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Laura Conaway, TRMS blog: Occupy Wall Street, voting rights edition

Occupy Wall Street, voting rights edition
by Laura Conaway, October 11, 2011

Former Louisiana Governor Buddy Roemer, a Republican, has come out in support of Occupy Wall Street. Locked out of the debates because of low polling, Mr. Roemer is using his presidential campaign to hammer away at the issue of big money buying elections.

Today, he took his cause to Occupy Wall Street. Only a few people knew who he was — not none, but not many. Most seemed stunned that a Republican showed up. One group in particular grilled him about why he was running as a Republican, given this year’s Republican laws to make voting harder. A rough verbate:

Protester: Your party has made a concerted effort to change voting rights, nationwide, that are going to disenfranchise millions of people. Are you saying anything about that?

Roemer: I am not. But in Louisiana, we did not do that, while I was governor. My record is pretty reform and clean on those issues. I want to get more people involved. Do you know why I’m here? It’s not because your agenda and mine are in perfect alignment.

Protester: It’s not clean if you’re going to restrict people’s access to vote.

Roemer: Let me talk just a second. . . .

Roemer: . . . I agree with you on the main issue, that the money has bought our politicians and we ought to take our government back. I don’t care what party you belong to. I’m with you. OK? Just understand that. That’s why I am here….

Protester: But if you restrict access to people voting

Roemer: It’s wrong to do that…

Protester: So what are going to do? Why don’t you go on the news tonight and say my party is passing laws nationwide that will disenfranchise millions of people, and I support the right of people to vote regardless of whether you vote for me or whoever……Nobody can vote if they can’t get IDs, if they change early voting–

Roemer: I’m with you. I’m with you. But you asked me had I made this an issue. I have not. I’ve not made it an issue.

2nd Protester: Will you? Will you?

Roemer: Absolutely.

2nd Protester: Immediately?

Roemer: Absolutely

Notice that Mr. Roemer goes from saying he’s got one issue, campaign finance, and that he can’t add another, to saying that he’ll consider it, to saying that he’ll make voting rights an issue absolutely and immediately. Occupy Wall Street got that done.

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