Soldier, Democratic supporter among those barred entrance
Depending on what side of the fence people are on, crowd control was at an all-time high or low at the Wachovia Arena in Wilkes-Barre Township during President Bush's visit Friday.
A 27-year-old registered Republican and member of the U.S. Army, along with three other people around him, was forced to leave the arena before getting inside.
The Wyoming Valley man who did not want to be identified by name because of his loyalty to his service members is being deployed to Iraq in two weeks. His Army service and status were verified.
He explained that he was attending the event in hopes of finding the right candidate to vote for on Nov. 2.
"I thought seeing Bush would be enough to sway my opinion one way or the other. After today, it definitely has swayed," he said.
While waiting in line, he noticed a stranger standing alone and invited the person to stand with him.
"I didn't think that would be a problem," he said.
It turned out to be.
Individuals from the Bush campaign spotted the individual with the soldier and identified the person as a Democratic supporter.
The spotters, and eventually police, asked the Democratic supporter to remove a jacket, a sweater and some other articles of clothing in what was described as basically a police search.
The soldier said the Democratic supporter did what was asked without any complaint. The person also provided a ticket to the event.
The soldier said that when he asked why the person was being hassled, the spotters said the Democrat's name wasn't on their "master list."
"So I asked if we could see the master list? They said they didn't have it," he said.
The soldier said he stood up for the supporter, but was in no way hostile, because he was there to see the president and hoped to justify voting for him.
Not long after showing his own ticket and being told he wasn't part of the "master list" either, the police asked the soldier to leave. He was told the event was for Bush supporters or undecided voters only.
Until Friday when he left the arena, the soldier was an undecided voter. Now he's voting for Sen. Kerry and volunteering for the Kerry-Edwards campaign.
"I thought the whole Bush message was compassionate conservatism. I didn't see anything compassionate from the Bush people," he said.
Saturday, October 23
Bush Storm Troopers Alienate Serviceman
On November 2nd, Bush will rue the day he screened people out of his pep rallies. Why do we keep hearing stories like this from the Bush squirt parties, but never from the Kerry rallies? I know. A stupid question.
Posted by Howard Hoffman at 10:06 PM