McCain Campaign Pre-Emptively Ejecting Potential Non-Supporters from Audience

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None of the nearly two dozen people thrown out of a McCain appearance at the Univ. of Northern Iowa wore "protest" clothing, held any anti-McCain banners or shouted out any slogans, much less were pegged by the Secret Service as potentially violent threats. Yet they were "preventively" removed before the rally by campus security at the request of the campaign.

Iowa State Daily reports  

Audience members escorted out of Sen. John McCain's, R-Ariz., campaign event in Cedar Falls questioned why they were asked to leave Sunday's rally even though they were not protesting.

David Zarifis, director of public safety for the University of Northern Iowa, said McCain staffers requested UNI police assist in escorting out "about four or five" people from the rally prior to McCain's speech.

Zarifis said while the people who were taken out weren't protesting or causing problems, McCain's staff were worried they would during the speech.

"Apparently, they had been identified by those staffers as potential protesters within the event," Zarifis said. "The facility was rented by the RNC for the McCain campaign, so it's really a private facility for them. We assisted in their desires to have those people removed."

Lara Elborno, a student at the University of Iowa, said she was approached by a police officer and a McCain staffer and was told she had to leave or she would be arrested for trespassing.

"It was a very confusing, very frustrating situation," Elborno said. "I said that I had a right to be there, I wasn't doing anything disruptive -- I was sitting, waiting for the rally to start."

She said McCain staffers wouldn't tell her why she was being asked to leave and when she got outside, she saw "a group of about 20 people" who had all been asked to leave.

Elborno said after seeing the people who were asked to leave, she was concerned that McCain's staffers were profiling people on appearance to determine who might be a potential protester.

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