A uniformed officer was forced to separate two members of the U.S. House of Representatives who became physical during a debate in California on Thursday night.
Rep. Howard L. Berman (D-Valley Village) and Rep. Brad Sherman (D-Sherman Oaks) were debating for the San Fernando Valley congressional district seat when an altercation appeared imminent, according to video posted by the Los Angeles Times.
Perhaps egged on by the rowdy crowd, Sherman menacingly put his arm around Berman and threatened, “You want to get into this?”
At that point, an officer came to the front of the room and asked the men to keep their distance from each other.
“At a debate in front of local college students Congressman Brad Sherman loses his mind and acts like a bully,” Berman spokesperson Brandon Hall said in a statement. “This speaks directly to his temperament that is totally unsuitable for anyone, especially for a member of Congress.”
For his part, Sherman admitted that the debate “was not conducted at the highest level.”
“I regret my part in allowing emotions distract from the exchange of views,” a statement from Sherman said. “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.’”
The nasty race between Berman and Sherman is just one of three this year where candidates of the same party will face each other in the general election because of California’s “top-two” primary system.
Watch this video, uploaded to YouTube Oct. 11, 2012.