Press still kept from mingling with crowds at Palin events

The same as at her rally in Golden last month, Gov. Sarah Palin’s handlers are keeping the press from talking with her supporters, according to a St. Petersburg Times reporter writing on the paper’s political blog Monday afternoon:

Constantly under the watchful eyes of security, the media wasn’t permitted to wander around inside Coachman Park to talk to Sarah Palin supporters. When reporters tried to leave the designated press area and head toward the bleachers where the crowd was seated, an escort would dart out of nowhere and confront him or her and say, “Can I help you?” and turn the person around.

When one reporter asked an escort, who would not give her name, why the press wasn’t allowed to mingle, she said that in the past, negative things had been written. The campaign wanted to avoid that possibility Monday.

When Palin spoke at the Jefferson County Fairgrounds on Sept. 15, the press was kept behind steel barriers and told they could not mingle with the crowd or ask questions of Palin supporters. The Colorado Independent roamed the event freely, having entered with supporters carrying a regular ticket, but Denver Post reporter John Ingold summed up the establishment media’s frustration in a live-blog post from Golden:

8:13 a.m. JI: If some of these posts have an on-the-outside-looking-in quality to them, well, that’s because the media is being kept apart from the crowd behind barricades. We’ve been told we can’t walk through the crowd and talk to people. The few people who are getting interviewed are leaning up against the barricades. One family has now been interviewed at least three times by various reporters desperately seeking color.

The Alaska governor “lived up to her ‘Barracuda’ nickname” Monday morning at a rally in Clearwater, Fla., the St. Pete Times reports, tearing into Barack Obama with attacks on his “left-wing agenda” and more jabs at his relationship with a Chicago professor who was part of the Weather Underground four decades ago:

She told the crowd that Obama is a defeatist on the Iraq war, suggested he did not support the troops in Afghanistan and said that no matter what he says he will raise people’s taxes. She hammered Obama for his association with 1960s radical William Ayers, who in 1995 hosted a reception for Obama at his home.

It’s on the same campaign swing through Florida where Palin was introduced Monday in Estero by the Lee County sheriff, who excited the crowd by invoking Obama’s middle name:

“On Nov. 4, let’s leave Barack Hussein Obama wondering what happened,” the law enforcement officer said.

According to the CBS News From the Road blog, the Palin campaign issued the following disclaimer immediately after the sheriff’s remarks:

“We do not condone this inappropriate rhetoric which distracts from the real questions of judgment, character, and experience that voters will base their decisions on this November.”

That’s right, stick with the campaign-approved rhetoric to distract from the real questions.

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