It sounds as if the White House may be closer to admitting that the removal of three people dubbed "The Denver Three" from a Social Security "town hall" meeting last month in Denver was indeed done by the President's advance team. Any admission would certainly help Congressman Bob Beauprez, whose office, along with Congresswoman Marilyn Musgrave's office, distributed the tickets to the event. Beauprez has tried hard to distance himself from this controversy, something he surely doesn't need if he is going to be running for governor, but the White House may be doing it for him.
According to FOX News:
Even without a guaranteed audience of backers, the administration does have the right to try and prevent threats and disruptions from protesters, which is why people are often barred from Bush events, according to White House officials. The removal of individuals can occur before and after a disruption.
“There is an active campaign underway to try and disrupt and disturb his events in hopes of undermining his objective of fixing Social Security,” White House spokesman Trent Duffy told FOXNews.com. “If there is evidence there are people planning to disrupt the president at an event, then they have the right to exclude those people from those events.”
The White House later claimed the man who turned them away was a “volunteer” but did not identify him or his affiliation. Since the forum was considered an official event, neither the Colorado Republican Party nor its volunteers were involved, party officials said.
Duffy said the White House sends advance teams to deal with logistics for any official event. These teams typically handle the screening for speakers and audience members who will be sitting with or addressing the president during the event. They also keep an eye on the crowds for possible troublemakers.
He said he did not have further information on the Denver incident, but “from what I was told it was fairly obvious to them that they had plans to disrupt the event. ... It was a judgment call.”
That sounds awfully like a White House staffer who may have removed the three, which is a far cry from previous claims that it was a "volunteer" who may have acted overzealously. But as long as the blame is being cast on the White House, Beauprez can get around this one.
Meanwhile, Musgrave had plenty of strong words for Bush's "town hall" meetings...
“He is the president, and regardless of affiliation, everybody
should have the opportunity to go and see the president,” said Aaron
Johnson, spokesman for Rep. Marilyn Musgrave, R-Colo. “It shouldn’t be
the job of anybody to make sure the crowd is 100 percent sympathetic.”
Musgrave and Rep. Bob Beauprez, R-Colo., whose office had distributed the tickets to Young, Bauer and Weiss, both said the incident had been handled poorly and the three should have been allowed to attend. Democratic members had stronger words about the seeming exclusivity of Bush events.
Musgrave, wisely, doesn't want any part of this controversy either. She could have a tough re-election on her hands and doesn't need to give her opponents any more ammunition than they already have.