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Berman-Sherman debate turns physical

October 11, 2012 | 11:09 pm

An increasingly bitter California congressional race between Democratic Reps. Brad Sherman and Howard Berman turned physical Thursday when one aggressively seized the shoulder of the other during a debate, yanked him toward his chest and shouted, “You want to get into this?”

The confrontation came amid a nasty campaign for a Los Angeles-area seat.

The lunge by 57-year-old Sherman appeared to startle Berman, who is 71 and smaller in stature, while the audience hooted and shouted.

Moments earlier, during a dispute on an immigration-related bill, Berman stepped close to Sherman, who told his colleague loudly: “Get out of my face.”

Berman's campaign released a video of the confrontation, which took place at Pierce College in the San Fernando Valley.

The veteran lawmakers are running against each other because of California's new primary system, which sends the top two finishers to the general election regardless of party affiliation.

Sherman said in a statement that the debate “was not conducted at the highest level. I regret my part in allowing emotions distract from the exchange of views.”

-- Associated Press