I'm not really sure whether this is a at all a big deal, but I thought it was worth posting.
Apparently, AFSCME organizers staged a series of demonstrations outside Obama headquarters in Pittsburgh, Altoona, and several other Pennsylvania cities today, attempting to stir up controversy around Barack Obama's "bitter" remarks.
The protest in Altoona led the broadcast today on the local NBC affiliate tonight (see screen capture below).
The protesters were described on the broadcast as "local people", and as you can tell from the makeshift signs, etc., the idea was undoubtedly to showcase a 'spontaneous' outpouring of negative sentiment from ordinary Pennsylvanians directed against Barack Obama.
One problem is that some of them aren't even from Pennsylvania, as this detail from the Altoona Mirror makes clear:
Even out-of-state Clinton supporters brought the campaign to Pennsylvania, such as Michelle Pancoe of Buffalo, N.Y., a teacher and member of the American Federation of Teachers.
Pancoe campaigned in Ohio and came to volunteer in Pennsylvania while on spring break.
"I’m absolutely shocked he would characterize an entire state based on maybe a few Pennsylvanians he met," she said. "I think we saw what he truly felt."
Laura Peters, a volunteer from Iowa who will remain here until after the April 22 primary, called Obama’s comment "very bothersome" and said she doesn’t think he has the experience to be president.
I'm sure that Mrs. Pancoe and Peters are good and dedicated Democrats, but when you're trying to stage a protest to show how "local" residents feel, and at least two of the eight people in attendance aren't from anywhere in the state, that strikes me as a little misleading.
Some of the other protesters were from Pennsylvania -- they are people who hold leadership positions in local AFSCME unions. Ted Manna, one of the men interviewed by the Mirror, is a staff representative for AFSCME who apparently needs no excuse to protest Barack Obama. He was part of a demonstration against Obama two weeks ago in Johnstown, where AFSCME members shared the street with pro-lifers, long before the 'Bittergate' story broke:
Others were not so impressed. Across the street from the school, supporters of Democratic hopeful Hillary Clinton carried signs for the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees.
"Hillary is the stronger candidate," Clinton supporter Ted Manna said. "Any issue she addresses is done wholeheartedly.
"She is a sincere person and a good leader."
Fellow supporter Terry Skultety said that while he favored Clinton because of her pension plan, he did not want to give the impression that they were protesting.
"This is nothing against Barack," he said.
A few other demonstrators also made an appearance across the street from the event.
"Obama says we need ‘change,’" pro-life demonstrator Louise Kachik said. "That should include (outlawing) abortion."
Another of the protesters at the Altoona event, Joseph Antal, is the head of the 17,000-member Pennsylvania State Letter Carriers Association.
The WJAC-TV article I liked to above reported that union representatives organized "at least five other similar protests across the state on Sunday." I found evidence of at least one of one another protest, in Pittsburgh; the woman being interviewed is also an AFSCME member.
With signs of "I'm not bitter" posted near Obama's headquarters, many protesters said they were offended by his comment.
"(We're) just drawing attention to the fact that we are extremely offended by his remarks -- his characterization of Pennsylvania," Joyce Posel said.
I'm not any kind of a ground game operative so I don't know how unusual this sort of thing is. It may be perfectly normal, and I don't begrudge any of the individuals involved. Still, it hit my funny bone a little bit, especially with the presence of out-of-state supporters posing with 'real' Pennsylvanians, and I thought it was worth your (brief) attention.