Outhouse to the White House?
Group launches tongue-in-cheek Schaefer effort
Tongues planted firmly in cheek, a dozen members of the Committee to Enforce Fair Treatment of Schaefer rallied today to "support" Gov. William Donald Schaefer's nascent bid for the presidency.
Schaefer has said several times in recent weeks that he may seek the White House.
Demonstrators today put miniature outhouses on their heads and bowed to college student Joe Rubin, who dressed in sweatpants, a robe and crown to play "King William Donald" for the rally outside the State House in Annapolis.
Demonstrators criticized the governor for his remark comparing the Eastern Shore to an outhouse, for trying to ban assault weapons and for promoting new taxes.
"I took your state surplus and squandered it. I took your hard-earned tax dollars and wasted them too," said Rubin, a Republican who cut classes at the University of Maryland to attend the rally.
The playful event attracted as many reporters as demonstrators, prompting Del. John Morgan, R-Prince George's and Howard, to quip, "So how many journalists are here and how many college Republicans?"
Earlier today, the governor said he intends to seek the presidency.
"They don't think I'm serious, but I am," Schaefer said minutes before the scheduled rally. "Can I win? No," he added.
Rubin said yesterday, "We are asking the question what's wrong with a governor that makes Richard Nixon look polite and has more style than Lyndon Johnson."
He said, "He's rude, but we love him."
"From the outhouse to the White House, that's our slogan," Rubin added in a pointed reference to Schaefer's recent vulgar description of the Eastern Shore as a "s---house." The governor has apologized for the remark.
"It looks like a trivial, childish prank," said Schaefer spokesman Paul Schurick. "People should spend their time worrying about things that can make a difference in life."
GUN BAN BACKED
A slaying at a Howard County truck stop provides fresh evidence of the need for a bill that would ban assault weapons, supporters of the proposal said yesterday.
The gun allegedly used in the incident Tuesday was a .22-caliber Intratech semiautomatic assault pistol, one of the weapons that would be banned under a bill sponsored by Schaefer.
State Sen. Albert Wynn, D-Prince George's, said the shooting may help convince some legislators that the assault-weapon ban is needed.
Representatives of state and national gun groups have argued there is no need for a ban because semiautomatic weapons play an insignificant role in crime in Maryland.
The shooting occurred at a truck stop near Interstate 95. Tommy Ray Robinson, 42, of Fort Collins, Colo., was charged with first-degree murder in the killing of Christopher Frey, 32, of Grass Lake, Mich.
The governor's bill will be voted on this week or next in the House Judiciary Committee.
THE GUV'S LETTERS
Schaefer says he has stopped writing his sometimes controversial letters to constituents because the recipients went public with them.
"I've stopped writing letters now. They are no longer private letters. . . . I get accused of being thin-skinned," he said in an aside yesterday at a Board of Public Works meeting.
For years, Schaefer has responded personally to many letters sent to him or to the letters to the editor section of newspapers. But he was not happy when several of his nasty letters became public recently after the recipients sent them to newspapers.