By Kyle Clark
COLORADO SPRINGS, CO (KUSA) - Interior Secretary Ken Salazar was caught on tape threatening to hit a Colorado Springs Gazette reporter who questioned him about a government program while Salazar was at a campaign event for President Obama.
"You know what, you can never do that. This is the Obama... you know what, if you do that again, I'm going to punch you out," Salazar is heard telling reporter Dave Philipps in an audio recording released by the Gazette Tuesday.
The exchange, recorded following an Election Day appearance by Salazar, was first made public Tuesday by the Cloud Foundation, a wild horse advocacy organization, and the website Politico. Philipps had attempted to ask Salazar about the federal government's controversial wild horse management program and Salazar's ties to a wild horse buyer.
According to the Gazette, Philipps had been stymied for months in his attempts to reach Salazar through his press secretary to discuss the issue prior to approaching Salazar at a campaign event in Fountain.
Salazar, a Democrat, served as a United States Senator from Colorado before joining the Obama administration.
"The secretary... pushed the Gazette's video camera out of the way, and got within inches of the reporter's face," the Gazette wrote in an article published Tuesday.
Gazette managing editor Carmen Boles said the incident was not captured on video.
"We do not have video of the threatening remarks as Salazar moved the camera away," Boles told 9NEWS in an email.
"Holding our public officials accountable is the cornerstone of journalism," Boles was quoted in a Gazette article. "We are dismayed that anyone would respond to legitimate questions in such a fashion."
Interior spokesman Blake Androff responded to a 9NEWS inquiry with a single sentence: "The Secretary regrets the exchange."
(KUSA-TV © 2012 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)