Civil liberties T-shirts trigger 'alarm'
Janet Voorhies said she was curious to see how Republicans would react when she and two other women showed up at President Bush's Central Point rally wearing T-shirts stating "Protect Our Civil Liberties."
She got her answer before the president even spoke. The three women were ejected from the rally and escorted from the Jackson County Fairgrounds by state police officers who warned them they would be arrested if they tried to return.
Republican officials said they weren't exactly sure why a volunteer at the event demanded that the three women leave the rally. But a Bush campaign spokesman, Tracey Schmitt, said: "It is not the position of the campaign that wearing a T-shirt that says protect civil liberties is enough to conclude someone is disruptive."
Thursday night's action was the latest in a series of incidents in which people have been removed from Bush campaign events for expressing opposition to the president. Officials say the events are open to supporters and people who are considering voting for Bush, but they are quick to act when they think there is a possibility of disruption.
Voorhies, 48, a student teacher who lives in Ashland, said she and two other teachers obtained tickets to the event after saying they were undecided voters. She said she does not expect to vote for Bush, however.
She said the three decided to wear T-shirts that weren't critical of the president but expressed an issue "important to us. . . . We were testing the limits of the Republican Party, of who is allowed to be at a rally for the president."
Voorhies said the three made it through all three checkpoints and assured volunteers who questioned them that they would not disrupt the event. But when Voorhies was on her way to the bathroom, she was stopped by a volunteer who told her she wasn't welcome.
She said this volunteer pointed to her shirt and said it was "obscene."
***Thanks to Millage for this one