California Democrats Nearly Come To Blows Over DREAM Act


If you thought that the vice presidential debate featured the most heated exchange between political opponents on Thursday night, think again.

Democratic Reps. Howard Berman and Brad Sherman, who got drawn into the same district, are running in what has become an increasingly combative race for a southern California congressional seat. And for a moment, at their debate on Thursday, it seemed like the two were about to actually fight one another.

According to Roll Call's Kyle Trygstad, who covered the debate in person, things got messy during an argument over Berman's role in promoting the DREAM Act before a mostly-Latino audience. Sherman challenged whether Berman was actually an original author of the bill.

With the crowd cheering, Sherman stood up to meet Berman, who had already been standing up while speaking. As Sherman began to rail against Berman, the latter stepped closer to him.

"Don't you dare stand up here … and get in my face," Sherman said. Sherman then grabbed Berman with one arm and asked pointedly, "Howard, you want to get into this?"

A sheriff's deputy had to separate the two, and things eventually went back to normal. But Sherman later continued to dispute Berman's role in crafting the DREAM Act.

"It's become a very emotional race. You think? But when smears are made and untruths are said, a person has to defend himself," Berman said to Roll Call.

UPDATED 2:00 PM Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.), a staunch DREAM Act proponent, backed up Berman's account. "It is a matter of public record that Howard Berman wrote the DREAM Act and I am a cosponsor," he said on Twitter.