by Jim Nintzel
While other media were allowed through the door, the Tucson Weekly was prevented from entering Sen. John McCain’s town hall today.
McCain’s town hall drew so many people to St. Mark's United Methodist Church Fellowship Hall this morning that several dozen people were prevented from entering the room, which had a total capacity of 150, according to a sign on the door.
Team McCain was allowing media into the room, but when I presented my business card and driver's license, the goon working the door didn’t even take a close look at it.
Instead, he demanded “media credentials.” When I asked what a credential was, I was told that it was a badge of some kind indicating that I worked at the publication.
“Anyone can have a business card,” the goon told me before simply closing the door on me as I tried to work out our differences.
I wasn’t the only one who wasn’t able to get into the hall.
Roy Goodman said he was “very disappointed” that he couldn’t get in.
“I’ve taken time off from work to here,” Goodman said. “The fact that they take a space that has an under-limited capacity for the constituents who live in this part of Arizona is very disappointing.”
Goodman said opportunities to see McCain at a public gathering were very limited.
“I’m hardly ever aware of when he’s here at something that the public can go to, not a fundraiser,” Goodman said. “I came here for a rare opportunity to attend a town hall meeting with one of my two senators,” Goodman said. “I wanted to listen. I wanted give him an opportunity to talk to me in person. I wanted to give him an opportunity to respond to questions from the community and hear what he had to say about them.”
Chris Hale, who is working on a campaign for Republican congressional candidate Gabby Mercer (who hopes to challenge Congressman Raul Grijalva next year), said he had arrived at 9:20 a.m. for the 10 a.m. town hall, only to discover that the event was already full.
Hale said he thought Team McCain has chosen “a tiny little venue. With the high schools closed, they could have easily gotten the CDO auditorium.”
Hale said he was disappointed he couldn’t get into the event.
“Everyone should have an opportunity to voice their opinion,” said Hale, who suggested limiting access to the town hall was a “strategy” on the part of Team McCain.
Hale said he identified with the Tea Party, but wanted to see the Republican Party “unite so we can start getting action done and make some tough decisions.”