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Kuster wrests mic from Bass

Last modified: 10/9/2012 12:00:00 AM
A few weeks after 2nd District congressional candidate Annie Kuster grabbed a camera from a staffer for Charlie Bass, refused to return it and said 'f- him,' she tried to grab an item from the congressman himself.

At the annual Southern New Hampshire Jewish Men's Club forum in Nashua on Sunday, Kuster grabbed the microphone Bass was holding as he delivered his closing statement.

'You can't just lie to people,' Kuster said as she tried to wrangle the microphone from Bass, who said 'wait a minute' and held on.

The two were sitting side by side during the event.

There is no video of the event because the Kuster campaign did not allow the event to be filmed, but the Monitor reviewed audio provided by the Bass campaign from Sunday's breakfast, an event that's been held for decades.

The confrontation came at the end of a 45-minute debate moderated by the men's club at Temple Beth Abraham.

'I think that kind of disagreement at the end was a culmination,' said Adam Wolff, the president of the men's club who helped organize the event.

In the audio recording, people in the audience of roughly 75 people can be heard laughing at the exchange.

Kuster campaign manager Garrick Delzell said Kuster was merely defending herself against 'misleading information' from Bass.

The two are in the midst of a rematch of 2010 when Bass, a Peterborough Republican, defeated Kuster, a Hopkinton Democrat, by about 3,500 votes, or roughly 1 percent of the votes cast. Polls regularly put the contest within the margin of error.

Bass, using a line of attack he's deployed before, said Kuster 'has shown over and over again that the answer to every problem that faces this nation is taxes.'

'We know that she is today an avowed supporter of a 5 percent New Hampshire broad-based income tax,' Bass said.

It was about then that Kuster went for the microphone, which the two had shared prior to that without incident.

She had been on the board of a political action committee that advocated a state income tax in the late 1990s, Delzell conceded, but she doesn't support one now, given the fragile state of the economy.

'Annie does not and has not in any of her campaigns supported an income tax for New Hampshire and believes that Congressman Bass's statement to the contrary needed to be corrected,' Delzell said.

It is the second time Kuster has made a noteworthy grab. On Sept. 21, after an event with Vice President Joe Biden on the State House lawn, Kuster grabbed the video camera from a 'tracker' from the Bass campaign who had approached her and repeated her name.

The camera was still on during the exchange.

'I'll call Charlie,' Kuster says in the video, 'and I'll tell him when he can have the camera back.'

The Bass campaign provided the video to an undisclosed third party, which gave it to the conservative website New Hampshire Journal.

After it was widely disseminated, Kuster said she was the victim of 'political bullying.'

(Molly A.K. Connors can be reached at 369-3319 or mconnors@cmonitor.com or on Twitter @MAKConnors.)


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