Protestors call for Etheridge to step down

June 16, 2010 11:20:12 AM PDT
Conservatives rallied outside North Carolina Democratic Congressman Bob Etheridge's office in Raleigh on Wednesday and called for his resignation.

They said Etheridge's behavior during a confrontation with men carrying video cameras on a Washington, DC street was unacceptable.

"We're here to say 'Thank you Bob for showing your real colors,'" said organizer Randy Dye.

The half dozen protestors were mostly Tea Party members who've held other rallies outside Etheridge's office in recent months over issues like Cap and Trade carbon regulation and health care.

Etheridge's office issued a statement in response to the protest:

"Rep. Etheridge again deeply apologizes for his reaction on the street last week. Bob is continuing to do the job North Carolinians elected him to do. Bob is working to create quality jobs, build good new schools, make health care more affordable and protect Social Security and Medicare. He will continue to serve the people of North Carolina’s 2nd District by focusing on the needs of middle class families and hard-working folks."

The seven-term congressman has repeatedly apologized for the incident in which he is seen grabbing the camera from one man and holding him by the wrist and nape of the neck while demanding to know who he was.

The men only identified themselves as students working on a project. As Etheridge walked up to them, one asked if he support the Obama agenda. In the video, their faces are blurred out.

In his apology earlier this week, Etheridge said who the men were was not important and acknowledged he went too far.

"All of us have bad days, but that's no excuse," he said.

The now infamous confrontation is breathing new life into the campaign of Etheridge's Republican challenger in the fall elections. Renee Ellmers, is a nurse who has never before run for office. Since the Etheridge video went public, she's gotten campaign donations from all over the country.

Now, Democrats are accusing her of taking advantage.

“Congressman Bob Etheridge quickly took the right steps and has offered a heartfelt and sincere apology, but that doesn’t seem to be stopping Renee Ellmers and her extreme rightwing, Americans for Prosperity allies from trying to take advantage of the situation," offered North Carolina Democratic Party Executive Director Andrew Whalen.

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