The video above apparently shows Etheridge
annoyed by the students who started questioning him about his support for the Obama agenda. The politician was on his way to a fundraiser organized by Nancy Pelosi.
Etheridge immediately starts asking, "Who are you?" and appears to smack the camera and then holds the wrist of one of the students.
"Tell me who you are!" Etheridge asks. "We're just students," the kids reply. "From where?" Etheridge then asks. More than once, one of the students asks the Congressman to let go of his arm.
Today, Etheridge apologized for his reaction via a statement
on his website. "I deeply and profoundly regret my reaction and I apologize to all involved. Throughout my many years of service to the people of North Carolina, I have always tried to treat people from all viewpoints with respect. No matter how intrusive and partisan our politics can become, this does not justify a poor response."
The video above (attracting 64,000 views since this morning) is an edited version of the raw footage
shot by the students, known as DCCameraGuy on YouTube. They haven't identified themselves.
National Republican Congressional Committee spokesman Jon Thompson said in a statement
: [Etheridge's] conduct is unbecoming of a member of Congress. It's bad enough that he's joined Obama's assault on North Carolina jobs, but his physical assault on a college student goes beyond the pale."
Etheridge represents a conservative district south of Raleigh. Two years ago, he won his district by 36 percentage points.