrealteatimeindiana.com redirects to a page all about his campaign. An individual named Derrick Manor with Webcore Interactive registered the domain name. Hmmm.
I’m still waiting for an official response on Holden’s actions from Mourdock’s camp; I’ve also reached out to Jim Holden for comment. Watch this space for updates. I will speak with Jeremy Segel this afternoon on my radio show, 2pm cdt, 3pm eastern.
*UPDATE: Mourdock called me and spoke at length about the altercation: “Did he overreact, yes. Did Mr. Segel overreact? I think both of them did. Was Jim wrong, absolutely. Do I take him to the woodshed quite regularly, yes. Will it happen again? Absolutely not.”
I asked Mourdock how he thought Segel overreacted given that the interview seemed like a normal tea partier-questions-GOP candidate interview. “He didn’t seem aggressive on camera,” I replied.
“I agree with that,” Mourdock responded. “It was a calm interview, everything seemed fine. It was a misunderstanding with the campaign, I will apologize. Case of mistaken of identity. [Mourdock claims that there have been progressive bloggers trying “gotcha” moments at previous events.] Jim just overreacted.”
Mourdock joined me on air at 3pm central, 4pm eastern.