Hinchey loses a debate, then hits a reporter

I’ve written before about how my friend George Phillips is running what has seemed like a longshot race against Rep. Maurice Hinchey, D-N.Y. His race has definitely gotten too close for Hinchey’s comfort, if last night’s events are any indication.

Last night, the two men debated. Hinchey, when asked about the deficit, acted like he didn’t know what the moderator was talking about. Then he gave an answer that demonstrated that he didn’t know what he was talking about, either:

But it gets better. YNN, a local news outlet in Upstate New York, covered the debate and inteviewed Hinchey afterward. It didn’t go too well when the reporter, Bill Kemble, asked Hinchey about earmarks from which he had allegedly profited financially:

That “shut up” is already dying for a campaign commercial, but the story gets much better:

After the shooters turned off their cameras and started to break down, Hinchey made a beeline for Kemble and got in his face, according to a YNN videographer who was on the scene. The congressman poked Kemble in the chest aggressively, according to the YNN staffer.

I spoke with Kemble briefly this afternoon, and he told me Hinchey “put his hand on my throat” and then “realized what he had done and walked away.” The YNN shooter told me he did not witness this part of the altercation.

This district is heavily Democratic, so for Hinchey to lose it would really take…well something like the events of last night, and perhaps $250,000 from American Crossroads.

Beltway Confidentialelection 2010nyUS

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