Dede Dials 911

John McCormack at TWS:

Earlier today Lindsay Beyerstein reported that Scozzafava responded to an AFL-CIO questionnaire by saying she would support card-check legislation that eliminates the secret ballot requirement for organizing unions. As Beyerstein notes, this contradict statements made by a Scozzafava spokesman in September.

So after the dinner, I asked Assemblywoman Scozzafava if she supports card check. “Yes, yes I do,” she replied.

At that point someone from her campaign placed himself between Scozzafava and me and told me I should direct all my inquires to the campaign’s spokesman. I nonetheless asked Scozzafava if her signing of the Americans for Tax Reform pledge not to vote to raise taxes means she would oppose any health care bill that raises taxes. “What kind of taxes?” she replied. Then another couple of gentlemen interposed themselves between Scozzafava and me as Scozzafava headed for the door.

I spotted Scozzafava later as she was walking to the parking lot, and asked her: ” Assemblywoman, do you believe that the health-care bill should exclude coverage for abortion?” She didn’t reply. I asked her twice more. Silence.

After she got into her car, I went to my car and fired up my laptop to report the evening’s events.

Minutes later a police car drove into the parking lot with its lights flashing. Officer Grolman informed me that she was called because “there was a little bit of an uncomfortable situation” and then took down my name, date of birth, and address.

“Maybe we do things a little differently here, but you know, persistence in that area, you scared the candidate a little bit,” Officer Grolman told me.

“[Scozzafava] got startled, that’s all,” Officer Grolman added. “It’s not like you’re in any trouble.”

That was good to hear.

But I do wonder if it’s the Scozzafava campaign that’s in trouble–with a candidate who supports card check, who is unwilling to say she’d oppose a health care bill that raises taxes or includes abortion coverage, and who is so reluctant to answer questions that she has someone with her campaign call the cops when she’s questioned by a reporter who is (if I may say so) polite–if a bit persistent.

Scott Johnson at Powerline

Mark Hemingway at National Review

Michelle Malkin:

What happened when the unfailingly polite John McCormack of The Weekly Standard tried to nail down pro-abortion, pro-card check, tax-hiking GOP NY-23 candidate Dede Scozzafava on her radical leftist positions?

She affirmed her support of the union power grab and refused to answer whether the government health care takeover proposals should cover abortion. She refused to answer other questions.

And then her campaign called the cops on McCormack.

Can’t stand the heat? Dial 911!

Jillian Bandes at Townhall:

Maybe McCormack wasn’t any trouble, but when was the last time you heard a political candidate actually becoming so skittish over a reporter’s questioning that she was compelled to contact the authorities? That’s a candidate who not only doesn’t know what’s good for her, but one who has a lot to hide.

Erick Erickson at Redstate:

The insanity that is Dede Scozzafava continues in New York’s 23rd Congressional District.

Last night, Scozzafava said people should vote for her to prevent the Democrat being a rubber stamp for Pelosi and Obama.

She then went on to reverse her position on card check — she now supports it.

She then went on to refuse to say whether she thought abortion funding should be in the health care bill.

Then, as people continued to ask her questions, she called the police to make the reporters stop.

It is increasingly apparently that Dede Scozzafava wants to be Barack Obama’s rubber stamp.

Ben Smith at Politico:

UPDATE: Scozzafava aide Matt Burns emails that calling her a “liberal Republican” is “bogus” and writes:

Agree or not with Dede Scozzafava’s positions, she should still be afforded a basic level of respect. Asking tough questions is one thing, but acting like John McCormack did tonight shows a complete lack of decency. This self-described reporter repeatedly screamed questions while our candidate was doing what she is supposed to be doing: speaking with voters (remember, those who will decide this election?). And then this “reporter” followed the candidate to her car, continuing to carry on in a manner that would make the National Enquirer blush. That’s the truth, but maybe that doesn’t matter to your readers.

Bill Kristol at TWS:

Now the Scozzafava campaign accuses John of “a complete lack of decency” and of behaving in a “reprehensible” way. This is ludicrous. Needless to say, the police found nothing amiss. Moreover, the fact is that John didn’t interrupt a conversation between Ms. Scozzafava and voters — she wasn’t talking to voters when John approached her. Nor did John “scream,” nor did he get “in the face” of the candidate — he was at least ten feet away from her in the parking lot, partly because a Scozzafava staffer interposed himself as John tried to ask substantive public policy questions of Ms. Scozzafava. The notion that John intended to “follow her home” is of course risible.

Let me emphasize: I have full confidence in the truth of John’s account. And I won’t allow a desperate campaign to try to tarnish the fine reputation John has built as a fair and accurate reporter — and, for that matter, a very decent and mild-mannered young man.

As it happens, I was standing near John’s desk in the office this past Friday. The phone rang. It was Scozzafava campaign spokesman Matt Burns, who didn’t like something John had reported, and started yelling abusively at him the moment he answered the phone. We could hear Mr. Burns ten feet away. I gather Mr. Burns called later to apologize. I suppose John would accept another apology by the Scozzafava campaign. But it really would be better not to start down the road of berating reporters for accurately reporting the facts, or of calling the police when your candidate doesn’t like the questions reporters are asking.

EARLIER: Scozzafava V. Owens V. Hoffman V. GOP Establishment V. Blogosphere

UPDATE: Eric Kleefeld at TPM with e-mails between TWS and the campaign.

UPDATE #2: Mary Katherine Ham


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