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The White House Crowd Control Manual 162

Posted by kdawson
from the sliencing-free-speech-silently dept.
quizzicus writes "The Washington Post writes today about a sensitive White House document detailing how to screen for, silence, and remove protesters who show up at the President's public appearances. Obtained by an ACLU subpoena in the Rank v. Jenkins case, the Presidential Advance Manual (PDF) is dated October 2002. It lays out strategies such as searching audience members at the door for hidden protest material, strategically placing 'rally squads' throughout the crowd to intercept and shout down hecklers, and forcefully removing dissenters who cannot be squelched. The manual advises, however, that staff should 'decide if the solution would cause more negative publicity than if the demonstrators were simply left alone.'"
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The White House Crowd Control Manual

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  • by TripMaster Monkey (862126) on Thursday August 23, 2007 @08:04AM (#20329001)
    Nothing for you to see here. Please move along.
  • by TripMaster Monkey (862126) on Thursday August 23, 2007 @08:08AM (#20329051)
    From TFA:

    But that does not mean the White House is against dissent -- just so long as the president does not see it. In fact, the manual outlines a specific system for those who disagree with the president to voice their views. It directs the White House advance staff to ask local police "to designate a protest area where demonstrators can be placed, preferably not in the view of the event site or motorcade route."


    Not only does Chimpy not see it, but no one else sees it, either, thanks to the complicit corporate media.

    If this was a Peter Sellers movie, it would be hilarious. Unfortunately, it's not a movie. We're actually living this.
    • by Moryath (553296) on Thursday August 23, 2007 @08:59AM (#20329725)
      is that while those who insist on hating Bush think this is news, this has been "crowd control" tactics for pretty much every political rally or protest that has ever existed.

      Democrats regularly strip off shirts and try to confiscate signs that are critical of them at their rallies. Try bringing a counter-sign to one of the Muslim KKK / "Pro-Palestine" events sometime, and see what happens. If you're lucky, they'll just try to cover your sign with theirs or grab it from your hands and rip it up and stomp on it; if you're not, you'll be physically attacked for being a "Jew."

      I took a sign asking Obama what he thinks of the racial supremacist [blogspot.com] views of his "church": when I held it up at his rally, it lasted about 30 seconds, then one of his "staffers" pointed at me and sent cronies into the crowd to take it from my hands and rip it up. Seems they don't want the truth about him pointed out.
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        void republician_retort(point accusation_of_fascism){

        if(exists(democracts.spurious_similarity(accusatio n_of_fascism))){

        play_up(democracts.spurious_similarity(accusation_ of_fascism));

        }
        else{

        play_down(accusation_of_fascism);

        }

        if(exists(democrats.main_candidate.opportunity_to_ discredit(accusation_of_fascism))){

        democrats.main_candidate.discredit(accusation_of_f ascism)

        }

        fox_news.discredit_democrats();

        }
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        Democrats regularly strip off shirts and try to confiscate signs that are critical of them at their rallies.

        Or just beat the ever living crap out of them. [ijot.com]
      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by plague3106 (71849)
        Seems like a legal case to me. What legal right gives one citizen the ability to take property from another citizen, because they disagree with the view?
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by morari (1080535)

        I took a sign asking Obama what he thinks of the racial supremacist [blogspot.com] views of his "church">

        From the link that you provided:

        We are a congregation which is Unashamedly Black and Unapologetically Christian . . . Our roots in the Black religious experience and tradition are deep, lasting and permanent. We are an African people, and remain "true to our native land," the mother continent, the cradle of civilization.

        Now that is interesting. Unapologetically Christian blacks that remain true to their native land...

      • by RevHawk (855772) on Thursday August 23, 2007 @10:06AM (#20330665)
        As a white member of the denomination Barack is part of, and someone who has attended many services, known many of it's clergy (including head pastor, and been friends with many members, I can say the church he belongs to is anything but racist. Yes, they are strongly afro-centric. But white people CAN attend (and are welcomed warmly), as well as join. So before going off, why don't you seek to understand WHAT they say and believe? Or is tossing out insults and soundbytes just too easy and convenient?
      • by posterlogo (943853) on Thursday August 23, 2007 @12:40PM (#20332787)
        lol. instead of acknowledging the merits of this particular topic, you try and make comparisons. the good old "democrats did it too!" whine. when it's a democrat president, we SHOULD hold them to the same standards. RIGHT NOW, however, the buck stops with Bush. This crowd control is a pathetic attempt to stifle alternative, constitutionally protected view points. clearly you're on the republican side. i'm on the american side.
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by sumdumass (711423)
          The reason the "Democrats do it too" always get spouted is because they get a pass on it. This isn't a tit for tat attempt to say they are just as bad. It is a question to why is it an issue now when a republican does it but wasn't a problem at all when the democrats did it. There seems to be a huge double standard on a lot of things like this.

          And even though it might be bad now, the real question is why is it bad now. Was it bad then and we just accepted it because the democrats were the ones doing it whic
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Lord Ender (156273)
        From your website:

        All of this should raise at least as many questions about Obama as Mitt Romney's Mormonism raises about him.

        I don't see how they compare. In relatively recent history, the Mormon church tried to establish a theocratic state, and even executed non-mormons who entered their state (in front of their children). Only a few decades ago, the head of the Mormon church said that black people were representatives or Satan.

        Obama's church has some "us vs them" and otherwise regressive philosophies, bu

      • by phorm (591458)
        To my understanding, previous presidencies did not have specific "free speech" zones. I was astounded when I heard these passed in the US without a major uprising.
      • by FauxReal (653820)
        I have a white friend who was the nanny of his children for a while back in Chicago... she says she would definitely vote for him cause he's a great guy and his family environment was wonderful. I dunno if they ever talked politics, but either way he didn't sound racist to me... but then again... she was working FOR him.
    • Not only does Chimpy not see it, but no one else sees it, either, thanks to the complicit corporate media.
      Remind me again, why is our media granted so much privilege?
  • by A beautiful mind (821714) on Thursday August 23, 2007 @08:11AM (#20329089)
    The manual is [redacted], otherwise [redacted].

    [redacted]

    I think I should finish this long post by summarizing my opinion about the [redacted] manual which is: [redacted].
    • by TripMaster Monkey (862126) on Thursday August 23, 2007 @08:19AM (#20329193)
      I thought you were making a clever, but nonspecific, joke. Then I actually looked through the PDF of the manual.

      You gotta wonder...if an open admission that this administration is actively working to squelch the First Amendment rights of American citizens wasn't redacted, what was?
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Dausha (546002)
        "You gotta wonder...if an open admission that this administration is actively working to squelch the First Amendment rights of American citizens wasn't redacted, what was?"

        What the Court said could be redacted, most likely to ensure operations of the Secret Service that safeguard the President are keep off /.

        You should remember that in cases like this, the Secret Service exerts a great deal of influence. Their job is to protect the President and First Family (and political candidates in the right context).
        • Except in this case, they're "protecting" the presidency from uncomfortable questions and counterpositions. I think this falls solidly into the "names will never hurt me" category.

          Great job, spooks! Keep those fragile politico egos intact!
          • by Dausha (546002)
            "Except in this case, they're 'protecting' the presidency from uncomfortable questions and counterpositions."

            You may be right about that. However, we don't know what's in the redacted prose. I gather from what is available that the Service does not engage in that activity, with it being left up to "volunteers," which are obviously political operators.

            My lament is that the time has passed where a President can walk down the sidewalk alone. I've seen a photo of Theodore Roosevelt churning down the sidewalk, a
      • by Kjella (173770) on Thursday August 23, 2007 @02:04PM (#20334085) Homepage
        Presumably all the technical details on how they operate? Security zones, agent placement, infiltrator placement (probably in any big crowd), sniper placement, escape route strategy, alert conditions, evacuation conditions, how to handle panics and stampedes and so on. Remember some of that military docs that weren't properly censored? It was basicly full of what to us was trivia on a small section of Iraq, but to them it was classified details on how they operate. It's not necessarily so that the information they were most interested in protecting is the most important for the public.
      • You gotta wonder...if an open admission that this administration is actively working to squelch the First Amendment rights of American citizens wasn't redacted, what was?

        You are absolutely correct that it is a First Amendment issue - but you have the agressor and the aggrieved reversed.

        The law is absolutely clear that when one party is exercising his right to speak, any second party that attempts to interfere is in the wrong. It's also absolutely clear that it doesn't matter who the party of the f

    • by Kymri (1093149) on Thursday August 23, 2007 @08:37AM (#20329427)
      That would be really funny if (literally!) nearly 90% of the document wasn't redacted.

      Since it IS the cast that about 90% of the document is redacted, it is merely very, very sad.
  • Tagged Republican? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by faloi (738831) on Thursday August 23, 2007 @08:13AM (#20329115)
    Because Democrats [counterpunch.org] would never do that, amirite?
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by PJ1216 (1063738) *
      Pointing out one event doesn't carry the same weight as an administration that apparently does it at every speech and who wrote a manual on the subject...
    • by svendsen (1029716) on Thursday August 23, 2007 @08:30AM (#20329339)
      So because one side did it, it justifies the other side doing it? Please.

      Free speech zones, cant wear shirts, hire people to protect against the protesters, make people remove shirts to see if they have anything underneath someone might not like, etc. goes against what this country was founded on.

      You can't be president and say you are protecting free speech at a rally, when at the rally you have people arrested for wearing a shirt with a red cross through your name.

      And now I have to type this paragraph because of all the bush trolls. When kerry did the plus unbutton your shirt to make sure you don't have another bad shirt underneath disgusted me just as much.

      • by faloi (738831)
        Nah, I'm not saying that two wrongs make a right. Just that it happens on both sides, neither is free from blame. The whole political process right now is just...sickening.
        • by svendsen (1029716)
          Can't argue with you at all. I was watching the south park episode last night when the kids have to decide between the giant douche and the turd sandwich. It's what it has all come down to now a days. You have to be super rich to run, and if you are super rich you can not possibly represent the middle class or poor.

          Elections will now boil down to : which lobbying group behind the candidates do I like/hate the least. lol
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Some_Llama (763766)
          "Just that it happens on both sides, neither is free from blame."

          Then instead of pointing the finger at the other side when it DOES happen.. you should be lining up with your fellow Americans and decry the practice in whole. Otherwise it just makes you look like you are defending the practice of one side because "the other side does it too".

          Then when democrats do the same thing you can decry that as well and not look a hypocrite.

          This goes for all partisan bickering.. we need to point out EVERY infraction no
      • Re: (Score:1, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Free speech zones, cant wear shirts, hire people to protect against the protesters, make people remove shirts to see if they have anything underneath someone might not like, etc. goes against what this country was founded on.
        That's right. This country was founded on the right to wear shirts and bare arms.
      • by pi_rules (123171)

        When kerry did the plus unbutton your shirt to make sure you don't have another bad shirt underneath disgusted me just as much.
        But... I bet you voted for one of them.
    • by Nimey (114278)
      Do you respond to attacks on Bush with "but Clinton"?

      If you do, FOAD.
    • by 0xdeadbeef (28836) on Thursday August 23, 2007 @09:20AM (#20330005) Homepage Journal
      Know who else put six million people in a permanent free speech zone?

      The But But! corollary: In any discussion of traditional political malfeasance, someone will find a similar but much less egregious offense by someone slightly less conservative and claim equivalence, and therefore, that no offense has taken place at all.

      Feel free to add "Democrats" to a gun-grab or MPAA pandering, but the Republicans own this kind of shit, and that ain't ever going to change.
  • nothing new here (Score:2, Informative)

    by downix (84795)
    People have spoken of this issue since Bush was even campaigning. Are you surprised that they actually had a manual for it?
    • Am I surprised that they have a manual detailing how to put a muzzle on free speech? Yes, yes I am.

      LOL JUST KIDDING
  • And I think a Democrat president, if he we smart, would have a manual on it, too. What is the big deal?

    Just another inflammatory, irrelevant article from kdawson. This article belongs in politics, not YRO.
    • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

      by mroberts47 (1073802)
      Exactly, I am sure presidents (not to mention other heads of state) have all had polices that dictate what do do on this subject. I would do it, you would do it, and I am sure most of the world would do it. Honestly, no story here.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by phoenixwade (997892)

      And I think a Democrat president, if he we smart, would have a manual on it, too. What is the big deal?

      Just another inflammatory, irrelevant article from kdawson. This article belongs in politics, not YRO.

      You are right, he (or she) would. It would shock me to find out that every President since LBJ DIDN'T have a manual or an equivalent set of written orders. After the numerous sets of really negative (from the seated administrations point of view) protesters showing up in a crowd since the Vietnam era.

      And you're right, it does belong in a different category that Your Rights ONLINE. It don't think it's inflammatory or irrelevant, though (except that it's not relevant to online rights).

      As to what the big

    • by Applekid (993327)
      I'm with you. I would wager that most security companies around the world have manuals on crowd/riot control.

      Really, though, even within the politics section, I ought skip summaries altogether that have "Posted by kdawson " under the title. When we have a Democrat president, though, I may have to check them out anyway to see if we get the same kind of inflammatory articles about the Executive branch.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 23, 2007 @08:17AM (#20329159)

    OK. Sap "Circle". "Star" gets sheeped, "Square" gets banished, "Diamond" gets freeze trapped, and we all DPS down "Skull".

    Got it?

  • The manual advises, however, that staff should 'decide if the solution would cause more negative publicity than if the demonstrators were simply left alone.

    With the President's approval ratings in the 30% area, why would they even care about negative publicity? Might as well throw some of those pesky dissenters into Gitmo while you're at it. Hell, start sending kids to war. I'm pretty sure the last 30% of the nation is so brain dead they would probably be behind anything the president said.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by faloi (738831)
      30% is still better than Congress [pollingreport.com] right now. There's room to slide.
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by DavidTC (10147)

        Not really. The GOP have unwavering people supporting them, and it's unlikely, at this point, that anything would make them change their minds.

        Whereas the low ratings of Congress are due entirely to the fact that Democratic voters do not view the Democrats in Congress anything but scorn, because said Democrats are apparently fucking morons who don't have the slightest idea how to end a war. (Hint: You all could literally stay at home 24 hours a day and the war would end because it would become unfunded. Yo

        • You have an interesting view of how to end a conflict. Let's put this in perspective: two people are engaged in a brawl with one another for quite some time. Your suggestion for ending the brawl is to have one of these people just stop fighting. Unfortunately, when that guy stops fighting, the other guy won't. Suddenly, the guy who turned pacifist is left wondering, "Where did I go wrong?" while his opponent beats the snot out of him for letting his guard down. Now, we can argue over the justifications
          • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

            by Anonymous Coward
            Your analogy fails. Two people in fisticuffs are in close quarters. If the U.S. packs up and goes home, there's a major land mass and an ocean between the two combatants.

            I don't know about you, but I'm not real scared of the 31st Amphibious Camel Brigade.

            And if they start boarding planes to the U.S., kindly explain what about our presence in Iraq is preventing them from doing it now, short of the convenient presence of 160,000 targets (and, sorry, I don't support the use of the Zap Branigan handbook on comb
          • by xappax (876447)
            Let's put this in perspective:

            Yes, let's. Two people are engaged in a debate on Slashdot. One of them points out reasons why we should withdraw from Iraq, but the other one disagrees and finds those facts unfavorable to his/her argument. So instead of legitimately countering the argument, he/she makes up a different story in which the facts solidly support continuing to fight. "See, since it would be bad to stop fighting in this case I made up, therefore it's bad to stop fighting in the completely di
          • by Dr. Manhattan (29720) <`sorceror171' `at' `gmail.com'> on Thursday August 23, 2007 @11:25AM (#20331775) Homepage
            The problem isn't primarily a military issue. It's a technological and political one, and military actions will not solve the problem. The key problem is that our country is helplessly dependent on oil. If we were not critically dependent on the oil, we would not care what happened in the Middle East. (Consider - Darfour is at least as screwed up as the Persian Gulf area, but that's a humanitarian problem and not a political/military one - for us - because we are not critically dependent on any resources there.) But, because we have allowed ourselves to become dependent on the resources there... we meddle, supporting thugocracies so long as they keep the oil flowing, etc. This gives motivation to the Islamist fanatics there. (Note: motive is not the same thing as justification. Homicide investigators look for motive when solving a murder, they don't look for justification. The Islamist lunatics are not justified in attacking innocents by our actions, but they are in part motivated by them.)

            Since the problem isn't a military one, a military solution alone will not work. Military action is certainly justified as part of the overall strategy (e.g. in Afghanistan, now sadly neglected) but can't be the only means we use. The ultimate solution is to greatly reduce our dependency on oil.

            This doesn't have to involve austerity programs and such. We could go nuclear - not just nuclear power plants, but nuclear rockets - e.g. this one [nuclearspace.com] (the good tech stuff starts in section 7). With that, we can lift a thousand tons into orbit in a completely reusable and non-polluting craft that even eliminates not only its own nuclear waste but also waste generated on Earth. Using those, we can put up solar-power satellites that send their energy down to Earth in the form of microwaves. (If you've ever played Sim City... forget it. It doesn't work that way, it can be done very safely with large margins of safety. See here [wikipedia.org] especially the section on "Safety".) With the lower launch costs of nuclear rockets, we can make the U.S. a net energy exporter, in time. This has plenty of military applications, as well. Space is the ultimate "high ground" and a dominant U.S. presence in space should have obvious strategic benefits.

            Of course, at the same time we can work on more efficient techniques for utilizing the oil we do need. Cars with better mileage (improving our overall fuel efficiency by less than 3mpg would eliminate our need to import oil from the Persian Gulf), more efficient means of generating and using fertilizers, a bit of thought about how we use plastics, etc. Even better, we can sell the technology we develop to other parts of the world - further reducing world demand for oil, driving the price down. The lower the price of oil, the less funds the Islamist fanatics have to work with, and the less of a threat they pose. (Reducing oil prices also impacts people like Hugo Chavez, as a bonus.)

            (Not that, realistically, Islamist fanatics pose an existential threat to the United States. They can harm us, certainly, and even cause a relatively large amount of damage, sometimes. That's not the same thing as posing a threat to the existence of the United States. For perspective, more than 30 times as many American citizens have died in traffic accidents since 9/11 than have died in 9/11, Afghanistan, and Iraq combined.)

            • by Pragmatix (688158)

              The key problem is that our country is helplessly dependent on oil. If we were not critically dependent on the oil, we would not care what happened in the Middle East.

              The only reason why I question this correlation is because I have heard that we only get 5% of our oil from the middle east. I think our current leadership honestly believes there is a serious terror threat from the middle east. I don't agree with them on pretty much any point, but my instinct is the situation is more complicated than just

              • The only reason why I question this correlation is because I have heard that we only get 5% of our oil from the middle east.

                I've seen numbers ranging from 12% [sustainabi...titute.org] to 20% [pbs.org], but since oil is a fungible commodity the political situation in the Middle East affects the price of oil worldwide.

        • by Kelbear (870538)
          While I like the idea of leaving Iraq, a "just go home" plan has a load of consequences unaccounted for. Just like the "kick out Saddam" plan didn't turn out so hot.

          The devil's in the details, and we /are/ immersed in Iraq. It takes time and money to take everything back, and it has to be paced as such that critical functions remain in place until the last departure. We've still got a ton of private contractors, non-combatants, and unspent money tied up in government contracts that need to be extricated.

          Som
      • by Copid (137416)

        30% is still better than Congress right now. There's room to slide.
        Congress as a whole frequently has a low approval rating. The key point is that most of them get re-elected because a given member of congress in his or her district generally has a reasonably high approval rating. "They're all bums except my congressman" is the order of the day.
  • Really? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Sunburnt (890890) *

    The manual advises, however, that staff should 'decide if the solution would cause more negative publicity than if the demonstrators were simply left alone.'

    Yes.

    Easy decision.

  • by Steeltalon (734391) on Thursday August 23, 2007 @08:33AM (#20329373)
    Crowd Controls you!
  • Same as the Warlock CC method: Kill the crowd!
  • tag: redacted (Score:3, Informative)

    by Nimey (114278) on Thursday August 23, 2007 @08:41AM (#20329479) Homepage Journal
    What's the point of releasing this document if half of it's been censored?
  • Of 103 pages, there's only a little over a page of actual content that was not redacted.

    Was this a /. test to see who would actually read the referenced document?
  • well duh... (Score:2, Insightful)

    The last thing the secret service works is chaos while the president is vulnerable up on a stage. Our country allows you to protests pretty much any way you want to an time you want to as long as it doesn't endanger other people. I'd call a bunch of left wing crazies shouting about how the government caused 9/11 in a crowd of right wing war hawks is going to cause some issues.

    When I visited ground zero earlier this year a group of conspiracy theorists showed up and started marching through the crowds of peo
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Quila (201335)

      This isn't Big Brother censoring peoples dissenting views, is the police trying to prevent a massive street fight from breaking

      Valid general point, except that one of the explicit criteria for removing or minimizing the protesters is whether the media can see or hear them.

      As far as protesters mixing with the loyal, their instructions are to send loyalists out to the protesters in order to drown them out. So this policy isn't about safety in a mixed environment. Plus, no matter how disruptive the protesters

    • by SpacePunk (17960)
      We'll see how you like it when your speech is curtailed in violation of the Constitution of the United States.
  • best bit: USA! USA! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by kisrael (134664) on Thursday August 23, 2007 @11:41AM (#20331997) Homepage
    From the PDF:

    The rally squad's task is to use their signs and banners as shields between the demonstrators and the main press platform. If the demonstrators are yelling, rally squads can begin and lead supportive chants to drown out the protesters (USA! USA! USA!) As a last resort, security should remove the demonstrators from the event site. The rally squads can include, but are not limited to, college/young republican organizations, local athletic teams, and fraternities/sororities.

    I'm not sure which part I find less wholesome, the almost self-parodying use of yelling "USA! USA! USA!" or the idea of importing the local football team and/or frat to act as rhetorical muscle.
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  • I see nothing wrong with laying out official rules and guidelines to your staff on how to handle crowds especially hostile ones. You don't want people "improvising" and screwing up big time.

    If the actual methods or rules are bad then sure, it's cause for concern.

    So how about cut down the "oh noes they have a manual to tell them what to do!", and try to concentrate on what they are being told to do AND what they actually do?
  • I say means to me because this is not a legal interpretation or viewpoint; simply my personal viewpoint.

    To me, the right to freedom of speech also includes the freedom not to listen to speech. I don't believe others' rights should be impuned, and I'm happy if mine aren't as well. However I don't believe that it means I'm required to supply others with the platform by which they may express themselves. They have the right to talk, I feel that I have the right to listen or not listen.

    We live in a country w
  • by N3WBI3 (595976) on Thursday August 23, 2007 @01:43PM (#20333757) Homepage
    "BBC NEWS Wednesday, 1 December, 1999, 21:53 GMT Hundreds arrested in Seattle Seattle police have arrested about 200 activists protesting at the world trade talks as they tighten security ahead of a speech by President Bill Clinton." http://www.sbindependent.org/node/898 [sbindependent.org] "According to Little, it was not the Secret Service that expressed concern to the police, but rather a member of Sen. Clinton's political staff." And protesters were removed..
  • In Perspective (Score:2, Insightful)

    by kcarlin (99704) *
    I remember an inaugural event, announced as a come one, come all, meet and greet with the people thing, that was reported a while back where the journalist focused on the controversy of the new President's people managing the gate, the quick construction of fenced off sections, the triage used to herd certain types into a holding pen with no line of sight to the media area, others into "away" areas, and pass-holders only (selected invitees) into the media-resident area. All documented in excruciating detai
  • The father of a friend of mine is an old Sunday school buddy of W. He was very open about this crowd control stuff with me. He was frequently invited to Bush rallies to act as an "enforcer," asking people to leave if they appeared to be anti-Bush. What's so stunning is that he didn't see anything wrong with what he was doing. I was fuming, and he's just a cheery as can be about telling this one and that one to take a hike for banners and t-shirts and stuff.

    Once, he asked a Secret Service agent to leave

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