January 15, 2008

Douglas Bruce Gone Wild--Kicks Photographer At Swear-In Prayer, Then Demands Apology--All Following GOP Peer Rebuke

**Updated and bumped**

Don't bring the GOP down, Bruce! (my apologies, first thing that came to mind)

Douglas Bruce's no good, very bad day--entirely the result of his own actions.

“He can take the oath or take a hike"--Rep. Jim Kerr, R-Littleton
Bruce, the author of the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights, was criticized by Democrats and Republicans for delaying his swearing-in until five days into the 2008 session and then refusing to take the oath until the full House was present, an unprecedented request for an appointee filling a vacancy.

Speaker of the House Andrew Romanoff, D-Denver, gave Bruce the option to take the oath at four different times but refused to do it while the House was conducting business, setting up Monday’s showdown in the Capitol.

Bruce gave in, taking his seat while only five other legislators were in the chamber, saying he’d made his point that he was being picked on by House leadership.

Right before that, the House Republican Caucus voted 22-1 to ask the House District 15 Vacancy Committee to appoint someone else to fill the seat if Bruce did not take his oath by the end of the day. Members said they needed to send a message that the rules of the House are more important than a single man and that the district needs representation.

“He can take the oath or take a hike,” said Rep. Jim Kerr, R-Littleton.
Other House GOP members (with one notable exception, Rep. Kevin Lundberg, R-Berthoud) took Bruce to task:
"The citizens of his House district need to be represented," House Minority Leader Mike May, R-Parker, said during the caucus, according to the Colorado Springs Gazette. "This can't go on. We can't have this sideshow every day of someone refusing to take the oath of office."
. . .
Rep. Al White, R-Hayden, introduced the resolution, saying the caucus must show Bruce that "no individual is greater than the office we represent or the constituents we represent," according to the Gazette.
. . .
Even Rep. Kent Lambert, R-Colorado Springs, the lawmaker who helped Bruce enter the floor this morning as a guest, voted against him.

"It's the very strong sense of the Republican Caucus that a member who is elected or appointed to fill a vacancy ought to take the oath of office within a reasonable time and begin representing one's constituents," Rep. Bob Gardner, R-Colorado Springs, said after the vote.
. . .
"It's also a sense that no single member of this body, of either party, is larger than the party or the work that we do. This is not about any single individual," Gardner said.

"We believe very strongly as representatives, and it is what I think we were expressing in our caucus today, that we expect people to be present for duty and to represent their constituents," he added. "Even more critical – our party is in the minority and we need each and every vote all of the time," he said.
With Douglas Bruce everything is about Douglas Bruce. Didn't you guys get the memo?

And if his actions up to this morning weren't cause for ensuring permanent minority party status for Colorado's recently floundering GOP, then his subsequent actions sure didn't help.

Following this brave and warranted (and welcome!) rebuke from his GOP peers--obviously fed up with his grandstanding even before he officially joined them--Bruce proceeded to provide even more anti-GOP fodder when, during the ceremonial prayer before his swearing-in, he kicked Rocky Mountain News photographer Javier Manzano while he was taking Bruce's picture--and then demanded that the photographer apologize to him:
Bruce brought a Bible to the Legislature and kicked a photographer from the Rocky Mountain News after the man took his photo during the traditional morning prayer to open Monday's brief session.

Several photographers were taking pictures of Bruce to chronicle his first day as a legislator.

"Don't do that again," Bruce said, then brought down the sole of his shoe hard on photographer Javier Manzano's bent knee.

Denver Post photographer Mark Osler was right next to Manzano when it happened.

"I took two pictures in quick succession and Javier was about to take a picture and Mr. Bruce looked down at him and said something to the affect of, 'don't,' and Javier put his camera down," said Osler. "He put the camera up and took one frame and at that point Mr. Bruce said something to the affect of, 'I told you, don't,' and he kicked him pretty hard."


"How showing a person in prayer is negative, I don't understand. If there's a problem, there's ways of dealing with it that are not kicking another human being."--RMN publisher John Temple

Video shot by CBS4 shows Bruce bowing his head in prayer, the DP and RMN photographers, and finally Bruce kicking Manzano and then verbally reprimanding him.

Bruce remained defiant and chastised the media for even broaching the subject (video of news conference):
"I think the Rocky Mountain News photographer ought to apologize to the House and to me and to all the people whom he disrupted. He needs to get a lesson in manners and decorum," said Bruce. "He was told already not to block the aisle. See you want to make a big deal out of it and again sort of make me out to be the bad guy. He was disrupting a prayer and disrupting a Pledge of Allegiance and blocking traffic and I told him politely not to do it and he insisted on doing it and he ought to be ashamed of himself."

"I said, 'Don't do that,'" said Bruce. "His behavior was reprehensible. He shouldn't be disrupting a public prayer during a House session."
. . .
"He should not have done what he did. You want me to say that 50 times? I'll send you an e-mail. He should not have done what he did. He should apologize to me and to the House," Bruce told the media. "I was trying to stop him from causing a public disruption and I asked him not to do it beforehand. Specifically. I'm glad that he maybe, finally, I hope, learned a lesson."
The other photographer and RMN publisher John Temple argued that Manzano did nothing wrong (agreed, wholeheartedly) and that Bruce's actions were reprehensible:
Osler says the photographers were not violating any rules.

"There's nothing that would have given anybody any cause to think that what was going on was inappropriate. No one else responded to it other than Mr. Bruce," said Osler.

Rocky Mountain News Publisher John Temple said Manzano had a right to take Bruce's picture.

"It's standard and no lawmaker makes the rules of what should occur on the floor. The rules are set by the Speaker of the House and if there's a problem, the Speaker of the House will address the problem," said Temple.

Temple said he would discuss the incident with House leadership.

"The House floor is a place where journalists are allowed to operate. It's outrageous for Mr. Bruce in a public place to assault a photographer," Temple said. "All the leadership that I spoke to were concerned about what the impact this was on the reputation and the image of the House."
. . .
"It was certainly inappropriate and over the top," said Osler. "You have to be able to exhibit restraint when you are operating in the capacity he is and he didn't and I think that's inappropriate."

"How showing a person in prayer is negative, I don't understand," said Temple. "If there's a problem, there's ways of dealing with it that are not kicking another human being."
It appears that the only person on the House floor in need of a good lesson "in manners and decorum" is Bruce himself.

You stay classy, Douglas Bruce.

The Colorado Index--Doug Bruce, the clown

Dem blogs are all over this--and rightly so--and in a rare moment of bipartisanship applaud the remaining House GOP members for taking a stand against Bruce's self-aggrandizement:
SquareState--Doug Bruce assaults Rocky photographer
ColoradoPols--Bruce Goes on the Attack...Literally
Elevated Voices--Colorado’s Top Jackass: Douglas Bruce, Doug Bruce Kicks Photographer at State Capitol

Labels: , , ,

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home