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Ron Paul: Newt Gingrich should apologize for Florida primary incident

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The State Column
February 1, 2012

Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul’s campaign team is calling on rival candidate Newt Gingrich to “publicly apologize” for an incident involving his security team and a Paul supporter at a Florida primary campaign event.

According to Yahoo News, a member of Mr. Gingrich’s security team attempted to physically move a Paul supporter who was holding a “Ron Paul 2012″ sign as Mr. Gingrich took pictures with voters outside of a Windermere, Florida voting precinct.

Reportedly, a 29 year old Paul supporter named Eddie Dillard, was holding the sign near a location where Mr. Gingrich was appearing to meet and greet voters. Mr. Dillard refused to move and kept his sign supportng the Texas congressman held high directly behind Mr. Gingrich as he took pictures. That’s when one of Mr. Gingrich’s security guard stepped on his bare feet and attempted to forcibly remove him from the area.

Mr. Paul’s campaign team posted a description of the incident to his presidential campaign website, and called upon the former House speaker to apologize to Mr. Dillard.

“They say the culture of an organization is a reflection of its top executive and today’s deplorable behavior against Ron Paul supporter Eddie Dillard in Florida reflects very poorly on Congressman Gingrich, said Jesse Benton, a spokesman for Mr. Paul, in a statement Tuesday.“I call on Congressman Gingrich to publicly apologize to Mr. Dillard.”

Additionally, Mr. Paul’s campaign staff tweeted aphotoof Mr. Dillard’s foot that appeared to be bruised and scratched after the incident occurred.

“This is what @newtgingrich security team did to Ron Paul supporter’s foot,” tweeted Mr. Paul’s campaign Tuesday, along with a photo of Mr. Dillard’s foot that had been stepped on.

  • A d v e r t i s e m e n t

The incident apparently occured right after Mr. Dillard had cast his vote for the Texas lawmaker.

Ron Paul supporters have made their presence felt throughout the Republican primary race, often showing up to campaign events for other candidates in support of Mr. Paul. However, this is the first incident thus far in the Republican primary race where a supporter of any of the candidates has been involved in a physical altercation with another candidate’s campaign staff or security.

Mr. Paul was in Nevada during the Florida Republican primary election Tuesday.

Mr. Dillard was one of 116, 776 voters in Florida that voted for Mr. Paul Tuesday, as the Texas Republican received 7 percent of the votes for a 4th place finish in Florida.

Mr. Benton also asked Mr. Gingrich to terminate the campaign staff members that were involved in the incident with Mr. Dillard on Tuesday.

“There is simply no excuse for the type of violent, boorish and abusive behavior demonstrated by Mr. Gingrich’s campaign.  We hope Mr. Gingrich understands this and takes the actions we recommend,” said Mr. Benton.

There have been no reports of Mr. Dillard filing charges against Mr. Gingrich’s campaign team or security guards.

Neither Mr. Paul or Mr. Gingrich have commented on the incident.

This article was posted: Wednesday, February 1, 2012 at 3:36 am

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