The Spectacle Blog

Bob Etheridge, Repeat Offender?

By on 6.18.10 | 1:58PM

North Carolina Congressman Bob Etheridge has a history of strong-arming young men who ask touchy questions, according to an account in The Southern Pines Pilot. It’s more evidence that Etheridge is, well, crustier than first thought:

Brandon Leslie, who moved away seven years ago and is now an attorney in Oxford, Miss., said he had an encounter with the now seven-term Democratic congressman from Lillington almost 14 years ago.

In the fall of 1996, when Leslie was a senior at Pinecrest High School, he said he met Etheridge at a Pinecrest football game. Etheridge — then the state superintendent of public instruction - was challenging incumbent Republican David Funderburk for his congressional seat. At the time, Moore County was part of the 2nd District, which Etheridge now represents.

Leslie said he introduced himself to Etheridge and asked him about his stance on a particular education program. He said Etheridge didn't answer his question, so he pressed him two more times.

"And that's when he grabbed me by the shoulders, he shook me, and I'll never forget it, he said, 'Son, you need to learn to respect your elders,'" he said by phone on Wednesday. "I was just so taken aback, I think my jaw just dropped, and he walked off."

Leslie said he was angrier about Etheridge's attitude and "patronizing" tone than the physical contact.

“It wasn't to hurt me, it wasn't to harm me," he says. "It was that he was irritated and wanted to get my attention.”

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