Did Brad Sherman try to rough up Howard Berman? – UPDATED


Who was it who called the Brad Sherman-Howard Berman congressional race in the San Fernando Valley "Jew on Jew?"

We’re not sure what, in this debate today at Pierce College, got Sherman so riled — this video opens with Sherman saying Berman was "in his face." And then he grabs him and says "You wanna get into this?"

Security breaks it up.

Variety, which first posted the video, says it was released by the Berman camp.

Sherman is 57. Berman is 71.

UPDATE: The Sherman campaign called, pointing me to a release of their own video and statement.

And the entire debate is posted here, and includes back and forth on Israel and Iran.

But first, I’ve also tracked down a report on the debate from someone who was there — a reporter for the Pierce College newspaper, the Roundup.


This is useful because it explains the difference that led to the physical encounter. Berman called Sherman a liar and  "delusional" for insisting that Berman did not author the DREAM act, the law that cleared a path to citizenship for immigrants who come to the United States illegally, but as children. 

Congress’ research engine lists Berman as DREAM’s House author, not Luis Gutierrez, the Illinois Democrat who Sherman says introduced the bill. Gutierrez has been a leading activist advancing the Act, which ultimately failed in Congress. (Aspects of it were this year incorporated into executive orders issued by President Obama.)

Sherman may be referring to the genesis of the bill; lower-ranked lawmakers will often bring their bills to more senior members in order to ensure advancement, or they will bring their ideas to senior lawmakers considering similar legislation. But at that point, the senior members generally invest themselves deeply in the bill — and it seems odd to try and divorce Berman from DREAM entirely, as Sherman appears to be doing.

Here’s the exchange, according to the Roundup:

“He lies,” Berman said in response to an allegation made earlier in the debate by Sherman saying that he was not the author of the bill.

“He knows I’m the house author of the DREAM Act. Why does he say that? Because he thinks he can get away with it. But, in the end, ya can’t fool all the people all the time, Brad,” Berman said.

“Howard, Luis Gutierrez introduced the bill. You didn’t. And the official records of Congress will prove you wrong,” Sherman yelled into his microphone. “Howard, you wanna get into this?”

“Don’t you dare stand up here in the West San Fernando Valley and get in my face. Stay away from me. You wanna put your face in mine? Go ahead,” Sherman added.

Sherman was responding to allegations made by Berman moments earlier.

“Is this what you want?” Berman said, pointing at Sherman. “He’s either delusional, or he distorts the truth.”

Here’s the Sherman campaign:

The event began when Berman began yelling that Sherman was a liar and delusional. Berman then went over to Sherman’s table and confronted Sherman nose to nose. The event continued with Sherman briefly putting his arm around Berman’s shoulder. It then concluded. Finally, an officer asked both candidates to calm down. The debate then continued.

I don’t see Berman confronting Sherman "nose to nose" in either video, nor in the longer one of the whole debate; it is true Berman appears to be approaching Sherman.

Here’s the Sherman campaign "prequel" to the encounter:

Amd here’s how Sherman’s campaign closes its press release:

“The Pierce College debate was not conducted at the highest level. I regret my part in allowing emotions distract from the exchange of views,” said Congressman Sherman. “I agree with Howard Berman’s closing statement at the Thursday debate: 

‘We are in a heated and expensive race. It’s become a very emotional race. We [each] think that when smears are made, and when untruths are said, a person has to defend himself and that raises the intensity of debate.’”

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