Congressman blames town hall incident on opponent, apologizes

A Texas congressman who got into a heated exchange at a town hall meeting this weekend blamed his opponent's campaign for the incident, but also apologized for his conduct. 

Video emerged Monday that shows Rep. Ciro Rodriguez (D) and an audience member getting into an argument over his vote for the healthcare reform law. The attendee suggested that the lawmaker stretched the facts about the Congressional Budget Office's analysis of the provision 

He shot back, saying "Don't accuse me of not saying the truth."

"Unfortunately political operatives associated with my opponent's campaign tried to turn it into something else -- attempting to hijack a 'congress [sic] on your corner' event merely to engage in uncivil, cynical videotape baiting tactics," Rodriguez said in a statement. "The people of Southwest Texas deserve better than that."

The video first appeared on conservative media entrepreneur Andrew Breitbart's "Big Government" website. 

Francisco Canseco (R), Rodriguez's opponent, released a statement earlier Monday saying that the congressman "has a history of cursing and yelling at people who disagree with him. It shows how much contempt he has for the people of this district and their concerns about the economy, exploding federal deficits, and reckless government growth."

Canseco's campaign referenced a town hall meeting last year in which Rodriguez became animated with an audience member, saying the behavior is nothing new for him. 

"The simple fact is, Ciro Rodriguez misrepresents his record to people, and when he is called out on it, he resorts to yelling, intimidation and cursing," spokesman Scott Yeldell said. "November 2nd will be the opportunity the voters of Southwest Texas have to restore some integrity, honesty and civility to this office."

Despite his claim against Canseco's operatives, Rodriguez apologized for his actions. 

"That said, I apologize for losing my temper at an event that should always be a civil and respectful exchange of ideas," he said. "I look  forward to continuing to listen to folks all across southwest Texas, as we work together to create jobs and get this economy back on track."