A leading Democrat candidate for state Senate in Arkansas was captured on video jumping up on stage to confront his female opponent, pointing a finger at her repeatedly, stepping into her personal space as she tried to back away, and even placing his hand on her shoulder before walking away.
The video was captured following a candidate forum Tuesday night in which State Rep. Greg Leding approached his Republican challenger, Dawn Clemence.
One Republican Party employee referred to his actions as an assault. The aggressive behavior was clearly unwarranted and unwanted, as the video shows Clemence take a step or two back during the exchange while Leding continues to menacingly press forward.
— Breanne Davis (@BreanneDavis) October 24, 2018
Leding issued an apology which dismissed his aggressive behavior then snarkily said he was sorry for “patting” Clemence on the shoulder.
“My opponent called out to me from the stage. So she wouldn’t have to lean down to talk, I joined her on the stage,” he claimed. “I apologize for patting her shoulder as we parted.”
Shortly thereafter, another video from a different angle surfaced showing Leding’s ‘pat.’
Another video of Democrat State Representative Greg Leding’s aggressive behavior toward Dawn. As you can see, he keeps moving into her personal space and aggressively hits her shoulder when she stands up to him. #arpx #arleg #ARNews #ARSenate pic.twitter.com/QZKyeDb2pC
— Trent Garner For Senate (@Garner4Senate) October 24, 2018
Looks more like a firm, authoritative grab from our vantage point.
The Arkansas GOP twitter account called Leding’s behavior “unprofessional,” demanded an apology from the Democrat, and even went so far as to label it an ‘assault.”
Our Executive Director Sarah Jo Reynolds has called on the @ArkDems to take action against @gregleding‘s display of unprofessional behavior, and has also demanded an apology from him for assaulting Republican Candidate Dawn Clemence. #arpx #ARGOP pic.twitter.com/2idW8uxxgs
— Arkansas GOP (@ARGOP) October 24, 2018
It didn’t take long for a more lengthy, more nuanced apology to crop up.
Perhaps trying to stem the tide of negative coverage, Leding issued a more thorough apology for his behavior.
Qualifying his actions with an essential ‘well she started it’ defense, the aggressor explained “After the forum, I left the stage. My opponent made some additional comments to me, so I hopped back up on stage, joining her at its edge.”
“I’ve worked very hard to serve all the people who live in the district I represent – work that has consistently included legislation and advocacy for women, teachers, students, firefighters, working families, and more – and that work’s been misrepresented in this campaign,” Leding continued. “I was frustrated, but it’s not acceptable to act on that. I apologize to Mrs. Clemence.”
It’s a start.
Where Have We Seen This Before?
Where have we seen such overly aggressive behavior out of a male Democrat toward a female? Aside from the obvious thoughts regarding Bill Clinton, the video is reminiscent of the ultimate political gropesman, Joe Biden.
Biden is notorious for making women uncomfortable by his presence – even those working as Secret Service agents.
Maybe because he tends to do things like this …
All kidding aside, perhaps the best example of having seen this kind of thing before is the Hillary Clinton/Rick Lazio encounter.
During a 2000 debate for a New York Senate seat, Republican Rick Lazio famously challenged Hillary to sign a pledge on soft money by bringing the piece of paper over to her on stage.
Clinton’s team complained that Lazio had bullied her – a man exerting his power over a woman – something that ultimately stuck with him throughout the losing campaign.
So if Lazio’s actions were bullying, Democrats everywhere should be clamoring for Leding to step away from his campaign, right? Especially considering he actually touched his opponent.
Dodd/Kennedy ‘Waitress Sandwich’
The Democrat party, despite their many claims to the contrary, are not the party of treating women with respect and dignity. We’ve discussed Biden’s hands-on approach with, well, everything. Bill Clinton’s exploits are a part of the public consciousness.
But there was one story not repeated very often today, regarding two prominent Democrats, one who was considered a lion of the party.
As the story goes, the late Senator Ted Kennedy (D-MA) and his protege former Senator Christopher Dodd (D-CT) got a bit out of control with their dates one night in 1985.
The Hartford Courant reports:
A waitress, Carla Gaviglio, was summoned to the private dining room by two members of the world’s most deliberative body.
In a lightning strike, Kennedy allegedly picked up Gaviglio and threw her on the table, knocking plates and other items to the floor. He reportedly lifted her up again and put her on top of Dodd, who was seated in a chair. Kennedy then engaged in an attack that continued until another employee entered the room and joined Gaviglio in screaming, causing others to enter the room.
As the Courant analyzed, Kennedy and Dodd would escape any sort of punishment for their behavior and go on to be elected to four more terms in the Senate.
Apology Not Accepted
Is Leding’s behavior as bad as Clinton or Kennedy’s? Of course not. Is it on par with Biden’s? Not quite.
But it’s certainly right up there with former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski who was lambasted by the media after grabbing a female reporter by the arm, is it not?
Where are the media calls for Leding to resign from his current state representative post?
Clemence has since responded by declining to accept his apology.
“When you encroached on my personal space, pointed your finger in my face, and placed your hands on me, you demeaned the office you currently hold and the one in which you seek,” she said in a statement.
That statement, in reality, could be applied to any of the Democrat politicians we listed above.
Read more at the Political Insider