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Wednesday, October 29, 2003


MEMO: Openly Gay Dean Staffer Harassed at Gephardt Event

posted by Editor at Wednesday, October 29, 2003 permalink View blog reactions
From Dean for America...

To: Media
From: Dean for America Press Office
Date: October 29, 2003
Re: Openly Gay Dean Staffer Harassed at Gephardt Event

Yesterday, an openly gay Dean for America staffer who attended an event for Congressman Dick Gephardt in Iowa (as is common practice among campaigns) was pushed and grabbed by Gephardt staffers, one of whom derided him as a "faggot."

In response, Dean for America campaign manager Joe Trippi wrote a letter to Gephardt for President campaign manager Steve Murphy, calling upon him to find the staffer responsible for this egregious behavior and fire him.

Governor Dean, who signed the nation's first civil unions law in Vermont, is a strong supporter of the gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender community. Congressman Gephardt has also spoken out against anti-gay harassment. Joe Trippi's letter is below.

October 28, 2003

Steve Murphy, Campaign Manager
Gephardt For President
P.O. Box 34607
Washington, DC 20043

Dear Steve:

I would like to raise with you a very troubling episode which occurred on the campaign trail today.

At one of Congressman Gephardt's events in Iowa this afternoon, members of your staff - including your Iowa state director -- accosted a Dean for America staffer who was recording Gephardt's remarks. The Dean staffer was pushed and grabbed, and a member of Congressman Gephardt's staff went so far as to call the Dean staffer a "faggot."

You and I have known each other for quite some time, and we both have a long history with Dick Gephardt. This behavior from a campaign staff member is beyond the pale.

Democrats, including Congressman Gephardt, are fighting this sort of bigotry in the hearts and minds of Americans, as well as in our laws. The fact that the Congressman's own staff member would use a slur like this goes directly against the values and goals of our Party.

I urge you to find the staff member responsible and fire him, and send a strong signal to the rest of your staff that behavior of this kind will not be tolerated in a campaign for the Presidency. I trust you'll do the right thing.


Joe Trippi

-- 30 --


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Nation-Building was founded by Aziz Poonawalla in August 2002 under the name Dean Nation. Dean Nation was the very first weblog devoted to a presidential candidate, Howard Dean, and became the vanguard of the Dean netroot phenomenon, raising over $40,000 for the Dean campaign, pioneering the use of Meetup, and enjoying the attention of the campaign itself, with Joe Trippi a regular reader (and sometime commentor). Howard Dean himself even left a comment once. Dean Nation was a group weblog effort and counts among its alumni many of the progressive blogsphere's leading talent including Jerome Armstrong, Matthew Yglesias, and Ezra Klein. After the election in 2004, the blog refocused onto the theme of "purple politics", formally changing its name to Nation-Building in June 2006. The primary focus of the blog is on articulating purple-state policy at home and pragmatic liberal interventionism abroad.