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GOP Candidate Unleashes on Reporter in the 'Mean Streets' of Helena, Montana

It's tough times for journalists covering politics in Helena, Montana. Greg Gianforte, the GOP candidate in a special election, reportedly body slammed reporter Ben Jacobs who dared ask about the CBO scoring for the Republican health care plan. Gianforte has been delaying his stance on the bill, saying he'd comment once the CBO score became public --- which it did one day before the local election.

"I mean, with that question, he's lucky he didn't get killed," Pat said jokingly.

"How dare you ask about the CBO, the scoring of the health care bill!" Glenn shot back.

The race between Gianforte and his socialist opponent has been uncomfortably close. With early voting --- and the body slam heard 'round the world, Gianforte may have blown his chance. Could that be a good thing? Does Montana really want a hot-headed politician when his vote won't make an impact in Congress? Glenn and his co-hosts pondered just that on radio.

Enjoy the complimentary clip or read the transcript for details.

GLENN: Hello, America. You know, for years, Pat has been talking about the mean streets of Helena, Montana.

PAT: Uh-huh.

GLENN: And I think we've seen them with --

PAT: Now you believe it. Right?

GLENN: -- Gianforte.

If you don't know this story about a guy running for Congress in Montana, you're going to -- maybe you won't be amazed. I actually don't know how people are going to react to this.

JEFFY: Right.

GLENN: But we're going to start there with a -- a Republican congressman, who knocked the lights out of a reporter. We have it on tape. You decide. We begin, right now.

(music)

(laughter)

GLENN: I mean, this guy has no restraint. We're talking about -- what's his first name?

PAT: Greg Gene fort.

GLENN: Greg Gene fort.

PAT: When I was in Montana last week, the week before, I saw ad after ad -- in fact, they're running so many political ads, you'll run like his competitor, then Gianforte. Competitor, Gianforte. Back-to-back-to-back-to-back. It's pretty unbelievable. Everybody on the network cable shows are coming him Johnforte. But --

GLENN: Oh, because of the --

PAT: Johnforte.

GLENN: Johnforte. It's Montana. It's Gianforte.

PAT: Right.

STU: So that's what he calls himself?

PAT: Yeah, it seems to be, in the ads. Yeah.

STU: Gianforte?

PAT: Yeah.

GLENN: So Greg Gianforte is a guy who is running for Congress. They've got one seat. And he's running against the guy who is a Bernie Sanders socialist. It is uncomfortably close.

PAT: The reason that they're having an election now is because the former congressman was taken by the Trump administration.

STU: Interior guy.

PAT: Interior, I think.

GLENN: Good. I'm glad -- I'm glad you finished that, and didn't leave it just as he was taken.

PAT: He was taken. It was like the rapture.

(laughter)

So Montana only has one congressman. It used to be like bare minimum two, right? Everybody had at least two. But obviously they changed that rule.

STU: I know that's for senators obviously.

PAT: Yeah. But I thought every state had at least two.

GLENN: No, it's all --

PAT: Has it always been that way?

GLENN: It's geared directly to population.

PAT: I knew that.

GLENN: It's always two in the Senate.

PAT: I knew that. But I thought --

GLENN: Well, you thought wrong.

PAT: I thought wrong. I thought wrong.

GLENN: My gosh. And he's our friend of the Constitution over here.

(chuckling)

PAT: Yeah, that's a good gig.

JEFFY: No kidding.

PAT: That's more power in Montana at least than the senators have.

JEFFY: Right.

STU: Uh-huh.

GLENN: That's a lot.

Anyway, so here is -- here's the problem. He's -- he's having a private meeting. And a member of the press, from the Guardian, and not the Montana Guardian. This is a foreigner that we just let in. Comes in, and somebody else from the Guardian had apparently tried this before, where they just kind of break in --

STU: This is his spin on this story. This is not --

PAT: Well, we've got it on tape.

GLENN: That's what I --

STU: Yeah, the private meeting part of it is questionable.

PAT: He's uninvited, they say.

STU: Yeah. There's other media there that witnesses this though.

PAT: Yeah, listen to this. See what you think.

VOICE: Candidate was about to do an interview with Fox News, when Guardian US reporter Ben Jacobs, uninvited, came into the room to ask him a question.

PAT: Guardian US.

VOICE: The CBO score. Because, you know, you've been waiting to make your decision about health care, until you saw the bill and it just came out. And what --

PAT: I mean, with that question, he's lucky he didn't get killed. He's lucky Gianforte didn't --

GLENN: How dare you ask about the CBO. The scoring of the health care bill!

STU: Yeah.

GLENN: My gosh.

STU: Background on this, Gianforte had taken a position of trying to get basically through this election without taking a position on health care.

PAT: Yeah.

STU: So he was basically saying, "Look, I can't answer this yet because I haven't seen the CBO score." There was talk about how he had talked behind the scenes that he was going to support it, but didn't want to say it during the campaign.

PAT: But you're a Republican. Why wouldn't you say it?

GLENN: Because you're running against a socialist who is the candy man.

PAT: Yeah, true.

STU: You've also got a bill with about a 30 percent approval rating.

GLENN: Yeah.

STU: So his point is, I don't need to take a position on this. I can win without doing it, I'm sure.

PAT: Right.

STU: So he -- he holds off.

Well, unlucky for him, the CBO score comes out like the day before his election.

PAT: That is unlucky for him.

STU: So -- but that context is important, because he's the one who set that standard. He's the one who said, I will answer this after the CBO score comes out. So this is a completely fair question from the reporter.

PAT: Although --

GLENN: Oh, my gosh. What are you --

PAT: He was not invited into the room.

GLENN: You are a spy. You are a foreign English spy. Let me just tell you something, remember 1812.

PAT: Thank you, Glenn.

GLENN: We kicked your ass twice. Saved your ass twice.

PAT: We'll do it again.

STU: Don't have any heritage from --

GLENN: Oh, then why are you supporting him?

PAT: Supporting who?

GLENN: The Guardian guy.

STU: I don't even know that he's English. I think he's actually American.

GLENN: Whatever.

PAT: He's US Guardian.

VOICE: Yeah, but you're not going to be --

VOICE: Speak with Shane, please.

VOICE: Jacobs captured the sound of what happened next.

GLENN: Listen to this.

(fumbling)

GREG: I'm sick and tired of you guys! The last guy that came in here, you did the same thing. Get the hell out of here! (punch)

Get the hell out of here.

The last guy did the same thing. You with the Guardian?

BEN: Yes, and you just broke my glasses.

GREG: The last guy did the same damn thing.

BEN: You just body slammed me and broke my glasses.

GREG: Get the hell out of here.

VOICE: Gru (phonetic) from Fox News watched in disbelief. They say Gianforte grabbed Jacobs by the neck with both hands and slammed him into the ground behind him. The Fox crew says Gianforte then began punching the reporter, as Gianforte moved on top of Jacobs, he began yelling something to the effect of, "I'm sick and tired of this."

(laughter)

STU: I mean, this is, again --

PAT: Wow.

STU: -- fox News witnessed it happen. So it's not fake news or anything like that.

And, you know, there's witnesses. You obviously heard the video. I mean, I actually -- the video -- or, excuse me, the audio is incredible because it's so amazing. But the fact that their actual account of it is worse -- I mean, because I can't tell that he's getting punched in the audio.

GLENN: No, there's that one point you hear him go (sound effect).

JEFFY: Yeah.

GLENN: I mean, you do hear, like somebody is like choking him or something.

STU: Yes.

PAT: Now, in Montana, you know, Trump won by 20 points. And so part of his message at least connected. And is it the part where they're sick and tired of the media, and so maybe this even helps Gianforte? I don't know. I don't know.

GLENN: I hope not. I hope not.

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