This article discusses Bush's social security dog and pony shows at the taxpayer's (OUR) expense. Waxman says the president should not be using our money to mount a political agenda using propaganda and lobbying tactics. Says such behavior is an abuse of power. (I am glad someone is finally calling Bush on it. He has been abusing presidential power since he moved into the White House.)
Rocky Mountain News
Sen. Wayne Allard
Waxman seeks cost of Bush trips
Allard joins chorus of Colorado officials opposed to ouster of trio from speech
By Ann Imse, Rocky Mountain News
April 8, 2005
Spurred by the ouster of three Denver residents from a speech by President Bush last month, a congressman is seeking a formal accounting of the cost of Bush's Social Security trips.
Rep. Henry Waxman, of California, the ranking Democrat on the House Committee on Government Reform, also is questioning whether the White House is using taxpayer funds for political purposes.
"Informing the public is the president's responsibility; using taxpayer resources to mount a sophisticated propaganda and lobbying campaign is an abuse of the president's high office," Waxman said.
Meanwhile, Republican Sen. Wayne Allard on Thursday became the seventh member of the Colorado congressional delegation to say that people should not be removed from a presidential event for a bumper sticker - as happened March 21 in Denver.
In that case, three people who had done nothing wrong said they were ejected from a Social Security town hall meeting by a man who looked and acted like a Secret Service agent.
The Secret Service investigated the incident and reported that the man was a Republican Party staffer. The agency told the three that the man admitted removing them solely because they arrived in a car bearing a "No more blood for oil" bumper sticker.
The White House has said that the man removed them "out of concern they might try to disrupt the event."
In response to a query, Allard also said he disagreed with pulling someone from a presidential appearance because of a belief he might disrupt it.
Allard has had 700 town hall meetings in his career and all have been open to everyone, said his press secretary, Angela de Rocha.
The Denver incident was one of a number of events cited by Waxman in a letter asking the Government Accountability Office to calculate the cost of the president's "60 Stops in 60 Days" Social Security campaign.
Waxman said that expelling people with contrary views and promoting a partisan agenda are "hallmarks of campaign events, not government-funded political meetings."
A student was barred from a similar event in Arizona for wearing a Young Democrats T-shirt.
In North Dakota, a list surfaced that banned 42 people from getting tickets to another Bush speech in the campaign.
White House spokesman Allen Abney has refused to provide the cost of the Social Security trips, saying it is wrapped up in the annual presidential travel budget.
Taxpayers have paid more than $2 million just for the flights in the Social Security campaign, which is a bit more than half over, according to calculations made by The Washington Post.
Democratic Reps. Diana DeGette and Mark Udall and Sen. Ken Salazar have asked for investigations into the Denver incident.
Taking issue with Social Security campaign
• Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif.: "Informing the public is the president's responsibility; using taxpayer resources to mount a sophisticated propaganda and lobbying campaign is an abuse of the president's high office."
• Sen. Wayne Allard, R-Colo.: Seventh member of the Colorado congressional delegation to say people should not be removed from a presidential event for a bumper sticker- as happened March 21.
imsea@RockyMountainNews.com or 303-892-5438
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