An incident at The Omni this morning has put Charlottesville in the national media spotlight, though hardly for the best of reasons. At an event for Sen. George Allen starring Sen. Elizabeth Dole Democratic activist, Marine veteran and UVa law student Mike Stark had some questions for Allen during the media Q&A portion of the event. He asked Sen. Allen whether it was true that he’d spat on his ex-wife, a rumor that has been making the rounds among Democrats. In response, an Allen campaign employee grabbed Stark in a headlock and threw him to the ground. Another employee escorted him out of the building, despite Stark’s protests.
What makes all of this news is that NBC 29 got the whole thing on tape. They ran it for their 12pm broadcast, and the video was in rotation on CNN by mid-afternoon. The wires picked up the story, every major political blog is talking about it, and most major papers have stories or are working on them for tomorrow’s issue.
Stark writes that he intends to press charges against his attackers. The Allen campaign has issued a press release in which they accuse Stark of “verbally attack[ing]” Allen and say that they simply “restrained him” and “asked” him to leave the building.
32 thoughts on “Allen/Dole Event at Omni Goes Awry”
This is not some doe eyed law student trying to get a question answered. After reading Stark’s website , he wanted this to happen and provoked it. Most of the videos show the SECOND time he rushed the Senator. As the Senator was trying to exit the room with a campaign staffer, the Democrat activist, identified as Mike Stark, pushed the Allen staffer.
Later, volunteers restrained him and asked to leave the building when he approached the Senator a second time, asking inappropriate questions. Allen’s ex wife has denied the accusation. The spitting is a vicious lie and this Webb volunteer wanted confrontation
This was not the first time that Stark, a frequent Daily Kos blogger, has aggressively confronted Senator Allen in front of TV cameras and been removed from the premises by event security. In August, Stark was asked to leave a Holiday Inn by management “after he became combative” while interrupting a press conference with Senator Allen.
“Became combative?” Listen to the audio of the Holiday Inn event:
Actually the tape stops and then he was ask to leave by hotel mangement, that’s when he became combative.
His said he would leave when the hotel told him to on the tape. But for some reason when they did , mike forgot to post that audio
Watching the video it looks to me like George Allen’s guys got very heavy handed with a heckler – more than what was called for.
I’ve seen hecklers at other political events, but I’ve never seen them tackled, only quietly and calmly escorted from the room while the politician either continues his speech or comes up with some clever reply to the audience about the heckler and/or the issue s/he raised.
Stark should press charges. It will be interesting to watch how that is played out.
In this instance it’s clear that George Allen suffers from the same problem the current President Bush does- he’s no good at “un-rehearsed” or “impromptu.”
make sure you watch this video
The link for it on that page. It shows a different video then 29. It shows stark and someone entangled even before he came into the hall way. This heckler was there for a purpose of doing something in front of cameras to hurt Allen. The court will have to decide if what happened to Stark is criminal but he is far from an innocent.
That’s actually the one I did watch and was referring to when I wrote my other comment. It’s source was WVIR according to the CNN link, it’s just WVIR’s unedited footage.
Yes that’s what hecklers do. He set Allen’s people up and they fell for it. Shame on them. And that’s also why other politician’s security people maintain a calm collected and professional demeanor as they escort the often unwilling heckler out of whatever event it happens to be at.
With the type of campaign Allen’s run in these last few weeks I have very little sympathy for him.
Version #1: In August, Stark was asked to leave a Holiday Inn by management “after he became combative” while interrupting a press conference with Senator Allen.
Version #2: Actually the tape stops and then he was ask to leave by hotel mangement, that’s when he became combative.
Two statements, apparently contradictory, made by the same poster within on hour. Which is it? Did he become combative and was then asked to leave? Or, was he asked to leave and then became combative? If he wasn’t combative first, just why was he asked to leave? (You may not know the answer, but if you do, it could help us to understand something about Mr. Stark’s character and just how he operates.)
Harry: the audio has Stark being asked to leave by Allen’s staff and refusing to do so unless asked to by a hotel staff. The tape then stops and according to press accounts the hotel mangement then asked Stark to leave. This is when he became combative according to the same report. The second incident is not on any audio that I am aware of.
That’s all I can figure out from the evidence currently availible.
I hope that is clearer and logically consistent.
This debate about who did what when and why is going on across the nation right now. That’s why I’m glad for the video — we can all watch and draw our own conclusions. And we all know how that settles disputes.
Even if the hotel management asks the “heckler” to leave, what gives those “Allen People” the right to vigilante the “Heckler” to the floor in a headlock? Does the hotel have security? Isn’t it their job? Those “Allen folk” should be arrested for assualt!
If you don’t want to bother with the cookie- and ad-heavy NBC29 website, the video has also now been posted on YouTube.
I find it infinitely amusing that the Allen campaign’s press release actually points us to Mike Stark’s blog.
Am I the only person wondering if domestic violence played a role in Allen’s divorce? It seems a relevant question to ask a politician who has attacked his opponent’s supposed insensitivities toward women throughout this Senate race. Is the rumor of George Allen’s history of domestic violence unfounded, or is it fact? Why don’t reporters ask?
Reporters tell me that they do ask, but his office refuses to comment.
Allen ex-wife has stated that the accusation are untrue. Why does any of the records matter? His ex-wife has accused him of nothing.
Is this any difference then when Kerry didn’t open up his military record during the presidental run? Kerry has that right and it made no difference to me. It’s impossible to prove a negative sometimes
Has it gotten to the point where every private scrap of ones life must be revealed to prove a rumor is without fact. Or does Allen deserve no shred of privacy. On this board privacy is been stated as an important right, just not to politicans I guess.
Has anyone mentioned Webb’s divorce? I don’t care it doesn’t matter. I think Webb is a good person I just don’t agree with his stand on some issues. These divorce records are a smokescreen for Mike Stark to set the stage for his guerilla tactics. He even goes after Democratic professional in his Daily Kos diary saying that they suck and it was time for (Stark ) to do something about it.
Getting physical was a bad outcome. Stark wasn’t harmed or beaten but that doesn’t mean that any violence is warranted. I have been sadden that this race hasn’t been about issue for weeks. Why aren’t we talking about Iraq, spending, and the marriage act?
Both Kerry and Allen have the right to keep such things private, but the public likewise has the right to ask that candidates make them public. I don’t believe that anybody is suggesting that they be forced under law to release such information.
Just to clarify an inaccuracy above, Stark claims not to be a volunteer for Webb or any other candidate.
Pete this is from Stark’s webite: I’m hopeful that I can be useful to the Webb campaign (and I’m signing up with UVa Dems).
Do you think the UVa Dems aren’t working to get Webb elected?
He put this on his very own web site. Do I think he is getting paid, no I don’t. I put that in because I read his own words.
Is this really a “it depends on what the meaning of “is” is” moments?
Waldo Has the right to ask? Why does the public have a right to insist he reveal his divorce records? No one is saying they should be forced but does that make what Stark did right.
I guess I have the right to ask Webb if he ever beat his first wife.
Even though I have no proof. Isn’t there some sense of or right or wrong. Can’t you say that Stark was wrong to do what he did , just like Allen people where wrong. Is partisan politics more important then civlity, I hope not.
If Stark had demand to know why Allen voted to fight in Iraq at the cost of thousand of American life’s I would understood that. If he had demand to know why we don’t better health care for the nation poor I might have been moved. Spitting on your wife isn’t a question, it is an embarassment.
Here’s a little overview.
Of course you do. You can ask me that, too. And I can ask you.
It was rude. But that doesn’t warrant assault and battery.
Of course you do. You can ask me that, too. And I can ask you.
The right to free speech has nothing to do with the demand to reveal divorce records. Could you answer that? You link does not. Of course you could ask the question.
My larger question was should you? If I walk in and accused you of beating your wife in public, even though it’s not true, and I got hit, I can sue you. This kind of thing happens to famous people all the time. The accusers pray they get hit just so they can sue. This can’t be a behavior you are defending.
Of course it does. I can demand just about anything I want from anybody. That’s my right to free expression. Anybody can hide just about anything they want from me. That’s their right to privacy.
Vat a country.
In Soviet Russia you could have been killed for asking such a question of a public official. This can’t be a behavior you are defending.
See? I can set up straw men, too. :)
I can set up straw men, too. :)
I would say mine was more germane but fine.
Waldo would you please tell why the divorce records should be opened based on any facts that are availible about Allen’s first marriage and how that might out weigh Allen’s right to privacy?
And how any of this relates to the election at hand.
Dang. I changed the clock on the server and now the posts are all out of order. Sorry about that.
The only possible reason would be that Allen believes that opening those records is necessary for him to be reelected.
i america, you can set up straw men. in soviet russia, straw men set you up.
I’m glad somebody said that. :)
Is anybody still listening? I know I got tired of the argument over wether saying shutup means I want the cops to shut you up… but anyway… has anyone noted the AL FRANKEN connection??? I had totally forgotten this. From Wikipedia:
In the early stages of the 2004 presidential election, Franken was at a support rally at the Palace Theater in Manchester, New Hampshire for governor Howard Dean in his bid for the Democratic Party nomination. A supporter of perennial candidate Lyndon LaRouche attempted to shout down the governor, who was taking questions from the audience. Two members of Dean’s security team immediately moved toward the man, who shoved and elbowed them. According to the New Hampshire Union Leader, at that point Franken emerged from the crowd and was elbowed in the face by the heckler, knocking the comedian’s glasses off. Franken, a former highschool wrestler, used a takedown move to attempt to immobilize the man. The heckler then managed to scramble over a few people onto a balcony railing, screaming at Dean. He eventually left the premises after theater manager Peter Ramsey threatened to call police. Franken said his tackle had nothing to do with Dean specifically, but that he was upholding the right to free speech, and that he “would have done it if [the heckler] was a Dean supporter at a Kerry rally.”
Did Denny Hastert teach him that move?
Since some of Senator Allen’s staffers really seem to enjoy wrestling with strange men on the ground, maybe they should add Ted Haggard to the staff, given that he is suddenly unemployed, and may be very well qualified.
Is it just me wondering what George Allen has against UVA students. First he announces to the world that he is a racist by attacking a clearly out of place UVA 4th year of color. Then he has his goons attack a 1L UVA Student for asking him a very personal question. Watch our Larry S. he is working his way up to the facutly and I am affraid you are next.
College students tend to vote Democrat.
so you can attact them at will?
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