There are reports this morning that ABC News investigative reporter Brian Ross was grabbed and pushed Tuesday while following Congresswoman Michele Bachmann to her car after she’d ignored his questions about missing House votes because of migraines.
It sounds like one of those classic television news ambush-interview scenes that got out of hand.
Michael Crowley of Time tells the tale:
…for Bachmann there was no escaping the media’s intense interest in a report that she suffers from crippling migraines, as indicated by the ominous presence of ABC investigative reporter Brian Ross at her rally. (It’s a handy rule of thumb that when Brian Ross is around, you have a problem.) So shortly after her remarks, Bachmann stepped away from the stage and read a statement that her press aide Alice Stewart appeared to have been fine-tuning just moments before … Bachmann said 30 million Americans suffer from migraines and that “nearly 1 in 4 American households” have a migraine sufferer. “While I appreciate the concern for myself and for my health,” she added, looking to climb back down to safer ground, “the greater concern should be the debate that is occurring today in Washington, D.C., over whether or not we will increase our debt spending and taxes.” Bachmann reiterated that she would not vote to raise the debt ceiling. And with that, she departed without taking questions.
That’s when things got interesting. Ross dashed after Bachmann, repeatedly asking whether she had ever missed a House vote due to a migraine. She ignored him. Ross pursued her into a parking area behind the stage. Her aides grew alarmed. When Ross made a beeline for the white SUV waiting to carry Bachmann away, two Bachmann men pounced on him, grabbing and pushing him multiple times with what looked to me like unusual force. In fact, I have never seen a reporter treated so roughly at a campaign event, especially not a presidential one. Ross was finally able to break away and lob his question at Bachmann one more time, but she continued to ignore him.
Afterward, I asked Ross — a hard-nosed pro who nevertheless seemed slightly shaken — whether he had ever been treated so roughly. “A few times,” he told me. “Mostly by Mafia people.”
The campaign issued a full statement from Bachmann on the migraine issue:
“Like nearly 30 million other Americans, I experience migraines that are easily controlled with medication. I am a wife, a mother, a lawyer who worked her way through law school, a former state senator who achieved the repeal of a harmful piece of education policy in Minnesota, and a congresswoman who has worked tirelessly fighting against the expansion of government and wasteful spending.
“Since entering the campaign, I have maintained a full schedule between my duties as a congresswoman and as a presidential candidate traveling across the nation to meet with voters in the key, early primary and caucus states of Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina. I have prescription medication that I take whenever symptoms arise and they keep the migraines under control. Let me be abundantly clear — my ability to function effectively has never been impeded by migraines and will not affect my ability to serve as Commander in Chief.
“The many questions I have received on this subject have allowed me to discuss this important condition that impacts individuals in nearly one in four households. However, as a presidential candidate and office holder, I am focused on performing my job, which has never been more important given the state of our economy and the millions of Americans that are out of work. While I appreciate the concern for me and my health, the greater concern should be the debate that is occurring in Washington over whether or not we will increase our debt, spending and taxes.”