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Who's race-baiting now – Steele's phony Oreo-pelting story


Uh oh — no carpet bombing of Oreos on Maryland Lt. Gov. Michael S. Steele (here with Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr.). Photo: Baltimore Sun

Since 2002, the lies have become legend as Michael S. Steele and the GOP have tried to tout stories about his victimization at a political event — that the Lt. Gov. was on the receiving end of a race-baiting rainshower of Oreo cookies, marking him as a sell-out.

Hey, that’s good play if you can legitimately make your opponent’s side look like a bunch of bigots, but Steele should have chosen a tale that couldn’t so easily be debunked. It’s blowing up in their faces now and no one — what a surprise — wants to comment now.

Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. said yesterday that he is angry at “revisionism” from political opponents who question a much-repeated story about Lt. Gov. Michael S. Steele being pelted with Oreos during a 2002 campaign debate in Baltimore.

…Speaking on Stateline with the Governor on WBAL-AM yesterday, Ehrlich said he would not tolerate questions about the veracity of the incident.

…Paul Schurick, Ehrlich’s communications director, said last week that he saw people passing out packages of the cookies outside Morgan State University’s fine arts center before the debate and that when Steele entered the auditorium about 15 minutes before the start, people let fly with the cookies.

“It was raining Oreos,” Schurick said. “They were thick in the air like locusts. I was there. It was very real. It wasn’t subtle.”

As for those who question the story, Ehrlich said yesterday: “They’re not going to be able now to reinvent something that a lot of people saw. Just go ask people who were there.”

…”It didn’t happen here,” said Vander Harris, operations manager of the Murphy Fine Arts Building at Morgan State. “I was in on the cleanup, and we found no cookies or anything else abnormal. There were no Oreo cookies thrown.”

The incident is said to have occurred when Steele walked to his seat before the debate started, not during the event on stage when it would have been captured on video. Newspaper articles and television news reports from that night didn’t mention it, and representatives of the news departments at television stations WBAL, WJZ and WMAR and Maryland Public Television said they have no video of the incident.

Wayne Frazier, president of the Maryland-Washington Minority Contractors Association said he watched Steele walk into the auditorium that night but saw no Oreos. “I was there the whole time and did not see any of the so-called Oreo cookie incident,” Frazier said.

Hmmm. Seems a mass of Oreos flying, rolling and pelting folks would have been quite a sight, wouldn’t you say? Yet, where are these unhinged accounts coming from, other than from the fertile imaginations of these windbags?

* Washington Post writer George F. Will wrote in his column that “some in the audience had distributed Oreo cookies.”

* That day, while campaigning at a Jewish day school in Pikesville, Ehrlich told the audience that Townsend supporters threw the cookies at Steele.

* Ehrlich said on WBAL radio that his father was hit in the head by one of the cookies. Schurick also said Ehrlich’s father was hit. Schurick would not make Robert L. Ehrlich Sr. available for an interview yesterday.

* After the election, Steele told a writer for the Capital News Service that an Oreo rolled to his feet during the debate.”

If you had half a brain, you GOP dunces, you would have just hired some Freepers to show up posing as lefties and pelt the Oreos for a nice photo op.

Hat tip, AmericaBlog.

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Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding