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Inquirer “Reports” on Weldon Campaign August 8, 2006

Posted by papundit in Uncategorized.
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The Philadelphia Inquirer’s Todd Mason today picks up the pro-Sestak PA-7 Watch Blog’s Saturday talking pointsand runs them as a “news” report.  What happened that was worth a 6-column spread?  The “news” story is so littered with nonsequiters and barbs at the Weldon campaign that it takes a lot of reordering and editing to figure out what actually prompted this, but each of the following sentences is taken verbatim from the story:

Weldon’s campaign had been given an e-mail from MoveOn appealing for volunteer protesters, said Michael Puppio, his campaign manager.

Given the “occasional extreme quality of organizations like MoveOn, we thought it was prudent to notify law enforcement,” he said. That will be the Weldon campaign’s standard campaign practice, he said.

Expecting a demonstration by the liberal activist group MoveOn.org, Weldon’s campaign called the police to a campaign event Friday in Springfield, Delaware County.

The officer responding found only Ross Doppelt, 18, a campaign volunteer from Havertown for Democratic challenger Joe Sestak. 

When he didn’t find any marchers or placards, he approached Weldon’s staff, who pointed out Doppelt “as a possible protester,” said Police Lt. William Clark. “He wasn’t doing anything,” Clark said. The police wouldn’t intervene in a lawful protest, he said.

“I wasn’t completely sure why they came up to me and no one else,” Doppelt said of his meeting with Springfield’s finest.

Wow, stop the presses!  MoveOn threatened a protest of a campaign event, the campaign let the police know, and when only one volunteer showed up the police checked him out and moved on.

Interestingly, someone close to the Weldon campaign posted a comment (second one on the page) following the original PA7Watch blog entry with a different perspective:

This post and story is a bunch of utter crap. I was at the doctors event where Weldon was endorsed by doctors — becuase Sestak’s in the pocket of trial lawyers — and Weldon went up the the intern [Ross Doppelt], kindly introduced himself and told him he was welcome to stay as his guest. At no point did Weldon tell him not to audio record the event, although I believe one of the doctors made a blanket request at the beginning of the event to everyone in attendance.

On to yesterday’s event. The Weldon campaign received word that moveon.org may be planning to disrrupt the event through unknown means and local police were asked, in advance of the event, if they might drive by at some point just to ensure that no problems occurred between Weldon supportes and potentially unruly moveon.org members.

If the police said anything to the intern, it was of their own volition, unprompted by any member of the Weldon staff. I find it disgusting that the Sestak campaign would use an 18 year old to try to smear the Weldon camp in such a way, especially on such unfound charges. And I’m disappointed that the 18 year old would allow himself to be used as a pawn in this manner, especially given the respect Weldon has personally shown him. Where is the honor in that?

This was the third time this intern has been at a Weldon event in the past week and he has never been asked to leave and has been treated by our campaign staff with courtesy and respect. That’s more than I can say about how Weldon staff has been treated when they attempted to attend Sestak events at his campaign headquarters.

One other amusing feature of the Inquirer’s story is its trumpeting in the subhead and fourth paragraph that Ross Doppelt is an Eagle Scout.  And not in a bad way, apparently.  I imagine the Inquirer’s style guide on this subject reads something like: “Boy Scouts are to be derided at all times as homophobes, except when they are Democrats, in which case their membership in that conservative organization is to be trumpeted as evidence of their patriotism and civic credentials.”

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