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Archive for December, 2007

Michelle Cunha of Hill, N.H. works for New Hampshire Peace Action, and she landed in the spotlight Monday when she was asked to leave Mitt Romney’s campaign event at Insight Technologies in Londonderry.

Cunha said she has been making the rounds of both Democratic and Republican contenders’ campaign stops, handing out list of questions for people to ask of the presidential candidates.

She finished passing out the leaflets on Monday and was sitting down to hear Romney, who had not yet arrived, when a man and a woman asked who she was with, why she was passing out the fliers and who invited her to the event.

Cunha said part of the conversation went like this: “We support this candidate, which is why we invited him. These don’t support him.” Then the two asked her to leave, and she did.

It was ironic, she said, because she originally went to Insight’s other Londonderry location by mistake, and employees there were not only helpful but gave her a map to help her find the right address. She was never told that she needed an invitation to get in, she said.

Insight Technologies did not immediately return questions seeking comment. The employee who collected the leaflets did not want to be interviewed. She referred questions to the company’s human resources office.

Romney ended up answering the questions Cunha had handed out after Herbert Hoffman of Maine asked him how he felt about the peace activist being tossed from the event. Hoffman showed Romney the leaflet and asked if the questions were toxic to him.

“There is nothing toxic to me,” he said. “I was on ‘Meet the Press’ yesterday.”

The questions on Cunha’s leaflets asked candidates who support ending the Iraq War if they would have the troops out by the end of 2009. For candidates who want to keep the troops there, the question is how they propose paying for a long-term military presence.

For more click here, here, and here

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Paul in Bedford

Ron Paul Encounter: Bedford Village Inn 12-19-07  

Ron Paul spoke this morning at the Bedford Village Inn in a continuation of the Politics and Eggs Candidate Series. During his stump speech Paul spoke at length about the economic crisis facing the United States. While speaking about the Iraq war Paul gave his typical pitch to the unconstitutional nature of the war, the amount of lives and dollars that are being needlessly wasted, and also called upon his fellow Republican candidates to come out against a nuclear first-strike with Iran. Erin Placey, of the American Friends Service Committee, was able to ask Congressman Paul to expand on this allusion to nuclear weapons.

Erin: First of all thank you for calling on your fellow running mates to commit to a no-first strike policy. I would like you to speak a little about the connections between nuclear power and the spread of this technology in terms of the growing concern of nuclear weapons proliferation – and also our constitutional commitments to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation treaty? 

Paul: I don’t believe that we should commit to just a not first nuclear strike policy, but also extend that to conventional weapons. I am for nuclear power. It is clean, it poses no real threat to anyone, and we should be using more of it. Government needs to get their hands out of the industry and let them regulate. Nuclear weapons are another matter. We are not following the NPT while forcing others to adhere to the terms. With the recent news that Iran halted its nuclear weapons program in 2003 they are perfectly within the guidelines of the NPT by pursing peaceful nuclear technology.  Iran is actually following the NPT more closely than the United States. We need to commit to the same standards that we are imposing on other countries and I think that if Iran wants to have nuclear power we have no business telling them no.

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Mitt Romney’s bad day yesterday just didn’t seem to end.

LONDONDERRY – A former CIA analyst turned critic of the U.S. tactics in the war on terror tried to “Ask Mitt Anything” yesterday and found the former Bay State governor knows how to sidestep a diplomatic incident.

Ray McGovern, who has gained national attention as a critic of President Bush’s policies, asked Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney to comment on a news item about the U.S. assessment of Iran’s nuclear intentions. The question came up during a campaign appearance at Insight, a Londonderry firm which designs and manufactures tactical gear for the military.

McGovern quoted an Israeli source who said American intelligence is flawed and vowed that Israel would not let U.S. policy be based on a faulty assumption. Then he asked Romney how he feels about allowing Israel to dictate U.S policy.

Romney replied that he was not convinced the Israelis were trying to dictate American policy.

“There are 16 different intelligence agencies saying Iran continues to develop the fuel they need (for nuclear weapons),” he said. Meanwhile, Iran has only stopped building the warhead.

“That’s relevant, of course,” Romney said. But nonetheless, he said Iran could have a bomb in two to four years. Romney said he favors tightening sanctions against Iran and repeated a call to indict Iran’s president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, for inciting genocide, quoting remarks Ahmadinejad made about wiping Israel off the map.

And the incident in which a New Hampshire Peace Action staff member was ejected from the event made the Concord Monitor also.

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Republican presidential hopeful, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney listens as Insight Technology buyer, Dena Vaudrien, right, explains why she removed leaflets passed out by a forum participant prior to Romney’s entrance at the facility in Londonderry, N.H. Monday, Dec. 17, 2007. The person distributing the leaflets was removed from the event. (AP Photo/Cheryl Senter)

Romney’s appearance at Insight veered off course when an attendee asked Romney why a woman — who turned out to be from the anti-war American Friends Service Committee *— had been thrown out while distributing cards with a series of questions. The attendee asked if organizers considered such questions “toxic material.”

Romney replied, “There is nothing that’s toxic to me; I was on “Meet the Press” yesterday, for Pete’s sake.” He then grabbed the card and answered a series of questions, which focused on the Iraq war and alternate uses for the money being spent in the battle.

*The reporter is mistaken. The woman is a staff member for New Hampshire Peace Action, not American Friends Service Committee.

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Yesterday one of New Hampshire Peace Action’s staff members attended Romney’s Londonderry event. While there, she passed out flyers to audience members before Governor Romney arrived.

Two individuals, a man and a woman,* came up to the staff member and asked her to leave. The staff member left without further incident. She was never able to see Governor Romney speak.

A reporter wrote about the transaction and how it affected Romney’s day:

The event Romney was hosting at Insight Technology** was supposed to be a military-focused event. Romney tends to group his events for a day — or sometimes for a week — around a certain issue area, which usually amounts to just a slightly bigger than usual focus on the area in his stump speech. Despite today’s focus the military, other than a voter who pressed him on Iraq, there was very little on the topic.

Late into the Q&A session, a man in the audience stood up and waved a questionnaire at him, explaining that a woman distributing them was escorted out of the room and had been told she wasn’t welcome at his event. He then asked if Romney supported that sort of thing, and if he would answer all questions.

Romney kept stating that he believed he answered the man by saying he answers questions. “I was on Meet the Press yesterday, for Pete’s sake.” Finally, he took the paper and indulged the man by speed-reading three questions and answering them, but he was visibly irritated.

The first question was about the cost of the war, and Romney fired back an answer he’s given before about his bigger concern with the war is the cost in lives, not dollars. “I don’t want to get out of Iraq to save money; I want to get out of Iraq to save lives,” he concluded.

There was another question about nuclear weapons, and he said he had spoken with Henry Kissinger yesterday, and he stressed that now is not the time for the United States to rid itself of nuclear arms, pointing out his lack of confidence in Kim Jong-Il and Mahmoud Ahmadinehad to completely denounce nuclear weapons in their own countries.

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*The two individuals did not identify themselves, nor which organization they were with: Romney’s campaign staff or Insight employees.

**Makers of destructive weapons, ones designed to take another’s life, right here in the Granite State.

Top photo from the Associated Press. The caption next to the photo says Republican presidential hopeful, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney addresses a leaflet that was passed by a forum participant, then quickly removed by Insight Technology staff during a forum in Londonderry, N.H. Monday, Dec. 17, 2007. (AP Photo/Cheryl Senter)

Bottom photo from Reuters. The caption says: Republican presidential candidate former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney holds up a pamphlet distributed at his campaign event by the American Friends Service Committee in Londonderry, New Hampshire December 17, 2007. An audience member asked Romney why the pamphlets, which featured questions about the war in Iraq, were taken away from audience members before Romney’s arrival. REUTERS/Brian Snyder (UNITED STATES)

The Nashua Telegraph also writes about the incident:

LONDONDERRY – Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney lashed back at an anti-Iraq war heckler and continued his attacks on GOP rival Mike Huckabee on Monday.

Romney was speaking to employees at Insight Technology, when a supporter of the American Friends Services Committee stood up to object to campaign aides scooping up fliers critical of Bush foreign policy in the Middle East prior to the candidate’s arrival.

“Your campaign seems to regard this as toxic material and gathered up all of this material. Why don’t you want to answer these questions,” an unidentified senior citizen asked Romney.

“I am happy to receive any question that you have. Feel free to ask any question that you would like,” Romney responded.

When the man declined to ask a specific question, Romney asked for the yellow flier that had been seized and began reading from it.

“The war in Iraq costs hundreds of millions of dollars every day. Over time it will cost hundreds of billions in interest,” Romney read. “In my opinion, that is simply the wrong way to state it. The right way to respond to this is the cost in blood, not cost in dollars.”

Employees at the company applauded Romney’s answer.

Insight Technology is a growing defense contractor making night vision goggles and heat-seeking detectors for the military.

Romney also objected to one question asking if the candidates favored getting all troops out by the end of 2009.

“I don’t get out of Iraq to save money, the reason I want to get out of Iraq is to save lives,” Romney began.

“What possible patriot would suggest we take our troops out regardless of the consequences to our nation? We would be nuts to get out before that job were done.”

It even made USA Today.

Click here to see more pictures.

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A flyer questioning the cost of the Iraq War was placed in McCain’s hands.

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Daniel Webster College, Nashua, 16 December 2007

 

Summary of interactions after Clinton’s speech:

JE – What are we going to do about nuclear weapons?

HC – We need to have treaties.

JE – What about abolition?

HC – I stand by the Perry statement.

AA – Would you support a no first use policy?

HC – Yes.

AA – You would support no first use?

HC – No. I’m not going to discuss nuclear policy on a rope line.

AA – Would you read something I’ve written and get back to me?

HC – Does it have your address?

AA – Yes it has my email. [Arnie hands her a copy of his Concord Monitor column]

HC – OK

HC is Hillary Clinton

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