Posted by on August 18, 2011 in Blog

They’re calling it “pay-per-view”­–the surge of ticketed “town hall meetings” being held by incumbents during the August recess. To be sure, Reps. Lou Barletta (R-PA) and Renee Ellmers (R-NC), Ben Quayle (R-AZ), and Paul Ryan (R-WI) are meeting with constituents–but only those who fork over up to $30 each.

Politico reports that Rep. Chip Cravaack (R-MN) has hosted no-charge events, but only “in far-flung, relatively unpopulated parts of his northeastern Minnesota district, while doing only paid events in Duluth, the district’s population and media hub.”

Some of these meetings –like Barletta’s “CEO to CEO” forum— are also closed to reporters, which is arguably a safer option for journalists than attending a Michele Bachmann event. A variety of reports say that the presidential candidates’ staffers have been increasingly aggressive in recent months, becoming “embroiled in at least five unusually hostile encounters with the traveling media.” Staff shoved ABC’s Brian Ross in South Carolina; Michele’s husband Marcus joined in to push CNN’s Don Lemon into a cart; and Fox News’ Steve Brown was apparently tousled by Bachmann security guards. Norwegian correspondent Tagvold Flaten alleges that a Bachmann bodyguard threatened to break his arm if he got any closer to Bachmann in Ames.

It seems that, if you want to see the candidates this August, you’re going to pay–one way or another.

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