We wrote briefly about the Bachmann campaign’s tactics, including some examples of getting rough with reporters. Politico’s Ben Smith and Jonathan Martin today go deeper into the issue of the campaign’s manhandling of reporters:
In less than two months since entering the 2012 race, Bachmann’s campaign staff has become embroiled in at least five unusually hostile encounters with the traveling media marked by pushing, shoving and, in one instance, the allegation of a threat of violence to a reporter. …
Friction between the press and high-profile politicians and celebrities is nothing new. But the number and intensity of incidents is unusual, particularly in Iowa, where reporters and the public are accustomed to almost unlimited access as an early state presidential ritual. The campaign makes no apologies for its physically aggressive approach to media management, asserting that it is simply doing what it has to do to protect a popular, controversial candidate. The most aggressive aide — a tall, silver-haired man according to reporters — a spokeswoman said, is a former Secret Service agent who has guarded presidents. He and an advance woman frequently make physical contact with reporters.
The contentious encounters with the press has far oustripped that of other high-profile campaigns. Security guards for high-profile candidates like Rudy Giuliani, Hillary Clinton and Sarah Palin were better able to distinguish between reporters and threats. The difference was sharply visible over the past week at the Iowa State Fair. Palin wandered the fairgrounds freely with her husband, an advance man, and, at a remove, a handful of Iowa State Police. Rick Perry was guarded by watchful Texas Rangers who gave the press and fair-goers broad latitude to talk and walk next to the governor.
The Bachmann campaign told First Read Tuesday:
"Michele Bachmann is a high-profile congresswoman. On the heels of the Gabby Giffords shooting, security is of the utmost concern to our campaign,” spokeswoman Alice Stewart said. “We have a former Secret Service officer who's protected presidents and vice presidents, and if someone gets too close to the candidate, he warns them."
Video shot by NBC’s Jamie Novogrod; edited by Domenico Montanaro