RON PAUL SUPPORTERS MISTREATED DURING RNC CONVENTION
NWV News Director, Jim Kouri
Posted 1:00 AM Eastern
September 8, 2008
While millions of Americans watched the 2008 Republican Convention on television, the well-staged event wasn't all peaceful and enthusiastic, according to several delegates attending the St. Paul, Minnesota event.
Several delegates -- who are avowed Ron Paul supporters -- claim they were treated shabbily at best, harshly at worst.
"While almost every other GOP contender for president was permitted to speak at the convention, Ron Paul was not. The word was that Paul was invited, with the natural caveat that he (like the other speakers) endorse McCain for president, which Paul was reportedly unwilling to do," said a McCain delegate from West Virginia.
"Instead, Paul held a separate 'convention' for one day at the Target Center in Minneapolis," said the WV delegate.
The McCain campaign and the Republican National Committee were unnecessarily nervous about the presence of Ron Paul delegates at the XCel Energy Center, and sometimes that fact was reflected in unwarranted actions, such as someone yanking away a banner proclaiming the word "Liberty" being held by a handful of Paul delegates outside the building, according to several delegates.
In fact, several told NewsWithViews.com that while the Rep. Paul delegates demonstrated little, if any, support for McCain throughout the convention -- mostly sitting quietly on their hands while the rest of the crowd erupted around them -- they caused no problems and were respectful and polite, including the Paul delegates from West Virginia.
"The Ron Paul movement has brought thousands of young people into the political process -- shouldn't the GOP find ways to welcome them rather than alienate them?” said "Patrick," a delegate and Ron Paul supporter from Maine.
The Maine delegate claimed that these was probably a larger contingent of military and police than there were delegates and alternates.
"Buses, each with an armed law enforcement official [took] us from the hotel to the convention [center] each day. Upon arrival you go through two levels of electronic security like the airport. Once you arrive on the convention floor, they have security guards every ten feet facing the rows of delegates," said Patrick.
Delegates were not allowed to speak throughout the convention. Periodically the security guards, would tell the delegates to rise and cheer. Prior to the convention, delegates were told no banners or signs would be allowed, several sources told NewsWithViews.
At opening of the convention, the convention floor was flooded with McCain banners. At different times, there was a large contingent of men with McCain baseball caps at the entranceway out of sight at the entrances to the aisles.
When former Democrat Joe Lieberman or one of the other McCain celebrities were introduced, the young men with red baseball caps were released and sent down the aisles to cheers and then returned to back of the convention floor to await the next cue to fill the aisle make it appear that the convention floor was filled.
Several delegates complained that anything proposed by Rep. Ron Paul or his staff was not included in the list of Platform resolutions. In addition, no Ron Paul delegate was allowed to serve on either the Platform Committee or the Rules Committee.
"No delegate or alternate had an opportunity to read the rules because they were not made available until the start of the convention," said another Ron Paul supporter.
"Thus the opportunity to offer floor amendments was impossible. As a Ron Paul delegate, I was made to feel like a turd in a punch bowl.....may have something to do with the large Ron Paul button I was wearing and my refusal to stand amidst all the cheering for folks like Joe Lieberman," said the Maine delegate.
"When asked by the Maine delegation Whip if I would vote for John McCain, I told him I would be voting for Ron Paul. His reply was [that] the Maine delegation would not announce 20 votes for John McCain and 1 for Ron Paul. Rather they would just announce 20 votes for McCain. Apparently, he felt that uttering Ron Paul's name would be giving Ron Paul too much publicity," said the angry delegate.
"More than one delegate shared the view that control over the delegates' speech and movements, along with the ever-present police, seemed somewhat intimidating," said political strategist Mike Baker.
"Were it not for the wonderful hospitality of the legion of Minneapolis and St. Paul volunteers and staff who catered to our every whim, this would have been a pretty dismal experience."
"I guarantee you that none of John McCain supporters, if there were any were mistreated at the Ron Paul's rally at the Target Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota. This proves that the Republican Party has lost its way," added Baker.
Security was especially tight the final day when McCain was present, with the Transportation Security Administration - in charge.
Drew Ivers, long-time GOP activist who headed the Ron Paul delegation to the RNC convention, told NewsWithViews he had been forced to surrender a tiny penknife he carries with him - although he had been able to bring it through the security clearance the three previous days with no problems.
It has a tiny blade, but the TSA official told Ivers his knife would have been confiscated even if it had been only a quarter of an inch long.
Ivers said he found it "really ironic" that McCain "was promising to reduce the size of government - and just moments before my knife had been confiscated by federal agents."
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"In my opinion that is excessive government," Ivers exclaimed. "The terrorists have won - we're being forced to give up our liberties in the name of being protected against terrorism."
He said that Ron Paul was "right on target" in his speech at Target Center. "He [Paul] said we should not be asked to give up one ounce of our civil liberties and that's what we're doing."
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