McCain Staff Ordered Librarian’s Removal

Bad news for GOP presidential nominee John McCain in the spin war over Monday’s problematic town hall in Denver, as the Denver Post reports:

It was Sen. John McCain’s staff who asked security at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts to remove people holding protest signs at the venue – not U.S. Secret Service agents, who were not involved in Carol Kreck’s ouster from the galleria.

A video of the incident circulating widely on the Internet shows a DCPA security guard saying that he was told by the Secret Service to remove Kreck, who was holding a paper sign that said “McCain = Bush.”

But Thursday, after two days of being vilified by bloggers, letter writers and others, the Secret Service emphatically denied involvement…

DCPA spokeswoman Suzanne Blandon said the guard who told Kreck to leave was “simply mistaken” in identifying the Secret Service as the agency that wanted her to leave. Blandon said the guard did not intend to use the Secret Service as leverage and did not mean to mislead anyone.

Frankly, it was looking bad for McCain’s “accessible” image whether it was the Secret Service who ordered Ms. Kreck’s removal or somebody else. But the Secret Service evidently didn’t want to take the fall for this one, as was eventually the case with the Denver Three as you may recall.

Based on this new information, it seems the Denver Police were following orders, the DCPA’s rent-a-cop too–albeit with some eyebrow-raising embellishment, and the Secret Service had no part in violating Ms. Kreck’s constitutional rights. We see no reason to disbelieve any of this.

So what’s left? Well, McCain staff apparently objecting to a sign in the line outside the event that read “McCain=Bush,” and entirely of their own volition ordering the signholder’s removal based on, as it turns out, dubious legal grounds.

Worst-case scenario, wouldn’t you say?

41 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. twas brillig says:

    If there are still any charges pending against the librarian, they could drop them faster than a hot yam and there’s still going to be a civil rights suit on them before it hits the floor.  

    • GoBuffs says:

      I love it.  

    • They’re pretty tasty, and I wouldn’t mind having one with my lunch…  🙂

      • bob ewegen says:

        Potatoes have a glycemic index anywhere from 85 (baked) to 99 (mashed) which means they spike your blood sugar. (Common table sugar is just 62)  Yams are superb, about a 34 glycemic index, very low. Sweet potatoes, which many people confuse with yams, though they are actually a different species, run in the mid-50s, still a moderate food.

        So in terms of controlling my diabetes,  I am what I yam, and that’s all that I yam!

    • Another skeptic says:

      Obama is hiding behind his campaign staff, and you guys are carping about a sign-carrying trouble makerk?

      This makes no sense, but that’s what you can expect during the campaign.

      • twas brillig says:

        People keep carping about it. What gives?  

      • Danny the Red (hair) says:

        That’s why the first ammendment is first.

        At least she wasn’t dumping any tea into the DCPA.

        • bob ewegen says:

          the first amendment only came in first because the real first and second weren’t ratified. The first was a formula for apportioning Congresws (it would have had about 5,000 members in th House today had it passed.)  The second proposal actually did pass a few years ago, about 200 years after it was submitted to the states! It’s the one about not raising congressional pay while you’re in office. So the founders intended our “first” amendment to be the third.

          As for Carol Kreck, I know her well. I wouldn’t be a bit surprised to see her dump tea into the Platte! No timid librarian, she, but a top flight reporter for The Post for more than 20 (probably more like 30) years before she left here in 2003.  One tough cookie!

          • Whiskey Lima Juliet says:

            No, I am not comparing Carol Kreck to Rosa Parks, but history is made, in some cases, by forcing an act to happen in a place where it can be recorded.  I am sure it was not by accident that Carol thought there was a good possibility she would get escorted out.  Thus challenging her first amendment rights.

  2. parsingreality says:

    …is McCain not seizing the opportunity to say that his people were responsible, he’s sorry for trampling on her rights.

    If he were to do so, it would all blow over. And what will “his people” do, work for Obama?

  3. Gecko says:

    say if me and several of my buddies went to an Obama rally with large posters reading “Hussein Obama for Dictator”?

    While waving rebel flags?

    Suppose my rights would be violated and we would be escorted away?

    Or maybe a large poster of a picture that is circulating around the net showing Obama wearing a turbin and sporting a Bin Laden beard? Would that be grounds for removal?

    Turn about is fair play. That old lady was looking to make a statement and deserved to be removed. She knew what would happen and that is the only reason she did it.

    Anyone denies that is a fool.

    • First, if you were doing it inside the rally, your rights wouldn’t be violated – you could be escorted away within the rights of whoever organized the rally as it is a private event.

      Second, we’ve already seen how Obama reacts to things like this: he calls up and personally apologizes for the inappropriate actions of his staffers.

    • twas brillig says:

      So having the word “Bush” on her sign is the equivalent the Stars & Bars, Saddam’s dictatorship, and Bin Laden all at the same time. The Republicans are in worse shape than I thought!  

    • Steve Balboni says:

      It iss your opinion that a sign that merely reads “McCain = Bush” is analogous to saying that Obama is a dictator? Or analogous to doctoring a photo to make Obama look like Osama bin Laden?

      I had no idea that my friends on the right thought that George W. Bush was a dictator and akin to Osama bin Laden. Thanks for clearing that up Gecko, good to know that you think our President is a terrorist.

      The kvetching over Ms. Kreck’s sign from the righties only makes sense if one assumes the supposition that Bush is evil or bad is objectively true. They’ve spent all of these years defending Bush and fluffing him as some sort of defender of freedom but suddenly comparing McCain to Bush is an insult of the highest magnitude?

      It must be hard to maintain such a high level of cognitive dissonance on a daily basis.  

      • what tha duce says:

        I think he is trying to point out that if the situation were reversed, he believes the Dems would react in the same manner. For instance, if the librarian had brought a sign that read, “McCain is a Terrorist…” or something more extreme than “McCain=Bush” (which we all realize has negative connotation), and she had been removed, Dems would still be in an uproar.

        But, Gecko, I don’t believe that if someone brought a sign to an Obama rally and stood on city property (remember the guy on Broadway and Colfax that used to hold signs about Clinton raping people?) that they would be removed in this manner. People would find it sickening if it said some of the things you mention, but it’s their right to be there. Now, if that individual entered the rally or inhibited people from going into the building, then there the right for removal is there.

  4. reefsaver says:

    The voters just don;t care about her. People recognize it for what it was.

    Next topic. I am not a whiner. Get rid of Gramm.

    • … then he goes back to not knowing anything about economics.  Which might be an improvement.

    • Steve Balboni says:

      You know it’s been a bad week for your candidate when his supporters point to his top economic adviser and campaign co-chair insulting millions of Americans to change the subject away from his staff’s thuggish and authoritarian actions regarding a 60 something year old librarian.  

    • ajb says:

      Do you mean that Kreck, the Denver police, McCain’s campaign, and the secret service were all in on this? THAT would be orchestrated.

      Maybe it’s your logic that’s in a mental recession.

    • RedGreen says:

      … as opposed to McCain’s town hall meeting or any other political event? Of course it’s orchestrated. Does that mean we should ignore the national conventions because they’re — gasp! — orchestrated?

  5. rocco says:

    Gecko, are you a gunny bob newman listener, or are you gunny bob newman?  

    • bob ewegen says:

      None of those categories apply to gunny bob.

      I appreciate the Gecko, he livens up this place and has a good heart. And I happen to know he is a secret admirer of Hillary, he only puts her down in public so Bill won’t get wise.

  6. Disinterested17 says:

    Just wait until the DNC kicks up, and the green party kooks are u-locking their necks together in the street.  This is going to get way uglier before it gets better…

  7. GeoGreg says:

    Isn’t the issue that Ms. Kreck was within the bounds of the DCPA, rather than on the public sidewalk along the street?  From what I remember, there are complex legal issues around what is and isn’t “public property” at DCPA.  Is anything owned by a government “public property”?  Do I have a right to run into the Caulkins Opera House during a performance of “Don Giovanni” waving a sign saying “Mozart=Salieri”?  How about if I and my friends wave a bunch of those signs outside the entrance in the same area where Ms. Kreck was?  Could DCPA ask me to leave?

    I’m as certain as I can be that the public sidewalk along the street would be open to any such protests.  But if DCPA or anyone renting space from them doesn’t want me waving a sign on their turf, I think they can get rid of me.  Whether it’s good PR or not is an entirely different subject.

    • Danny the Red (hair) says:

      Then she was standing outside on the DCPA plaza this is where they cited her.

      What I find interesting is they only gave her 2 options: stay and give up the sign or be cited and kicked off the property.  They didn’t offer her keep the sign and leave the property.

      Why I find this interesting is she complied when they asked her to leave the atrium, but this wasn’t enough, they didn’t want her standing on the DCPA plaza.

      Its a public space, I seem to rembember a bunch of tax payer money (A-I) is going to fund that place (two of the referendums supported DCPA–I didn’t want to give the DCPA any money and now that they are claiming they arenot public I think they should give it back)

    • As an RMN editorial pointed out that the past rulings did not extend to political speech:

      One reason the Galleria could not be considered a “designated public forum,” the court said, is because “Denver has neither in policy nor practice thrown open the Galleria for public expressive activity.” And yet by booking McCain’s town hall, the city had “thrown open” the Galleria for “public expressive activity.”

      DCPA might be able to supress non-political speech at a non-political event, but the 1st Amendment kicks in when we begin discussing political speech on tax-payer funded property.

      • kasieverding says:

        You could consider the sign to be a first amendment expression in the form of a petition to government.  It’s not like she held a sign saying “shop at __“.  

        What noone here has posted is anything the Galleria.  There must be something in writing somewhere about their rules. For instance, it might be in their leases. Maybe they represent to their tenants that certain things won’t be allowed.

        Did they get some sort of variance or tax deal? If so, they made representations about what would happen there.

  8. DavidThi808 says:

    There have been so very many, with so many people, it has to have happened by now. Yet no news stories like this. So I would assume that the Obama campaign is handling it in a manner people find reasonable. Otherwise we’ld see a story like this.

    • ekean says:

      The Obama campaign has, and has had for many months now a mantra of “Respect, Empower, Include”.  This applies in all cases at all times.  Regardless of what a person looks like, acts like, or what they say we give them the same respect as our most devoted supporters, the respect they deserve.  No one should ever be restricted from expressing their beliefs so long as they remain at the proper level of expressiveness.  (i.e. wearing a McCain t-shirt to the Caulkins Opera House, not yelling and waving a sign).  This is how I have interpreted our relationship with the people we meet everyday, this should not be intrepreted as official campaign policy.

  9. JO says:

    So, Denver has to say it’s okay to express a political opinion in a space that in all other respects is open to public access?

    This notion from the RMN and, more significantly, the eagerness of Denver’s Finest to jump in to arrest a person exercising her First Amendment rights, and to file charges against her (she was “trespassing” by virtue of carrying a sign with a message? Errrr….) bodes mighty ill for the August convention, to say nothing of how people in the Mile High city understand the Constitution of the United States.

    Since when does the Denver Police department take orders from private security guards? Seems that you can take the cop out of the sticks (maybe), but you can’t take the sticks out of the cop (manifestly).

    Obviously civil liberties hasn’t been part of the DPD’s standard training. That is the real issue here–not the nincompoopery of the McCainiacs.

  10. Canines says:

    Also, the part about the security guard had me smiling. The DCPA’s Suzanne Blandon seems to be saying that because he is not “a trained speaker,” and because it was “the height of the moment,” the words “Secret Service” just popped out of his mouth. Huh.

    Many of you have been inquiring about the status of legal proceedings. Colorado ACLU has deputized two attorneys to handle my case: criminal defense lawyer Pete Hedeen will take care of the trespassing charge. I will not pay a fine, I will not accept diversion. That leaves two options: dropped charges, or going to trial. After that is resolved, David Lane will proceed civilly.

    Sorry, Denver. Kerching!

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