WASHINGTON -- Hoping to keep the abusive antics of Rand Paul supporters in the news, Jack Conway's Senate campaign trotted out a supporter on Wednesday who said that he was also victimized outside of Monday night's debate.
Michael Grossman, a 60-year-old Conway supporter from Kentucky, claimed that at roughly the same time a MoveOn.org activist's head was being stomped on, he was being threatened by a "massive" Paul backer.
"I attended the rally simply as a supporter of the process and a supporter of Jack Conway," Grossman said. "[Suddenly] I feel this heavy hand coming down on my left shoulder and some thug from behind, who happened to be massive, was trying to throw me down to the ground backwards to join Ms. Valle [the MoveOn activist]... to join that 'other communist supporter,' which is kind of how I was described simply because I had a Jack Conway sign... He then just berated me in language that was quite frankly, just totaling inappropriate for any forum. At the top of his lungs he was cursing me, calling me a communist and a socialist, he said I ought to be back in California and New York with the rest of the scum. That was about it. I left after that. It scared me."
Grossman's story was delivered on a conference call organized for reporters by the Conway campaign. And if that wasn't enough of a reason to treat it with some skepticism, Grossman also admitted that he didn't report the incident to police. There also, apparently, was no video evidence of the alleged fracas -- though it hardly was as dramatic as the Valle incident.
But with the election nearing, and with an obvious opportunity to drive the closing narrative, Conway's campaign latched on to the account as yet more anecdotal evidence of a Paul campaign willing to forgive and ignore the excesses of its supporters. Speaking after Grossman, Conway spokesman John Collins called on Paul to return the donations from Tim Profitt, the admitted Valle stomper. "I think they should return not only the $1,900 that Proffit gave himself but also his wife gave $600. They should return that money."
Collins also called the Paul campaign's response to the assault, "tepid at best," and laughed at Profitt's insistence -- made in an interview with a local CBS reporter -- that Valle should apologize to him for the violent flare-up.
"I think that is comical if it weren't so serious," said Collins. "But again I think the Paul campaign has to answer for the actions of a whole series of its supporters. If nothing else, an email has to go out to supporters saying that this conduct is not accepted or tolerated."