Dem Congressman tangles with reporter before debate

Democratic Congressman Maurice Hinchley had an altercation with a reporter prior to his debate with his GOP challenger George Phillips last night when the journalist asked him questions about a real estate deal he will profit from using federal dollars:

Hinchey has previously insisted his only involvement in the project is as a partial owner of the land where it will be built. Last night, he said he has "no financial interest" in the project, and pointedly told Kemble:

"What are you talking about...Are you trying to give the same phony stuff that are you put in the Freeman so many times. Are you still as deceptive as you always have been? Are still you a manipulative guy? You're full of baloney. You're full of baloney."

At this point, another reporter tried to break in to ask a question, and Hinchey said: "Yeah, please ask me something. This guy is just full of baloney."

When Kemble persisted, Hinchey told him: "Shut up!"

After the shooters turned off their cameras and started to break down, Hinchey made a beeline for Kemble and got in his face, according to a YNN videographer who was on the scene. The congressman poked Kemble in the chest aggressively, according to the YNN staffer.

I spoke with Kemble briefly this afternoon, and he told me Hinchey "put his hand on my throat" and then "realized what he had done and walked away." The YNN shooter told me he did not witness this part of the altercation.

Hinchley, once thought safe, is in the same position many Democratic congressmen find themselves; running for his political life as tea party groups have targeted this upstate New York race.

The pressure is obviously getting to him.