Today Rep. Chris Shays (R-CT) held another in a series of community meetings, where citizens can talk to him and listen to his thoughts. I decided to attend because it's close to my home and I wanted to follow up on his statement last week when he admitted he hadn't read the National Intelligence Estimate prior to his vote on authorization for the war. The NIE report is largely the justification Bush and the Republican-dominated Congress used to push the war.
At this week's meeting in Bridgeport, many of the questions centered on the economy, health care, taxes, and a few people complained about immigrants. Rep. Shays then elaborated on the NIE question when he discussed the Iraq war. He claimed to have now read it, and talked about it.
There was an awkward moment during the meeting when Rep. Shays pointed me out along with CT Blogger, who was videotaping next to me, and essentially accused us of working for the Jim Himes campaign to try to trap him in a "gotcha" moment. After a bit of a spirited discussion where we insisted we were independent bloggers and weren't working for the Himes campaign, Mr. Shays apologized to both of us.
After the meeting I went up to him to discuss blogging coverage of his events and to offer to interview him. He immediately apologized again and shook my hand, and he invited me to visit him at his home for an interview. He was a gentleman about it, and I could see that he was honestly upset that he got carried away for a moment.
I absolutely intend to follow up on the interview offer, and I hope to schedule it in the very near future. There are questions regarding several issues that I'd like to discuss with him in a conversational setting.
I then got into a civil discussion with one of his staff who said that someone was videotaping at an earlier event, and she said that he did identify himself as a Himes worker who was taping the Congressman. I said that tracking politicians at public events isn't a new thing, and if the person doing the taping is respectful of the event and the candidate, then there's nothing wrong with doing it.
I then said that as long as the candidate didn't refer to him as "macaca", there's nothing to worry about. I thought it was kind of a funny statement, but she seemed to want to leave at that point and quickly excused herself.
I sometimes have that effect on people. I don't know why.
Stay tuned for details on the upcoming interview with Congressman Shays. There were maybe 60 people at the meeting today, but an online video will be viewed by thousands.