Today's Seattle Times has a story describing how a Democratic campaign operative with a video camera was manhandled and forcibly evicted from a Dino Rossi press conference. Rossi was posing with members of the Seattle Police Guild as he appeared before the local media announcing the guild's endorsement of his candidacy when the incident occurred. The fact that it was off-duty Seattle police officers who were pushing the kid around only adds fuel to the fire.
Of course, the kid kept his camera rolling through the whole incident and you can view the actual footage here.
YouTube is certainly changing how political campaigns have to conduct their business. Now, as President Bush has found out, compromising moments can be shown to the entire world within minutes. This puts a lot of added pressure on already stressed political candidates and their staff.
Both political parties are adding to the pressure by hiring young videographers to follow the opponent around in the hopes of catching a statement on camera that will cast the opposition in poor light. However, in the Governor's race, there is a huge difference in how Gregoire and Rossi are reacting to this phenomenon.
The Republicans have been following Gov. Gregoire around with cameras, and she has allowed them to remain in the room without interference. The Democrats have been following Dino Rossi around with cameras, and he has tried to have them evicted from every event.
Rossi spokesperson Jill Strait told the Seattle Times that "the campaign gives a 'heads up' to organizers that a Democratic cameraman is likely to show up and should be asked to leave." (Another example can be found here.) Clearly, Rossi needs to re-evaluate his strategy because it's backfiring on him. Instead of complimentary coverage about the endorsement of the Seattle Police Guild, the story is about how off-duty cops roughed up a kid with a video camera. Further, Rossi's secretiveness has handed the Democrats an issue they wouldn't have had otherwise if he had simply been willing to be open with the public.
The real winner in all this is Gov. Gregoire who, by operating with openness and grace under scrutiny, has demonstrated that she truly has nothing to hide. -- Dennis