Politics is certainly a rough business. And it's common, and understandable, that candidates will often send staffers to videotape or record their opponents' speeches.
But we seem to have an embarrassing new low in the Illinois senate race -- one that might even amount to stalking.
Barack Obama is the Democratic candidate for the open seat and his opponent is Republican Jack Ryan. For the last ten days, according to the Chicago Sun-Times, Ryan has had a campaign staffer, Justin Warfel, follow Obama with a video camera all day.
And I mean, all day.
Not only does he record Obama's public appearances, he tails Obama in his car; he follows him into restrooms; he stays a couple feet behind him when he's walking in public; he waits outside his office and pesters his secretary. And he heckles Obama at public appearances.
The Chicago Sun-Times asked Ryan's campaign manager if this was appropriate ...
But Jason Miller, Ryan's campaign manager, insisted Obama's public movements are fair game and the point is to make sure Obama doesn't contradict himself with his public statements.
"If he's having a phone conversation, then Justin is not trying to tap into the conversation or record what he is saying or something like that," Miller said. "He's monitoring because you never know when ... a reporter comes up and starts asking questions."
The State's Republican Senate Minority Leader disagreed. "I don't care if you're in public life or who you are," Frank Watson (R-Greenville) told the Sun-Times. "You deserve your space, your privacy. I don't think it's appropriate."
If you'd like to register your opinion here's Obama's website and here's Ryan's.