Two Denver residents filed a federal lawsuit last week after being forcibly removed in March 2005 from an event with President Bush for their perceived political views. We speak with Alex Young and Leslie Weise about the details of the case. [includes rush transcript]
President Bush is arriving in Denver today where he is scheduled to make an appearance at a fundraising dinner for Colorado Congressmember Marilyn Musgrave and boost her campaign fund for the 2006 mid-term elections. While the guest list for the event is being finalized, two Denver residents are definitely not invited–Leslie Weise and Alex Young.
Last March, they attended a Bush town hall discussion on privatizing Social Security in Denver. Even though they had tickets for the event, they were promptly ejected from the building along with their friend Karen Bauer. This allegedly because of a bumper sticker on their car reading, "No More Blood for Oil." Eight of the nine members of the Colorado congressional delegation have publicly condemned the incident. Both Democrats and Republicans have called for answers from the White House. The American Civil Liberties Union filed a federal lawsuit last week on behalf of Weise and Young, charging White House event staffers with unlawfully removing the two from the event.
- Alex Young
- Leslie Weise
For more information: DenverThree.org
AMY GOODMAN: Leslie Weise and Alex Young join us on the phone right now from Denver. We welcome you both. At the time we talked to you, Alex, when Democracy Now! was broadcasting from Denver, you didn’t know who it was who was wearing an earpiece, and you thought he was Social Security, that told you to get out. You know now?
ALEX YOUNG: We thought he was the Secret Service, actually. Amy. But, you know, basically, we’ve learned that this person is Mike Casper, and he’s a federal employee. He’s done security at two [inaudible] before. But most importantly, I think, it’s important to follow the earpiece and find out who was giving orders to the White House event staffers in Denver on that day and how high up in the White House this policy of removing citizens went. Was Karl Rove involved in drafting it? I think that’s an important question.
AMY GOODMAN: And so, you have sued who, Leslie?
LESLIE WEISE: We have sued — we’ve named Mike Casper. And we’ve named Jay Bob Klinkerman, who were two of the people we know were involved in our physical removal from the event that day. We’ve also named five other unnamed defendants, because there were other people involved in our removal that we don’t know who the identities of these people are, but we intend to find out through the discovery process of the litigation.
AMY GOODMAN: Alex, why you saying Karl Rove has some connection here?
ALEX YOUNG: Well, it would just make sense. It’s obviously a policy that’s in place across the nation, from Fargo, North Dakota, where 42 people were removed — or not removed, but not allowed to even get tickets to the event, because they had published letters critical of the President in the newspaper, to the very same day we were removed, there was a student who was removed in Arizona for having a t-shirt on that had a Democratic slogan on it. Then you have all other places across the nation, from Oregon to New Hampshire, people are just not allowed into these events because of their political viewpoints. It’s obviously a policy, and we just want to know how high up in the administration it goes.
AMY GOODMAN: Well, I know there’s going to be a protest outside the Brown Palace this morning in protest of the Bush visit. Will you both be there?
ALEX YOUNG: I think I’m going to take break on this one. It would probably be in poor taste to be there, since we’re already suing people inside of the administration to try to disclose this policy. But I definitely think that people need to respect the viewpoints of all Americans, whether or not they’re in line with —
AMY GOODMAN: Alex Young, we have to leave it there. Alex and Leslie Weise, I want to thank you very much for being with us.