We've all heard these stories about folks getting ejected from Bush-Cheney events for wearing Kerry-Edwards T-shirts or not signing Bush loyalty oaths. This story at ABCNews.com has some elements of false parity between Bush-Cheney and Kerry-Edwards in the way the piece is structured (especially the lede). But on balance it's a clever and very revealing piece.
ABC got a group of its producers to go to Bush-Cheney and Kerry-Edwards events wearing the other campaign's T-shirts. The rules were to get the tickets completely legitimately and maintain entirely courteous behavior at the events.
In other words, the only issue was the T-shirts.
At one Kerry-Edwards event, the BC04-clad producers were surrounded by sign waving Kerry supporters, in attempt to make the purported Bush supporters invisible to the press. In this case, one of the volunteers later said, "My job tonight was to run interference so that we didn't have any negative situation on our hands ... Our job was to stand in front of them and make sure that, number one, that press had access to Kerry stuff and not necessarily Bush."
At another event, a Kerry campaign worker approached the producers and told them that they had the right to eject them if they made any disturbance. The guy in this case told them, "We hold the right to remove you, but other than that, enjoy and hopefully at the end of the event you'll want to wear a Kerry T-shirt."
You could say it didn't go quite so well in Bush-Cheney land. When the producers tried to get into a BC04 event, they simply weren't allowed in at all.
A campaign volunteer told them: "I'm sorry, but they're Kerry shirts ... We were told not to let people with Kerry shirts into the rally."
And then this happened ...
And as they approached the gates of the stadium, Lance "Chip" Borman, a Bush campaign worker and attorney who worked for the Coalition Provisional Authority in Iraq, directed them toward the Brevard County sheriff's deputies waiting at the exit.
"Hey folks, it's a private event," he said. "Can you find your way to the nearest exit? Maybe some law enforcement can help?"
Maybe some law enforcement can help. That's adorable.
When some others slipped into their Kerry-Edwards-wear when they were already inside, this happened ...
A second team of ABC News producers waited until entering Space Coast stadium before showing its Kerry-Edwards T-shirts, but was still quickly spotted and ordered out by Borman, who identified himself as working for the Republican National Committee.
He said the rally of some 18,000 people was a "private event," and it made no difference that producers Christine Romo and Jessica Wang had tickets and remained silent and respectful.
"But you wore the shirts; you wore the shirts," Borman said. "And honestly, if you would have come without the shirts and sat quietly, you would have had a fun time and enjoyed it, but I mean it's not that kind of event." He then instructed the sheriff's deputies to escort the ABC News team out to the parking lot.
A bit different, no? But I guess that's the leadership principle for ya ...