O’Disinvited: Tea Party of America organizers have changed their Saturday lineup twice, all within hours and involving just one person. Tuesday morning, the group said former Republican Delaware Senate nominee Christine O’Donnell would speak during its event featuring Sarah Palin at the Indianola Balloon Field. But then a few hours later, organizers announced O’Donnell wouldn’t be speaking after all. Founder Ken Crow said as of Monday his thought was, “I said, sure, why not? Bring her on”, when asked by O’Donnell’s staff whether she could speak.
But Crow claims he later figured out his group didn’t have an available speaking slot for O’Donnell, who is traveling the country on a speaking tour for her new book. Crow said his group didn’t disinvite O’Donnell for her recent abrupt decision to walk off during a live televised interview with CNN’s Piers Morgan. He said the decision also has nothing to do with other bad press O’Donnell has received since her now infamous “I am not a witch” campaign commercial last fall. Rather Crow blames the change on miscommunication between his people and hers. He said, “It’s pretty simple. There’s a lot of confusion on a lot of people’s parts and we and I didn’t have our ducks in a row.”
A spokesman for O’Donnell’s political action committee called me late Tuesday afternoon to say O’Donnell really isn’t sure what has changed. He said her staff had already been working on making arrangements for O’Donnell to take a red-eye flight to Des Moines from Las Vegas, where she was scheduled to give a speech Friday evening. That was the only way to get her to Indianola in time for the speaking slot around 1pm before Palin gave her speech. Being a mid-sized city, Des Moines has few options for direct flights from many other cities.
O’Donnell tweeted two messages about the late developments Tuesday afternoon. She wrote, “We were told things changed on their end, and I truly wish them the best with this important event.” And she wrote, “Was honored to be asked to speak at Iowa event Saturday, and changed my flight to make it work.”
Crow doesn’t deny that not all his tea partiers were thrilled to have O’Donnell come. But he said he personally would have been fine with her speaking. He said, “You know, Dave, people get mad at everybody. There’s people who don’t want President Obama to come to a rally. There’s people that don’t want Sarah Palin to come to a rally.”
But Saturday he still expects thousands to come to his rally to see Palin, even without her fellow tea partier, O’Donnell, by her side.
Saturday’s event has already been moved from Waukee to the Indianola Balloon Field to make room for the expected crowd.