Posted Friday, June 17, 2011, at 2:47 PM
MINNEAPOLIS -- The Andrew Breitbart video confrontation has become a convention staple. In 2010, he held court in the lobby of CPAC as liberal videographers grilled him and cheering conservatives got his back. At NN11, Breitbart was in the conference's Hilton -- he's speaking at RightOnline's dinner tonight -- so a bit after 2:30 he rolled into the convention center.
It took 80 or 90 seconds for chaos to ensue. Breitbart was tailed by a three-man camera crew and a growing pack of reporters and bloggers. I happened to be at the bottom of the escalator when he arrived, so I started asking him about the legends liberal bloggers were telling about him and about Weinergate.
In swept Ryan Clayton, a progressive activist armed with a Flip camera and a couple of questions.
"Do you have credentials to cover this conference?" asked Clayton.
"No," said Breitbart.
"Maybe you should leave, then," said Clayton.
"Okay. If you want to get someone to escort people out of your conference, there are progressives at..."
"So it's okay for you to be here without paying?"
Downhill from there. Clayton asked Breitbart about a man who harassed two Muslim women in the city last night and claimed to be contacting Breitbart for help. (I've seen video of part of the incident, but all evidence suggests the guy was just bluffing.)
"Who is this person?" asked Breitbart. "You're a great reporter. Who is this person? Your journalism is vitriol! You can't even tell me who the person is."
"Have you kicked the cocaine habit?" asked Clayton.
"Did I hire you to prove my point about Netroots nuts?"
Breitbart moved on and attempted to enter the main hall of the conference; he was denied, because organizers had denied him press credentials . Clayton followed; Washington Times reporter followed with him, asking Clayton who he was asking Breitbart about. Breitbart quickly decided to head upstairs, chased out by cries of "Coward! Coward! Coward!"