Video 'Trackers' Get Under Candidates' Collective Skin

The rash of political candidates getting caught on video clashing with fired-up voters is raising fresh questions about whether the fiery confrontations are going too far or activists are merely exposing the true nature of candidates for all constituents to see.

In Minnesota, Democratic gubernatorial candidate Mark Dayton called a news conference Monday to complain that camcorder-carrying GOP operatives are "harassing me and preventing me from conducting my campaign."

In Illinois, Rep. Melissa Bean was recorded last week at a forum on credit card abuse by activists who used the tape to claim the congresswoman hired a "thug" -- later determined to be a member of the security staff at the library where the forum was held -- to intimidate constituents asking tough questions.

In Alaska, GOP Senate candidate Joe Miller's campaign manager, Paul Bauer, resigned this month after his wife was caught on video threatening to "bury alive" a conservative radio host for his tough interview of Bauer, who had been in a back-and-forth with University of Alaska Anchorage College Republicans over their endorsement of Miller's opponent, Sen. Lisa Murkowski.

Taken together, the incidents suggest that the volatile brew of politics and social media is reaching a boiling point, and the outcome is uncertain -- but likely to be caught on film and posted to YouTube.

Both major political parties have used trackers for years to film events held by opposing candidates, hoping for slip-ups they can use against them. But now, some candidates are calling for a wrap.

"The tactic has changed and it is clearly one of harassing me and trying to provoke me and one of intimidating citizens so they can't have a conversation," former U.S. Sen. Dayton at his news conference on Monday.

Dayton aired his own footage of two Republicans seeking up-close shots of him that he says obstructed his booth at a weekend outdoors fair.

Dayton wants both parties to call off trackers who go beyond taping public events, such as debates or news conferences. Alternatively, he suggested they keep a certain distance and wear clothing or badges to identify themselves so voters know exchanges with candidates are being taped by the opposition.

Republican Party spokesman Mark Drake says camera-carrying staffers are a staple of the modern campaign and the GOP will keep using them.

"I'm sure Mark Dayton would like to hide from the voters for the next three months. That's just not going to happen," Drake said.

Dayton said he's not worried about cameras picking up comments he makes.

"Anything I say in a public setting is on the public record," he said.

Kristin Sosanie, a Democratic Party spokeswoman, said officials will consider Dayton's request.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.