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Thursday, August 30, 2012

Paul Backers Aided Disruption of Ryan\'s Speech


The women's antiwar group CodePink was behind the disruption of Representative Paul D. Ryan's speech on Wednesday night, but it was in part a product of the Romney campaign's continuing dispute with Ron Paul supporters.

“An angry Ron Paul person was like, here, take my pass,” said Laura Mills, the 21-year-old CodePink intern who was escorted out of the Tampa Bay Times Forum after interrupting Mr. Paul's speech.

Ms. Mill and a more seasoned activist, Ann Wright, were just waiting for Mr. Ryan to say something about health care. When he did, they yelled, “Health care, not warfare” and “My body, my choice.” Ms. Mills unfurled a banner that read, “Vagina: Can't Say It? Don't Legislate It,â € a reference to an abortion debate in Michigan when a female lawmaker was barred from speaking after referring to women's genitals.

The protest was quickly drowned out by the crowd's energetic chants of “U.S.A., U.S.A.”

Ms. Mill said her credential, which she got from supporters of Mr. Paul after his son Rand, a senator from Kentucky, addressed the convention, would have put her in a remote area of the forum. But by pretending that Ms. Wright was her grandmother, they talked their way into a seating area closer to the floor, near rows of reporters.

A recent graduate from Knox College in Illinois, Ms. Mills said she was more interested in CodePink's less ostentatious effort to organize an antidrone movement. But she hopes her action will give another girl “the courage to stand up for herself â€" maybe not in the middle of a possible vice president's speech â€" but maybe in her own personal life.”

Asked if CodePin k has anything in store for Mr. Romney's acceptance speech on Thursday, Ms. Mills said, “I don't know.”

Members of the seasoned protest group, which has carried out similar disruptions at political conventions since 2004, have been parading around Tampa in vagina costumes and trying to conduct a citizen's arrest of Condoleezza Rice.