Monday, September 20, 2004

U of O College Republicans Cry "Fowl!" at DeFazio Staffer's Behavior

Thanks for the Memory to to Jim Peterson, local GOP leader, who forwarded this press release from the UofO College Republicans to me:

Media Advisory
September 18,2004
Contact: Matt Lawrence

Chicken Ruffles DeFazio’s Feathers

Albany, OR – Apparently, some people can’t take a joke.

Last month, the Oregon College Republicans began a campaign of sorts against Democratic Congressman Peter DeFazio. Upset over DeFazio’s lack of willingness to debate his opponent, Republican challenger Jim Feldkamp, the CRs began using a chicken suit to try and goad the reluctant Democrat into accepting more debates.

To date, the only debates accepted by DeFazio are scheduled for October 20 – five days after ballots are dropped.

“We felt that Mr. DeFazio was deliberately pushing the debate back as far as he could,” College Republicans Co-Chair Matt Lawrence said. “He claimed his Congressional schedule made it too difficult, but we know that they adjourn in early October.”

Thursday, DeFazio made some appearances in Albany. One of the first was a radio interview at KGAL’s downtown studio.

Unfortunately for DeFazio, The Chicken decided to stop in and watch the interview as it was in progress. The Chicken even had signs with questions written on them that DeFazio had previously refused to answer.

Once the interview was over, DeFazio and his staffers literally manhandled the chicken, threatening him and his family, and displaying the type of conduct not normally expected of statesmen and Congressional staffers.

“DeFazio and his staffers totally snapped,” Lawrence said. “I think it’s safe to say we really ruffled their feathers.”

The Chicken has subsequently reported receiving several prank phone calls at his house. He has been severely traumatized by the whole experience, and is currently seeking therapy as a result.

“I don’t know why Mr. DeFazio and his staffers would threaten me and my family. My little chicks have never done anything to hurt him or anybody else,” The Chicken said. “Cluck, cluck, cluck.”

Now, obviously, there is a bit of tongue-in-cheek humor at the end of the article, but some of it makes some serious allegations. So I called Matt for further details. Here's what I found out:

The incident occurred at an ountdoor event held by KGAL NewsTalk Radio 1580 AM in Albany, outside their studios. The interview is with KGAL host Jim Willhight, and is set to air today at 1:00 PM PDT. The public was welcome, and encouraged to come and ask questions of the congressman. So the CR's sent the Chicken and a few other members to the event. Matt said that DeFazio exited the event looking upset, so I'm looking forward to hearing it.

While they were entering the area where the interview was being held, and again when the left, the CR's were confronted by an individual who seemed quite displeased with his presence, and wanted to know what questions they had to ask (Matt's words were that this individual "got in the face" of one of the CR's). This individual then informed the CR that he would find out who he was, who his family was, and where he lived. He then left with DeFazio, leading the CR's to believe he was a DeFazio staffer. The CR in question has since received several "prank" calls, all of which have been recorded.

According to Matt, no mention of this incident has been made by KGAL or any of the local and state news sources they've sent it to. I doubt it will. Unfortunately, unless they got it on tape or video, it's the CR's word against DeFazio's. But while I'm hesitant to make a "post hoc" leap regarding any connection between the incident and the prank calls (at least not unless I have a chance to hear them), I wouldn't be surprised if there is a link.

More info as available.

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