The Ruben-Raskin endorsement dance
When Raskin received the backing of the Montgomery College Democrats and posted it on his campaign Web site, he soon heard from the college vice president and provost.
"The presentation on your website implies that this is an official endorsement by the college, something we do not allow," Brad J. Stewart of the college's Takoma Park-Silver Spring campus wrote to Raskin in an e-mail, asking him to remove the club's endorsement from his site.
Raskin called the request "ridiculous" in his reply and asked Stewart why no other candidates with similar Web site displays were asked to remove the Democrats' logo. He also questioned why Stewart would copy the message to an e-mail address that belongs to Lorraine Pearsall, a supporter of his opponent in the District that includes Takoma Park and parts of Silver Spring.
Steve Simon, a spokesman for the college, said that until Stewart received Raskin's response, "he didn't know about all of the other candidates."
Stewart was concerned, Simon said, about protecting the college's name because it does not endorse candidates.
Stewart's initial message to Raskin was a response to a call from Pearsall, who said that she thought the Web notice looked like an endorsement from the college and that "Sen. Ruben has done so much for education."
To Raskin, the interference was "one more brazen effort by Senator Ruben to use official and academic power to stifle student free speech."
Last month, Ruben contacted the principal of Montgomery Blair High School after learning that the student newspaper had endorsed Raskin. Ruben said the paper's staff members had not given her a chance to talk. Students said the senator did not respond to their interview requests.
Ruben's campaign manager, Philip L. Olivetti, said the campaign did not learn about the kerfuffle with the college Democrats until after the fact. After reading Raskin's response to Stewart, Olivetti said, "There he goes again. It's another case of the Raskin campaign overreacting."
After checking out the logo posted on Raskin's Web site, Simon, the college spokesman, said this week, "It looks fine."
July 28, 2006; 2:41 PM ET
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