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Outrageous Behavior by the GOP

Here are two articles about some outrageous behavior by the GOP.  The first is about the Bush/Cheney campaign wanting to know the race of a photographer who was going to be covering an event in Arizona.  The 2nd happened here in Albuquerque this weekend.

Bush camp solicits race of Star staffer
Published: 07.31.2004

By C.J. Karamargin
ARIZONA DAILY STAR

President Bush’s re-election campaign insisted on knowing the race of an Arizona Daily Star journalist assigned to photograph Vice President Dick Cheney.

The Star refused to provide the information.

Cheney is scheduled to appear at a rally this afternoon at the Pima County Fairgrounds.

A rally organizer for the Bush-Cheney re-election campaign asked Teri Hayt, the Star’s managing editor, to disclose the journalist’s race on Friday. After Hayt refused, the organizer called back and said the journalist probably would be allowed to photograph the vice president.

“It was such an outrageous request, I was personally insulted,” Hayt said later.

Danny Diaz, a spokesman for the president’s re-election campaign, said the information was needed for security purposes.

“All the information requested of staff, volunteers and participants for the event has been done so to ensure the safety of all those involved, including the vice president of the United States,” he said.

Diaz repeated that answer when asked if it is the practice of the White House to ask for racial information or if the photographer, Mamta Popat, was singled out because of her name. He referred those questions to the U.S. Secret Service, which did not respond to a call from the Star Friday afternoon.

Hayt declined to speculate on whether Popat was racially profiled, but said she is deeply concerned.

“One has to wonder what they were going to do with that information,” Hayt said. “Because she has Indian ancestry, were they going to deny her access? I don’t know.”

Journalists covering the president or vice president must undergo a background check and are required to provide their name, date of birth and Social Security number. The Star provided that information Thursday for Popat and this reporter.

“That’s all anybody has been asked to provide,” said Hayt, adding that this is the first time in her 26-year career that a journalist’s race was made an issue.

Organizer Christine Walton asked for Popat’s race in telephone conversations with two other Star editors before she spoke to Hayt. They also refused to provide the information. Walton told Hayt that Popat’s race was necessary to allow the Secret Service to distinguish her from someone else who might have the same name.

“It was a very lame excuse,” Hayt said.

Popat, a photographer with six years’ experience, was on assignment Friday and unaware of the controversy. But she said she was glad the Star refused. “My race shouldn’t have anything to do with my job,” she said.

Tickets are required for the public to attend the rally, which begins at 12:50 p.m. All tickets were distributed by Friday.

Friday, July 30, 2004
Obtaining Cheney Rally Ticket Requires Signing Bush Endorsement

By Jeff Jones

Albuquerque Journal Staff Writer

Some would-be spectators hoping to attend Vice President Dick Cheney’s rally in Rio Rancho this weekend walked out of a Republican campaign office miffed and ticketless Thursday after getting this news:
Unless you sign an endorsement for President George W. Bush, you’re not getting any passes.
The Albuquerque Bush-Cheney Victory office in charge of doling out the tickets to Saturday’s event was requiring the endorsement forms from people it could not verify as supporters.
State Rep. Dan Foley, R-Roswell, speaking on behalf of the Republican Party, said Thursday that a “known Democrat operative group” was intending to try to crash Saturday’s campaign rally at Rio Rancho Mid-High School. He added that some people were providing false names and addresses and added that tickets for the limited-seating event should go to loyal Bush backers.
However, some who left the office off Osuna NE without tickets on Thursday said they’re not affiliated with an operative group and should have a right to see their vice president without pledging their allegiance to Bush.
“I’m outraged at this. I’m being closed off by my own government. It’s crazy,” said East Mountains resident Pamela Random, who added that she is an unaffiliated voter.
John Wade of Albuquerque said he initially signed the endorsement but was having second thoughts before he even left the office. Wade, a Democrat, said he returned his tickets and demanded to get his endorsement form back.
“It’s not right for me to have to sign an endorsement to hear (Cheney) speak,” Wade said. “I’m still pissed. This just ain’t right.”
Yier Shi, a spokesman for the Republican National Committee, which is putting on Saturday’s event, confirmed that those interested in seeing Cheney were asked to sign an endorsement form if they couldn’t be verified as Bush-Cheney supporters.
He said campaign workers got such verification by checking to see whether, among other things, someone has contributed money or volunteered for the campaign. When asked whether workers were also checking the party affiliation of those asking for tickets, he said that was a possibility.
John Sanchez, chairman of the Bush-Cheney ‘04 re-election effort in the Southwest, said he wasn’t aware of the endorsement matter, adding, “I would be surprised” if it was happening. However, he said he works directly for the Bush-Cheney campaign and the rally is a Republican National Committee event.
An endorsement form provided to the Journal by Random says: “I, (full name) ... do herby (sic) endorse George W. Bush for reelection of the United States.” It later adds that, “In signing the above endorsement you are consenting to use and release of your name by Bush-Cheney as an endorser of President Bush.”
A Journal reporter, who is a registered Democrat, called to inquire about a ticket Thursday afternoon. He was asked for his name, address and driver’s license number but was not told over the telephone that he would need to sign any endorsement form. He got the news after arriving at the Bush-Cheney office.
Random and Wade said they were also not informed of the requirement until they showed up at the office.
Another Journal employee, who is a registered Republican, visited the office Thursday morning and got a ticket without being asked to sign the form.
The John Kerry/John Edwards campaign on Thursday issued a news release that asked, “Shouldn’t all New Mexicans have the right to see their VP?”
Ruben Pulido Jr., a spokesman for that campaign, said the Democratic Party has no screening requirements for those interested in seeing Kerry or Edwards.
When Kerry visited Albuquerque earlier this month, a contingent of Bush supporters were in the crowd. The Associated Press has reported that the group chanted “Viva Bush!” during the event. The AP added that Kerry urged the crowd to tolerate the Bush supporters.
Moses Mercado, head of the Kerry-Edwards campaign in New Mexico, was in Boston on Thursday for the Democratic National Convention. He challenged Republicans to open their event “to all New Mexicans.”
“I love when they come to New Mexico, but I wish they’d talk to New Mexicans and let New Mexicans hear their plan,” Mercado said. “Because I think they (New Mexicans) really are hungry. They want answers.”
Foley countered that Republicans weren’t invited to Kerry’s nomination-acceptance speech Thursday evening at that convention.
“This is a political eventó just like (Thursday night),” Foley said of Cheney’s upcoming visit.
Shi said the Rio Rancho event is intended to “energize” Bush-Cheney supporters, and organizers don’t want it disrupted.
“We’ve received dozens and dozens of calls from Kerry-Edwards (supporters) who have used deceitful tactics to try and get in and disrupt this event,” he said. “Our supporters have worked too hard to have an event like this get disrupted.”
Security for Cheney’s visit is exceptionally tight. There will be no parking at the school where he is to speak: Rally participants will instead be shuttled to the event.
Those without tickets, including protesters, are to be in a designated area across from the school.
Jim Tillery, a Rio Rancho teacher, signed the endorsement form when he came to the office Thursday afternoon. But he said he sees no problem with having Bush detractors in the crowd.
Tillery said there was a “mixed crowd” when Cheney made a visit to Rio Rancho in October 2000, and Cheney deftly handled questions from those detractors.
This time around, “my guess is they probably just wanted a rally of support rather than having the diggers or bashers mixed in with them,” he said.


Posted by Nuttshell on 08/02 at 02:32 PM in Blogging

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