The Democrats were all over this one. Here is Ellis Close from Newsweek:
Much has been made of the abuse showered on members of Congress at a recent tea-party demonstration on Capitol Hill. Georgia Congressman John Lewis was greeted with racial slurs. Emanuel Cleaver, a black congressman from Missouri, was spat on.
Much has been made indeed. Dozens of pundits have seized on the incident as proof that the Tea Party activists are generally motivated by racism. Of course, one incident hardly makes that case, especially if it didn't happen.
In an interview with Fox4 News, Representative Cleaver refused to say whether he had been spit on.
"I haven't talked about this incident on TV or anywhere, and I've been approached to talk about it on every national TV show," said Rep. Cleaver in an interview with FOX 4 News. "I never, I never reported anything, never a single thing in Washington, not one thing. People assume I went somewhere, never done press conference, never done an interview on it and I'm not going to do it."
In fact, Cleaver's staff did report the incident. The Huffington Post reproduces their press release in which this is included:
This afternoon, the Congressman was walking into the Capitol to vote, when one protester spat on him.
If the Congressman is now backing away from the latter statement, I think we can assume it didn't happen. It was a false accusation, intended to damage the reputation of the Tea Party protestors.
So what about the "racial slurs"? As the House prepared to vote on ObamaCare, Nancy Pelosi and other representatives chose to walk past a group of demonstrators. They didn't have to. They were trying to draw hostile fire (that's a metaphor), which was a fair strategy. It was during this incident that the alleged racial slurs occurred.
Video clips of the incident are available, and Andrew Breitbart posts one. You can hear the protestors boo loudly, and chant "Kill that Bill!" Maybe that's one of Krugman's hints of violence. What you do not hear is the "N" word, or any other racial slurs.
Breitbart has offered a cool one hundred grand to anyone who can produced evidence that any protestors actually used racial slurs during this incident. So far, he seems to be in no danger of paying out.
The mainstream press, left-leaning pundits, and certain bloggers have repeated this story without bothering to verify it. Racism is a terrible thing, and if you are going to accuse someone of it you had better make sure of the facts. Otherwise, you look like a damned liar.