The "Denver Three" who were kicked out of President Bush's "town hall" meeting last month aren't going away. Diane Carman of The Denver Post has an interesting column on the White House's ever-changing stance on who the "bouncer" that kicked the three out might have been:
Last week in an interview with Fox News reporter Kelley Beaucar Vlahos [click here for Colorado Pols link], White House spokesman Trent Duffy came perilously close to saying the guy was a federal employee. He said that White House advance teams handled logistics for these events. "From what I was told, it was fairly obvious to them that they had plans to disrupt the event. ... It was a judgment call," he said.
Wait a minute, did he just admit it was White House policy?
At Wednesday's press gaggle, White House spokesman Scott McClellan was asked to clarify. He denied that the bouncer was paid staff. "My understanding is it was a volunteer and that that volunteer was concerned that these people were coming to the event to disrupt the event, and that's why he asked them to leave," he said. When asked if the volunteer was acting on the instruction of the White House, McClellan responded, "Not that I'm aware of."
Hmmm. So who might be aware?I asked two other White House spokesmen that question Wednesday. They declined to answer. Dan Recht, attorney for the so-called Denver Three, says interest in the story of ideological cleansing at an official government-sponsored event just keeps gathering steam. Reporters call every day, begging to be the first to know when the bouncer's name is released.
Pressure is mounting.
It's curious that the White House still hasn't figured out a good response to this, and as we've written before, it's not helping Beauprez any as he moves towards a run for governor. Are the Democrats finally learning to take better advantage of negative news stories? It would seem so.
Here's the text of the letter sent by the "Denver Three" to Bob Beauprez:
Dear Congressman Beauprez,
Thank you for providing us tickets to hear President Bush speak about his Social Security privatization plan on March 21. Thank you also for speaking out on our behalf in the aftermath of that event when our First Amendment rights were violated and we were removed due to the viewpoint of a bumper sticker on the car in which we arrived.
Every day, we move closer to discovering the identity of the Mystery Man who kicked us out of the president's taxpayer-funded event and, equally important, who trained that person to improperly remove citizens based solely on their viewpoints.
After similar improprieties were carried out by event staff in Colorado, Arizona, and North Dakota, it is apparent that there was a larger apparatus in place training people to screen citizens and discriminate against them solely because of their viewpoint. Only after we find out who the Mystery Man is and who he was trained by will we know who is responsible for violating American citizens' rights at public events across our country.
The Secret Service has confirmed that the person who kicked us out was a member of the official "host committee," not a rogue volunteer. But they have withheld the most important details about this person.
Yesterday, Congressman Mark Udall sent a letter to the Secret Service demanding answers about the person who kicked us out. We have been impressed by the bi-partisan Colorado unity around this issue – 8 out of 9 members of the Colorado congressional delegation have said it was wrong for us to be removed from the taxpayer-funded presidential event. As the Congressman who provided us with tickets to the event, we request that you join Congressman Udall in demanding answers from the Secret Service. Led by you and Congressman Udall, we hope the rest of Colorado's delegation will add their voices to the cause until we have solid answers.
We were encouraged by your March 31 radio interview with Peter Boyle on 630 KHOW-AM Denver, when you said, "I wish I had a name and maybe someday I could get a name…the White House does the deal. They literally come in and take over." We wish we had answers too, and we look forward to working with your office to get them.
Thank you for your time, and your attention to this matter. It is truly appreciated.