I noted last night that Reuters and Politico (including the White House pool report by a reporter from that paper) reported on a stream of people leaving after President Barack Obama started speaking last night at an event for Lt. Governor Anthony Brown in Upper Marlboro, Maryland. Democrats tried to spin the reports, including one in The Baltimore Sun, by saying that the people leaving were from an overflow room that the president spoke to first. There was pushback by reporters on this (and pictures were tweeted proving it) and I’ll have more on that in a minute. There were even some Obama supporters on Twitter, when they weren’t calling reporters names, who were claiming the people who left were Republican plants.
The story in the Washington Post made no mention of people leaving at all, whatever the explanation. That story was written by Jenna Johnson and Arelis R. Hernandez (and John Wagner contributed to it.)
Excerpts from WaPo:
President Obama stood before thousands of Marylanders in a high school gym in Prince George’s County on Sunday and urged them to vote for Democrats who fight for the working class — such as gubernatorial candidate Anthony G. Brown.
The president told the largely African American, and wildly enthusiastic, crowd that Republicans want voters to become so cynical that they don’t vote.
Although Obama has seen his popularity fade in many parts of the county, he was welcomed with raucous applause at Dr. Henry A. Wise Jr. High School in Upper Marlboro. At times, the crowd punctuated each of his sentences with cheers. It also defended him with boos when a heckler challenged Obama on immigration.
It was a level of enthusiasm that Brown has yet to see as he campaigns to become the state’s first African American governor and the nation’s third to be popularly elected.Some in the crowd said they waited in line for hours to see Obama, not Brown.
I noted last night that news reports indicated that a “steady stream of people walked out of the auditorium while he spoke” and that “once the president started speaking, the crowd began streaming out, a few at first, but then by the dozen once Obama was about 10 minutes into his talk.”
Other reports indicated there was a “traffic jam” of people trying to leave.
Maryland Democratic Party Chair Yvette Lewis called the Politico report a “lie” and crappy reporting. She also castigated Reuters and Yahoo for reporting it. She claimed that the people leaving were coming from an overflow room that Obama already spoke to prior to an event. She also had confusing versions of that spin, including saying the people in the overflow were leaving but then claiming they weren’t allowed to leave.
The reporter from Politico engaged with her on Twitter and corrected her and pointed out that the people were in the main room. Obama supporters and Democrats in Maryland and nationally took to Twitter to attack the reports who wrote about people leaving. These included claims of the reporters being “Obama-haters”, “racists”, “liars”, and other attacks. One person on Twitter even claimed that the people who walked out were GOP plants.
Here’s what Jeff Mason of Reuters told one of the Obama supporters (one who also engaged with me last night) on Twitter after she accused him of being a “dumb ass” and a “jealous hater”:
Twitchy also wrote about it and included tweets with details and pictures.
They got their iPhone photos, now they’re streaming out: the 2014 Obama campaign rally story pic.twitter.com/gCbq6G7mjr
— Jennifer Epstein (@jeneps) October 19, 2014
Pool: “by the time [Obama] was about 10 minutes in, there was a traffic jam next to the pool’s tables as folks tried to exit the gym. ” — Zeke Miller (@ZekeJMiller) October 19, 2014
Empty bleachers – all of these people left after Obama started speaking at a campaign rally in Maryland pic.twitter.com/xdYvwhp2K9
— Katie Zezima (@katiezez) October 19, 2014