Will Bush allow shutdown of D.C.?

By Les Kinsolving

Editor’s note: Each week, WorldNetDaily White House correspondent Les Kinsolving asks the tough questions no one else will ask. And each week, WorldNetDaily brings you the transcripts of those dialogues with the president and his spokesman. If you’d like to suggest a question for the White House, submit it to WorldNetDaily’s exclusive interactive forum MR. PRESIDENT!

The anti-capitalist convergence, which, in April of 2000, attracted 10,000 protesters to Washington to demonstrate against the annual meetings of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, has now vowed, through its organizer, Michael Loadenthal, “to shut the city down” during next Friday’s meetings of the groups.

Protesters are planning a bicycle rollout in the middle of morning rush hour at Washington’s Union Station plus other demonstrations at bridges, subway stops and the White House. Washington’s city government estimated the cost for 3,000 extra or overtime police officers at $8.7 million.

At the White House daily news briefing today, WND asked presidential press secretary Ari Fleischer:

WND: In view of the announced intentions of the anti-capitalist convergence to shut down the city of Washington next Friday, D.C. Police Chief Charles Ramsey has advised the public, including thousands of federal workers, to “bring a sandwich and a good CD.” And my question is, the head of the federal government, for whom this city of Washington was created, doesn’t agree that the city should be allowed to be closed down, does he, Ari?

FLEISCHER: Lester, I think this is an issue we have seen before in Washington, D.C., and in many other cities as there are international gatherings, and the federal government is working very closely with the District of Columbia government and police to make certain that two things happen: one, the American people’s right to peaceful protest is honored and respected; and two, that the city can function and function well and function smoothly. That’s the efforts of our government and we hope that will be the case.

On another issue, WND asked Fleisher:

WND: On Oct. 2, the president is scheduled to speak in Baltimore at a fund-raiser for Congressman Bob Ehrlich for governor, who has announced he will not raise taxes, while his rival, Lt. Gov. Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, has refused to say she won’t raise taxes if she is elected, while new polls indicate that Ehrlich is now ahead. And my question: Is the president glad that Congressman Ehrlich will not raise taxes, and has experienced nothing from the Maryland Republicans like Mrs. Townsend has suffered from her fellow Maryland Democrats, who have furiously questioned her whole campaign?

FLEISCHER: There is no question that there are a group of people who want to raise taxes on the American people. And the president is very supportive of those who want to lower taxes and prevent people from increasing taxes.

WND: So he’s happy with Ehrlich, isn’t he?

FLEISCHER: I think the president is supporting him in the campaign, you can absolutely count on that.

Among other strong Democrat criticisms of candidate Townsend, Baltimore’s Democrat Mayor Martin O’Malley described her as “a vacuum of leadership.”

Baltimore’s state legislature Chairman Howard Rawlings warned: “No one wants someone weak running this state” – while Baltimore’s state Sen. Clarence Blount advised:

“Even if you don’t like our candidate, you ought to start loving her.”

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