The state Democratic Party chairman said Friday that GOP leaders should denounce a state lawmaker who urged Republicans to disrupt a campaign event by supporters of presidential candidate John Kerry.
In a news release, the DFL Party included an e-mail that Rep. Bill Kuisle had sent to Olmsted County Republicans, urging them to attend an event in Rochester on Friday featuring singer Carole King and the group Minnesota Women for John Kerry.
Kuisle provided the details of the event and said, "If anyone can go and harass it would be appreciated. Bill."
"I call on the Republican Party and the campaign of George W. Bush to reject this negative and hateful kind of politics," DFL Party chairman Mike Erlandson said in the release.
Kuisle, R-Rochester, confirmed that he sent the e-mail but said the word 'harass' was not directed at women. He said he was simply referring to the standard counter-demonstrations in which people wave signs and make noise.
"I don't know if it was the proper word to use," he said. "But let's face it: the DFL does it and the Republicans do it. If that's not harassment, I don't know what is. But is it about harassing women? No."
Randy Wanke, a spokesman for the state Republican Party, said it's hard to take the criticism seriously given that Erlandson "didn't condemn the Democrats who heckled the President in Duluth," where Bush campaigned in July, and other disturbances at Bush rallies.
(Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)