AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana
A supporter of Democratic US Senate candidate Martha Coakley has acknowledged that he acted too aggressively in an incident Tuesday night in which he jostled a reporter for a conservative magazine who was pursuing Coakley for a comment and the reporter fell to the ground.
"Last evening I was a little too aggressive in trying to help the attorney general get to her car and catch a flight," Michael Meehan, a veteran Democratic political operative with Massachusetts ties, said in a statement. He said he had called the reporter, John McCormack of the Weekly Standard, this afternoon to apologize.
McCormack, who reported on the incident Tuesday in a blog item titled, "We Report, We Get Pushed," said he was following Coakley as she left a fund-raiser with his audio recorder in hand, when "a man came up on my right side and made contact with me and I was pushed into a railing. I hit the railing and I hit the ground."
McCormack said Meehan helped him up and asked him if he was all right, but Meehan was "clearly feigning concern" and continued for a few more seconds to block his path to the candidate. The reporter said he tore his pants leg and got a bruise on his leg in the incident, which was caught on a murky video posted on the magazine's website.
McCormack said he eventually caught up with Coakley and tried to ask her a question but was cut off with a "We're done, thanks" from the candidate.
"I clearly did not intend to cause John McCormack to trip and fall over that low fence," Meehan said. "As the video shows and he confirms in his blog, I stopped to help him up and make sure he was OK."
The video appears to show Meehan pushing McCormack to the side as the two walk behind Coakley. McCormack gets in front of Meehan, then falls, and there's a clanging of metal, apparently from the fence. But because of the camera angle, it's not clear exactly why McCormack fell.
The Associated Press reported earlier this week that Meehan had been dispatched by the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee to help the Coakley campaign hone its message. But DSCC spokesman Eric Schultz said Meehan was acting as a volunteer at the fundraiser.
Coakley, the state's attorney general, is being challenged by Republican state Senator Scott Brown in the race to fill the seat left vacant by the death of Edward M. Kennedy, who held the seat for 47 years. The race, whose outcome could affect the balance of votes on the health care reform bill in Washington, has drawn increasing national attention.
Independent Joseph L. Kennedy, who is no relation to the legendary political family, is also running in the election, which is slated for Tuesday.
Note: The video, which is below, was titled by the conservative magazine. McCormack said he obtained it from a young man and woman who refused to be identified.
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