Bush protesters cite manual in new lawsuit

By Ann Imse, Rocky Mountain News
June 28, 2007
Two people ejected from a Bush speech in Denver over a bumper sticker have filed a second lawsuit, claiming a White House manual unlawfully bars potential critics of the president from public events.

The Presidential Advance Manual calls for Bush volunteers to distribute tickets in a manner to deter protesters and to stop demonstrators from entering. It also calls for "rally squads" to drown out demonstrators and get between them and news cameras. The manual was obtained through a deposition in a West Virginia case.

The new lawsuit was filed in Washington, D.C., by the American Civil Liberties Union on behalf of Leslie Weise and Alexander Young in Denver, and two people arrested at a presidential event in West Virginia because they were wearing anti-Bush T-shirts.

The lawsuit is aimed at Gregory Jenkins, a former deputy assistant to President Bush and White House director of advance, who ordered the four removed.
The combination of the manual and the exclusion of people who had not disrupted events "suggests there is a formal, official policy of trying to keep hidden from the press and the president anyone who disagrees with the president," said ACLU attorney Chris Hansen.

Hansen is arguing that people can be ejected from official presidential events "only upon disruption," and not because of their viewpoints. He wants a federal judge to declare unconstitutional the policy of excluding people from presidential events due to their viewpoints or on the assumption they will become disruptive.
The Justice Department, which is representing Jenkins in the Denver pair’s original lawsuit over their ejection, did not return a call and e-mail seeking comment.
Hansen said he was struck by the manual’s advice to ignore demonstrators who cannot be seen by the media. "The president must know there are people in this world who disagree with him," he said.

Weise and Young arrived at the taxpayer-financed event in Denver in March 2005 in a car with a bumper sticker that said, "No more blood for oil."
Twenty minutes after they entered and before Bush’s arrival, they were forced to leave.

In West Virginia, Jeffery and Nicole Rank refused to remove or cover their anti-Bush T-shirts at a presidential speech July 4, 2004, on the state Capitol grounds. They were arrested, while other people wearing pro- Bush slogans were not, the suit says.

White House manual excerpts:

"All presidential events must be ticketed or accessed by a name list. This is the best method for preventing demonstrators."

"It is important to have your volunteers at a checkpoint before the Magnetometers in order to stop a demonstrator from getting into the event."

"The advance person must decide if the solution would cause more negative publicity than if the demonstrators were simply left alone."