Washington, D.C. – September 24. Kristin Rowe-Finkbeiner, Executive Director of MomsRising, and fifteen local Mothers were prevented from delivering a letter signed by 22,000 voters to the office of Governor Sarah Palin.
The letter, which I wrote about previously, was to ascertain where Palin stands on issues directly impacting mothers and families.
In a scene that sounded like an outtake from a Michael Moore movie, what started out as a simple visit to the North Capitol Street building that houses Palin’s State of Alaska office, devolved into a request for Rowe-Finkbeiner and the moms to leave the premises.
A spokesperson for MomsRising who was at the scene gave me this account:
Kristin was going to be in Washington, so that was the reason for delivering the letter to that office. She [Rowe-Finkbeiner] explained the group’s presence to the security officer on duty, who said, “Okay, fine.” A reporter and camera crew arrived from the WABC affiliate. They were given the okay to proceed to the third floor with their producer. A new guard was in place when the women were ready to go upstairs. She was told to tell the group that the “office was not accepting visitors and that the letter had to be mailed.” Despite Rowe-Finkbeiner’s objections that, “It’s just a letter,” they were refused entrée. Another guard appeared. The spokesperson qualified this as the moment when “it got kind of edgy.” The guard asked if there was any “filming going on in the lobby.” The group was then advised that it needed to get out of the building.
The interaction made it into part of the reporter’s news story on Sarah Palin’s accessibility.
When I spoke to co-founder Joan Blades by telephone to get her reaction she said, “The bottom line is, we need answers.” She acknowledged that Palin has been “cloistered ” and that the campaign has been in a “very protective mode.” Blades added, “It struck me as very odd.”
Perhaps those making the decision to refuse delivery of the letter didn’t think that reports of their actions would get back to the over 20,000 people who had signed their names to the note. They were wrong. On Thursday, the MomsRising team sent out a new alert. This time, they are urging supporters to directly e-mail PBS Senior Correspondent Gwen Ifill, who will be moderating the Vice Presidential Debate (10/2/08). They have set up an action on their site and are advocating voters to request an examination of five top concerns.
Hopefully with Ifill in the driver’s seat, some of these topics will be addressed. If nothing else, it will bypass any possible excuse by Palin’s office that the letter got lost or the dog ate it.