Protesters greet Bachmann, Paul speech


Many groups turned out to protest against Michele Bachmann and Ron Paul at Northrop Hall, on the University of Minnesota’s Minneapolis campus September 25. By 5:30 p.m., the first few people trickled onto the lawn with their signs, and by 6 p.m., protestors against Michelle Bachman outnumbered a much smaller group of her supporters.

Billionares for Wealthcare was the most colorful of the protest groups. These three women formed a small comedy group that said things like, “Well, it’s not our fault if they have a pre-existing condition,” while holding their champagne glasses and adjusting their feathered hats.

The atmosphere, while sometimes hostile, did not get out of hand, as U of M security guards were supplemented by hired security. Leroy Duncan, from “Students Organizing for America,” reveled in the chaotic situation and decided to escalate it further. Holding a sign that read, “Who would Jesus cover?” he began to walk around and ask Bachmann supporters to answer the question. Responses ranged from, “We don’t have an answer” to “If Jesus was here, he would tell us to repent” to “He has provided for everyone in salvation in Christ.”

Finally, after about the tenth person, he found an answer he was satisfied with: “‘Who’ is everyone,” said Stepheny Phiepontius. “‘How’ is the question.”

Many of those protesting against Bachmann were students in their twenties. The majority of Bachmann’s supporters, on the other hand, were middle-aged men and women.

Will Tajibnapis, one of the older protesters, said: “The cost of health-care is dragging our economy down… give us a huge disadvantage in our competition with other countries… I’m very worried, because I’m really old, that it will bankrupt me… we have got to fix it.”

As the starting time for the event neared, protesters started filing in to the auditorium. Many of them said that they were having problems with security.

“When I came in a guy in a tux said that there was no protestors allowed and that I would have to leave,” said Matt Kempainem.

“They won’t let us hold our signs up because they will be seen on camera,” Joe MacDonald, a med student, “but a lot of people were holding Ron Paul signs up and they were not asked to put them down.”

A security guard said that they were telling people with signs to move to the side sections of the auditorium where they could stand up and hold their signs, but if they wished to remain in the middle they must be seated.

While most of the groups focused on the health care, one Bachmann supporter from the Revolutionary War Veterans Association, which focuses on guns, tried to convince me to come and learn to shoot — for free! — in Apple Valley.