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Archive for Monday, November 6, 2006

Bush campaign rally notebook: Words and music to vote by

November 6, 2006

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— Notes and observations from the political events Sunday in Topeka:

Kline comments: A four-minute speech from Atty. Gen. Phill Kline roused thousands of Republican activists at the party's rally Sunday evening, and Kline closed his remarks with a shot at a political nemesis.

It wasn't Paul Morrison, the Democrat who is trying to prevent Kline from winning a second term. It was Dr. George Tiller, who operates a Wichita abortion clinic Kline has been investigating.

Tiller's clinic was one of two from which Kline successfully sought patient records. In 2005 and 2006, Tiller donated $120,000 to ProKanDo, an abortion rights group that in turn donated money to another group producing anti-Kline mailings.

"This Tuesday, we can send a clear message to George Tiller and others that in Kansas, the office of attorney general and the law are not for sale," Kline said.

Pedro Irigonegaray, a Topeka attorney representing Tiller, noted that on Friday night, Kline was interviewed by Fox television's Bill O'Reilly, who said an inside source had given him information from records of Kansas abortions.

"Certainly, Mr. Kline didn't hesitate to do what he could boost Mr. O'Reilly's sales figures, did he?" Irigonegaray said. "Who's doing the selling here?"

¢ What about Tiahrt, Moran?: A banner inside the Expocentre's Landon Arena sported the names of Republicans seeking statewide office and two of the four GOP candidates seeking seats in Congress.

Missing from the list were Rep. Todd Tiahrt, who represents the 4th District centered on Wichita, and Rep. Jerry Moran, whose 1st District is comprised of the western half of Kansas.

¢ Kerry bashing: Republicans took the opportunity to poke fun at Sen. John Kerry and his recent gaffe regarding the intelligence of members of the U.S. armed forces.

State GOP Executive Director Ron Freeman noted that Gov. Kathleen Sebelius chaired the Massachusetts Democrat's 2004 campaign in Kansas.

Others, including members of country music band Dixie Road, noted that they knew or were related to soldiers, saying they are some of the smartest and bravest Americans they knew, prompting applause and cheers.

¢ Ryun blasted, praised: At the Statehouse, Republican Rep. Jim Ryun took hits from speakers who said he hadn't done enough to support the military and its families - something he disagrees with strongly.

Randy Barnes, of Westwood, a member of the national board for Vietnam Veterans of America, even suggested that Bush has waged a war on veterans even as they were keeping troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. Barnes was speaking on behalf of Nancy Boyda, the Democrat challenging Ryun in the 2nd Congressional District.

"We've got a lot of veterans around the United States who are in deep need right now, and they're in need because of the present administration and the lapdogs that support him," Barnes said. "One of the worst lapdogs that supports this administration is Jim Ryun."

Bush painted a much different picture of Ryun for the 2nd Congressional District's voters.

"Jim Ryun is a strong, strong supporter of programs to make sure our veterans' health care benefits works," he said. "You see, he believes in supporting our veterans, just like he believes in supporting those who wear the uniform today."

¢ Coming soon: A marquee outside the east entrance of the Kansas Expocentre announced coming events, with an upcoming performance of the "Disney on Ice" getting top billing.

The Bush visit was listed last, below a sign directing those with disabilities where to park.

¢ Music mix: Republicans heard an eclectic mix of music at their rally Sunday, all of it played eardrum-splitting loud over the speakers inside the arena at the Kansas Expocentre.

There was some country music, including George Straight, but there were also songs by rock favorites U2 and Van Halen, as well as funkier stuff with a driving dance beat.

Perhaps the strangest choices were "Authority Song" by John Mellencamp, which has a chorus, "I fight authority - authority always wins," or a Matchbox 20 tune that asserts, "I'm not crazy. I'm just a little unwell."

The music at the Statehouse rally for Boyda was more sedate, tending toward 1960s psychedelic pop and patriotic songs, including country singer Lee Greenwood's "God Bless the U.S.A."

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