Law student and Allen staffers tussle at Omni

Things got physical this morning at a rally for Senator George Allen when first-year UVA law student Mike Stark and Allen staffers got into an altercation in the lobby of Charlottesville's Omni Hotel.

As Allen prepared to answer questions from the media, Stark got within inches of Allen and Senator Elizabeth Dole shouting, "Did you abuse your first wife? Did you ever spit on your first wife?"

That's when Allen staffer Dan Allen (no relation to the senator) got between the two and began to push Stark away. When Stark resisted and continued to shout, another Allen supporter put Stark in a headlock before wrestling him to the ground. After subduing Stark, the men let him up and forced him out the front door of the Omni. The entire incident played out in front of several photographers and television cameras.

Stark tells the Hook that he plans to press charges. "There were plenty of video cameras there, and we'll have to take the evidence from there," he says. "The next step for me is to go to the police station today or tomorrow."

He also says that he never intended to physically harm Senator Allen, and that he merely wanted his questions answered. "My hands never came above pocket level except one time to keep from falling," says Stark. "I asked if he had spit or otherwise abused his first wife because he's been attacking Webb on his treatment of women. He thinks he can slide by with sealed divorce records? I gave him a chance today to put that controversy to rest."

Stark confirms that he is the same person who confronted Senator Allen at a Staunton campaign event in August and asked if Allen had ever used "the n-word."

"I don't know who he is," says Senator Allen. "He's just typical of the Webb campaign and their negativity... scurrilous lies."

UPDATE (3:28pm): Allen staffer Dan Allen says that he was merely trying to protect Senators Allen and Dole. "I think that they young man was pretty menacing and aggressive screaming out inappropriate questions," he tells the Hook. "I was quite surprised when the young man slammed me against the door when we were getting Senator Allen out of the ballroom, so I was really concerned."

UPDATE (Nov 2): While Stark may not win any popularity contests for his decorum, one noted blogger, Waynesboro's Chris Graham, blasts his treatment at the hands of the Allen supporters. Meanwhile, the Charlottesville Police Department weighs whether to press charges against those who wrestled Stark to the ground.
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19 comments

Of course! Anyone who wants any kind of answers/information is obviously part of Webb's "negative" campaign.
Although I don't have the gumption for this kind of action, I applaud Mike Stark for his actions.

If Stark has credible information, why doesn't he simply state what he knows?

I am no particular fan of either candidate, but the level of sleaze in this campaign, on each side, is discouraging.

I agree... good for him. Answering questions is something few GOPers seem to be willing to do. Just look at this one random example from the prez (that still bothers me, months later): http://content.hamptonroads.com/story.cfm?story=108049&ran=216560.

Allen has never done well freelancing, though, so I wouldn't expect him to answer an on-the-spot question even if it was as benign as "what did you eat for dinner last night?"

http://www.mydd.com/story/2006/10/12/174124/21

If you read this link Mike Stark was probably trying to provoke a response.

On his blog http://www.callingallwingnuts.com/2006/10/30/new-thread/#comments
The Tag line:
Kickin' ass on the lyin' side: A never-ending battle against stupid, ugly, deceitful and corrupt right-wing water carriers”Š

He has no interest in doing anything but becoming the story. this is not the first time he has done this

ââ?¬Å?I don't know who he is,” says Senator Allen. ââ?¬Å?He's just typical of the Webb campaign and their negativity”Š scurrilous lies.”

Hello pot, meet kettle.

This would appear to be the source of the question which Stark was asking:

http://politicalwire.com/archives/2006/10/27/buzz_in_virginia.html

Given that Allen's divorce file is sealed, all there could be are allegations, regarding his treatment of Wife #1. Hence the question. Which, last I looked, was just fine and dandy to ask, in a free political forum. Appropriate reactions might have been: answering; verbally declining to answer; stating that the question will be addressed at a later date.

Inappropriate reactions: getting physical over a mere question.

"Allen staffer Dan Allen says that he was merely trying to protect Senators Allen and Dole. ââ?¬Å?I think that they young man was pretty menacing and aggressive screaming out inappropriate questions,”"

So, in Allen's camp "inappropriate questions" = "pretty menacing and aggressive" = manhandling by standers-by? Regardless of his right to be in that place at that time (from appearances, though, he was not trespassing) he has a right to not be assaulted by strangers no matter how offensive his speech. Ask him to leave, call the authorities, end of issue. If you really want to get dramatic, form a human shield wall around the target of his question. What were they really afraid of: Him? or his questions?

Backwoodssouthernlawyer,

Stark doesn't work for any campaign. He's just some random guy who didn't like George Allen. There is no parity whatsoever here. Webb and his campaign had nothing to do with this whtsoever. First Allen used a racist term to describe a dark-skinned Democrat in the room and now he lets his staff physcially beat someone up for asking a question. Right there in front of him. What are you suggesting that Jim Webb has ever done which even comes close to this kind of sleaze? I must have missed the part where Jim Webb had his staff start beating people up for asking questions.

I have stopped watching this campaign. I drew my inference from Stark's identification with the Webb campaign in the Hook article. He justified his question by claiming that Allen has been attacking Webb(Which Allen most certainly has been doing). I never assumed Stark was on anyone's payroll. He appears to be a Webb partisan, nevertheless.

Mike Stark is just a guy who isn't afraid to ask a question, or call the right wing on their lies. He's been doing it, with great result, for some time (see callingallwingnuts.com). Apparently, questioners who don't fear reprisal from Allen & Co. constitute a security threat. Good thing that Allen's reprisals will soon be limited to what which a private citizen can carry out . . .

MB...why do you think Allen will lose? This is Virginia. NRA, FOP...what more do you need? Seems like a lock for the spot. Of course, Virginia is for losers (that of course is from the "other" weekly paper in town).

http://www.c-ville.com/index.php?cat=121304062461064&ShowArticle_ID=1513...

Stark doesn't work for any campaign. That is untrue he says on his website that he filmed things for the Webb campaign. He certainly wasn't a paid member but his own website say he did worl for them

What is Allen afraid of? He could try truth for a change - When he is is asked a question he either slings a racial slur or has his goons attack. Whats up with that?

Anytime someone asks a question that makes the poor guy uncomfortable - you'll notice - it is always the negative Webb campaign that is at fault - yah, right, fellow - get a life - outside of government that is.

Are we not tired of the good ole boy BS yet?

What a coward. Personally attack a sitting Senator, provoke a scuffle and then threaten to press charges when the Senator's supporters attempt to defend the Senator against what they perceive as a physical threat. What a tough guy that Stark is! It's too bad the Allen folks didn't tackle him harder than they did.

http://www.dailykos.com/story/2006/8/31/185126/629:

From Starks own Diary: As you know, I've been involved in a coupla incidents that resulted in Republicans and their cronies being a little bit embarrassed... more or less...

Recently I've been thinking about how to put these "guerrilla tactics" to use where it matters: winning elections.

After a lot of thinking, I've developed a plan that will impact one election in a big way. Unfortuanately, I can't afford to do it by myself. It will require hundreds of donations. I need, at a minimum, $3,000.

So how do I go about asking you folks to trust me?

Well, the best I can do is run my highlight reel by you. In a bit, I'll show you some of the stuff that I've done so far...

But before we get to that, I want to ask you to ask yourselves...

Are you happy with the "professionals" that run the Democratic campaigns today? Do you think they've done a good job? Because I think they've sucked.

That's why I'm doing this. Instead of trusting the consultant class to do something they haven't done since Clinton's election, I want to take a chance and see what I can do myself.

Based on what's available on the web (including his own "wingnuts" site) Mike Stark clearly has an agenda which has little to do with trying to unseat George Allen. He's getting his 15 minutes (he fancies himself a nascent Michael Moore) while making George Allen look sympathetic (no easy task these days) and giving the impression that Jim Webb's supporters include left wing radicals like him. Nobody acted well during this incident but Stark was hardly an innocent bystander.

When I first heard about this incident, I suspected that Allen had "planted" Stark to engender exactly such sympathy.

We are facing a spiralling deficit, a morass in Iraq that the current regime evidently did not anticipate, a huge bribery and corruption scandal , Reprentative Foley's problems and apparent cover-ups, and a complete deterioration of the concept of the "Loyal Opposition," and this incident is the lead story on the local news.

Jackson Landers i believe Stark is clearly a Webb volunteer; From his own Web site
I'm hopeful that I can be useful to the Webb campaign (and I'm signing up with UVa Dems).
http://www.callingallwingnuts.com/2006/08/22/i-miss-it/
Do you think the UVa Dems aren't working to get Webb elected?
He put this on his very own web site. Do I think he is getting paid, no I don't. I put that in because I read his own words.

Is this really a ââ?¬Å?it depends on what the meaning of ââ?¬Å?is” is” moments?

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