Michele Bachmann’s relationship with the press has always been tense at best, but it spilled over into open conflict on Tuesday as aides to the Congresswoman allegedly shoved ABC reporter Brian Ross.
“That’s when things got interesting. Ross dashed after Bachmann, repeatedly asking whether she had ever missed a House vote due to a migraine. She ignored him. Ross pursued her into a parking area behind the stage. Her aides grew alarmed. When Ross made a beeline for the white SUV waiting to carry Bachmann away, two Bachmann men pounced on him, grabbing and pushing him multiple times with what looked to me like unusual force. In fact, I have never seen a reporter treated so roughly at a campaign event, especially not a presidential one. Ross was finally able to break away and lob his question at Bachmann one more time, but she ignored him again.
Afterward, I asked Ross-a hard-nosed pro who nevertheless seemed slightly shaken-whether he’d ever been treated so roughly. “A few times,” he told me. “Mostly by mafia people.”
TPM reached out to Bachmann’s camp for comment and will post their response.
Update: ABC Vice President Jeffry Schneider condemned Bachmann’s behavior in an interview with the Washington Post’s Greg Sargent. He added that ABC has footage of the incident and will likely post it on their website soon.
“He was certainly shoved around and pushed,” Schneider said. “It’s unfortunate when physicality is involved. He was just doing his job.”
Second Update: The Washington Post’s Aaron Blake posted a response from Bachmann’s campaign on Twitter: “We didn’t have time for any questions and we made it clear … he disregarded repeated requests to stay back.”
Benjy Sarlin is a reporter for Talking Points Memo and co-writes the campaign blog, TPM2012. He previously reported for The Daily Beast/Newsweek as their Washington Correspondent and covered local politics for the New York Sun.