(Read from bottom up…)
As the sun sets in Miami, the GetEqual Seals return to harbor. Mission accomplished. Now the President knows what a fierce advocate really looks like.
UPDATE: 6:30PM – GetEqual protest makes the White House pool report – this is big, because it means the story will now go nationwide – the pool report also confirms that the guests at the dinner can hear GetEqual’s bull horns:
At the reception in a “small” white tent around the back of the house, Rep. Chris Van Hollen was touting Democrats’ accomplishments before a small crowd when pool got there. Compared it with New Deal, Great Society. Covered health-care bill, student loan overhaul. Says things have gotten better on economy.
“The president needs a Congress that is going to work with him…it is now halftime in the first time of Barack Obama’s administration…dos the Miami Heat quit at halftime?” Crowd cheers.
POTUS takes the stage to applause. Mistakenly refers to Ron Klein as Ron Klain and apologizes. Ron Klein is inside the home.
As he is speaking, air horns can be heard across the bay, and pool is told by a GetEQUAL spokesman that they are activists protesting the administration on Don’t Ask Don’t Tell. Appear to have several small boats, at one point pool can hear some yelling. Some members of the audience look over but noise is not loud enough to disrupt and POTUS continues uninterrupted.
POTUS says economy is begining to recover because lawmakers were willing to take tough votes. Says: “The question in this election is not whether or not things are where we want them” but who will take us there.
They said no each and every time…they don’t have new ideas.”
Hits GOP Pledge to America. “They’re selling the same snake oil they were before.” says the 700B to pay for the wealthy tax cuts would be borrowed from China and Saudi Arabia.
Uses the ditch analogy yet again. It’s muddy, R’s tell Dems they aren’t pushing hard enough — you know the drill. “We’ve got to tell them in this election you can’t have the keys back. You don’t know how to drive!”
Says he and Democrats won in 2008 because of voters who want the American dream.
“That wasn’t the end of the dream. That was only the beginning of the dream.” Implores people to help get out the vote. POTUS spoke for about 12 minutes.
Pool is told the Miami Dade police have circled the GetEQUAL activists’ boats and sirens can be heard.
Now at main dinner tent awaiting a second set of remarks.
UPDATE: They’re in a tent. The fundraiser is a dinner, taking place in a tent, by the water, 500 feet away from GetEqual’s 3 boats that are going crazy with bullhorns and loudspeakers. There is no way the dinner guests aren’t listening to this.
This is the 40 foot banner on boat number two:
UPDATE: 6:10PM the three boats of protesters and media are now 500 feet from the shore at Alonzo Mourning’s home, and are shouting on bullhorns with an extra strong speaker system, and are also broadcasting the President’s own words promising gay rights advances that he has refused to deliver.
Obama’s limo driving by protesters. This is when he cracked the window and waved.
One of the weather balloons released near the Obama fundraiser.
UPDATE: 5:42PM – Robin McGehee of GetEqual, who is on one of the boats heading for Mourning’s house, has just texted “Mission Accomplished.” We assume this means she has reached the position in the water off of the house, and the action is underway, including bull horns, weather balloons with signs, 40ft signs saying “stop the discharges now,” and an extra large/loud sound system booming quotes of the President himself making gay rights promises. All of this underway under the watchful guise of two boats full of media, including the Miami Herald and all the local Miami TV affiliates, and two Spanish stations.
UPDATE 5:37PM: The three boats of protesters and media have just rounded by the bend and are within 5 minutes of reaching Mourning’s house.
UPDATE: President cracked limo and waved to GetEqual protesters, so he definitely saw the signs and protesters.
GetEqual’s press release explains what they’re up to today – the press release reads in the past tense, when in fact the actions are ongoing:
“DON’T ASK, DON’T TELL” ACTIVISTS CONFRONT PRESIDENT OBAMA BY AIR, LAND, AND SEA AT NBA STAR’S FUNDRAISER IN MIAMI
GetEQUAL, along with a group of Florida and national Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender activists, surround Miami Heat star Alonzo Mourning’s house demanding President sign Executive Order Stopping Discharges
MIAMI, FL (October 11th, 2010)– Earlier Monday evening from 5:00 pm until 6:30 pm (ET), GetEQUAL, a national lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) civil rights organization, and other Floridian activists, unleashed a barrage of protests by air, land, and sea targeting President Obama for his failure to sign an executive order barring gay and lesbian servicemembers from being discharged under the military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” law.
President Obama attended a star-studded Democratic Party fundraiser at NBA star Alonzo Mourning’s bayfront estate. During the hour and a half President Obama was at Alonzo’s home for this big-money, Democratic Party fundraiser, LGBT activists confronted him at every turn, demanding he finally show some leadership and stop the discharges of openly gay and lesbian servicemembers by signing an executive order. Video and photos from today’s action will be released shortly and will be available at: www.getequal.org and www.youtube.com/getequal.
As the Presidential motorcade drove into the private estate located in Coconut Grove, activists held four 10 ft. signs demanding President Obama “End the Discharges Now,” and reminding him that “We’ll Give When We GetEQUAL”. The LGBT activists were stationed on the motorcade route directly outside of the private estate and at a park roughly a quarter of a mile down the road.
Inside the event, Democratic congressional candidate and Army veteran, Anthony Woods, who was discharged under the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” law, approached President Obama to inform him what the protests were about, and to remind him of his campaign promises. [NOTE FROM JOHN: This didn't happen because the White House refused to let Woods attend the even.]
While the President was inside the private fundraiser, another round of protests were unleashed from the bay just outside the event. From the bay abutting Mourning’s home, a second swarm of LGBT activists arrived by boats with two 40 ft. signs and shouted via bullhorns “End the Discharges Now” and “We’ll Give When We GetEQUAL”.
During the second swarm by boat, LGBT activists also launched two, large 8 ft weather balloons carrying 10 ft. long banners reading “GetEQUAL.org”. Those weather balloons were anchored in the water directly in front of the tent hosting the dinner reception and highly visible to guests.
The Advocate reveals that the White House turned away an African-American former congressional candidate, Anthony Woods, from the fundraiser. He thinks it was because he had been discharged under DADT. More from Kerry Eleveld:
A group of LGBT equality activists working to end “don’t ask, don’t tell” launched an elaborate protest early Monday evening as President Barack Obama attended a private Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee fund-raiser in Miami, FL, at the home of NBA star Alonzo Mourning.
As the president headed toward Mourning’s Coconut Grove residence where donors had paid as much as $5,000 and $18,000 per person to see him, members of GetEqual, a national LGBT rights organization, along with local activists intended to line the street holding four, 10-foot signs that read “End the Discharges Now,” and “We’ll Give When We GetEQUAL” – a reference to the group’s recent campaign encouraging people not to donate money to either the Democratic or Republican parties or their campaign committees until the president signs an executive order immediately stopping the discharges.Video of GetEqual and media – one of three boats just launched – heading towards Mourning’s home and Obama fundraiser.
Three full boat-loads of press and protesters have now launched, and are heading towards Mourning’s house by sea….
UPDATE FROM JOHN: Obama has just driven into the estate, and according to witnesses on the ground, the President absolutely saw the protesters.
NOTE FROM JOHN: I’ve just been informed that GetEqual is in the process of protesting the President’s high-dollar fundraiser at the home of Miami Heat star Alonzo Mourning. GetEqual members, and local Florida allies, are at this moment lining the streets, protesting the President’s inaction on “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” and GetEqual has just launched a weather balloon with a GetEqual banner hanging from it – the balloon is drifting in the direction of the Mourning bayside mansion where the fundraiser is being held, and where Obama is currently heading.
Below is GetEqual’s Robin McGehee speaking with reporters near Mourning’s home.