Dems crying foul after GOP stages lawn radio event

WASHINGTON: Democrats criticized the White House last week for using a radio outreach event to gain an unfair advantage in the waning days of the midterm election season.

WASHINGTON: Democrats criticized the White House last week for using a radio outreach event to gain an unfair advantage in the waning days of the midterm election season.

Radio hosts were invited to the White House lawn on Wednesday to interview a host of top-level Bush administration officials, among them Homeland Security Director Tom Ridge, Attorney General John Ashcroft, Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill, and Presidential advisor Karl Rove. Also present were several members of Congress fighting for reelection.

White House communications officers described the event as "an opportunity for a medium that is not always able to cover the White House."

But Democrats pointed to the timing of the event (six days before the election) as an indication that the GOP was taking advantage of its position in the White House to garner extra publicity for its agenda before voters go to the polls. Democratic spokesperson Jennifer Palmieri derided the affair as "Appease the Right Wing Day at the White House," adding, "it reeks of an inappropriate mix of politics and official business."

Rove responded to the allegations in an interview with WLAC of Nashville, TN, saying, "People are smart enough to make up their own minds."

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