It seems a little too easy to under-react to last night's developments in Montana. On the eve of the state's congressional special election, Republican Greg Gianforte, who said
he'd take a position on his party's health care plan once a CBO score was available, was approached by a reporter to ask for his stance. The candidate appears to have assaulted that reporter
, sending him to the hospital.
Gianforte's campaign was then caught lying
about the incident, making claims that were clearly contradicted by an audio recording of what transpired.
NBC News' First Read team wrote
this morning, "What is wrong with our politics? It's shameful that ANYONE considers this good strategy. Also in this current state of politics -- where winning is everything -- there is notable silence from the Republican Party. A little bit more of our democracy was weakened last night.... Don't we deserve better than this?"
While GOP officials had very little to say last night as the story unfolded, we started hearing some comments this morning. Most of reactions fall into the "violence is wrong, but..." category.
Rep. Duncan Hunter
(R-Calif.), for example, was quoted by the Associated Press saying, "It's not appropriate behavior. Unless the reporter deserved it." Rep. Trent Franks
(R-Ariz.) denounced violence, but said "the left" has "precipitated this tense, confrontational approach" nationwide. House Speaker Paul Ryan
(R-Wis.) went further, but even his concerns came with a caveat.