Democratic challenger Paul Heroux has accused Republican state Rep. George Ross of giving the audience the infamous one-finger salute at the debate between the two men Thursday at Attleboro High School. Ross said this did not happen.
Heroux issued a statement to the media during the weekend saying Ross, who represents the 2nd Bristol District (including most of Attleboro), should issue an apology to every resident. This is not the first demand for an apology by a candidate in this race. Ross demanded Heroux apologize to veterans during the debate for his statement in a Patch article that he had not voted from 2004 to 2008 because no race piqued his interest. This comment led to some boos from the Heroux friendly audience, and then the gesture that Heroux has accused Ross of making.
"The state rep. works for the people, not just the people who like him," wrote Heroux in a press release. "When lecturing me on respect, Rep. Ross showed contempt and an utter and complete lack of respect to every citizen throughout Attleboro that he represents by making an obscene gesture to citizens all over Attleboro on live TV. Ross' behavior was completely unbecoming of any elected official."
Ross said in an interview Sunday night that he did make a gesture, but it wasn't obscene. He said he made a "dismissive hand motion" motivated by his "passion against the disrespect shown to the veterans."
"I did not do what my opponent has accused me of, nor would I ever do anything like that," Ross said.
The debate video made by DoubleACS that can be found here shows Ross moving his hand at the 35:48 mark, but it is unclear if he raises the middle finger. Heroux sent Patch a slow-motion video and still frames that he says make it more clear what Ross did. Patch has chosen not to post the video and photos since they were provided by a candidate in this race.