Camera-wielding Republicans are stalking Democratic lawmakers around Capitol Hill, hoping to provoke—and record—a damning, unscripted moment, McClatchy Newspapers report. The National Republican Congressional Committee has been sending video “trackers” to ambush Dems with embarrassing questions, and posting the results online. After watching George Allen destroy his campaign by calling a Democratic tracker a “macaca,” Republicans are hoping to catch a similar gaffe.
Trackers—typically observers sent to opposing functions—are nothing new, but “what they’re doing now takes things to a whole new level,” complained one impromptu interview victim. The NRCC calls such criticism “whining,” arguing that modern politics demands such hardball tactics. But none of the so-called gaffes they’ve collected yet is dynamite, says one public affairs professor. “These moments only matter if you say something outrageous.”