October 12th, 2007
07:30 AM ET
15 years ago

Dem takes heat over NASCAR immunization

Fans watch race action during the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series UAW-Ford 500 at Talladega Superspeedway last weekend.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Congressional Republicans Thursday seized on a Democrat's recent suggestion that his aides get immunized before attending NASCAR events, claiming such a recommendation shows a "disconnect" with America.

Asking in a press release whether Democrats are "allergic to NASCAR nation," the National Republican Congressional Committee wrote, "While red-blooded, patriotic Americans were packing their coolers and gathering their families in preparation of attending last week’s race at Talladega, a leading Democrat was advising staff to get immunized."

The NRCC is referencing Mississippi Rep. Bennie Thompson, the chairman of the Homeland Security Committee, who advised aides to get immunized against hepatitis A, hepatitis B, tetanus, diphtheria, and influenza before heading to the NASCAR event. The aides were on a fact finding mission on health preparedness at large events.

"Maybe the House Homeland Security Chairman Bennie Thompson was afraid his fellow Democrats might come down with a case of Red State Republicanism after coming in contact with hundreds of thousands of regular Americans attending the event," the NRCC said in its release. "No matter what his reasoning, Thompson’s ignorant behavior is inexcusable and clearly exposes the fundamental disconnect between the Democrat-led Congress and the rest of America."

The NRCC's statement follows a strongly-worded letter to Thompson Friday from Rep. Robin Hayes, R-North Carolina, which said, "I have been to numerous NASCAR races, and the folks who attend these events certainly don't pose any health hazard to congressional staffers or anyone else."

Responding in a letter Wednesday, Thompson wrote, "Since committee staff members are visiting hospital and other health-care facilities available at or near these venues, including areas where groups of people are detained before being transferred to other off-site facilities, I believe that the recommendation (not requirement) that our congressional staff receive these same immunizations was sound."

- CNN's Alexander Mooney and Deirdre Walsh

Filed under: Political
soundoff (96 Responses)
  1. Tom - Dedham, Mass

    Posted By Rodney Dallas TX : October 12, 2007 9:19 am

    Rodney, the Kool-aid reference has nothing to do with he color of your skin it is in reference to the liberal Kool-aid.

    What stereotype are you trying to put across?

    Bottom line is he said it, no matter where he is from, it came across as Nascar people are dirty.

    Imagine if he were a Republican who said the same thing to a group of people BEFORE attending an "Ice skating show"?

    Who would rightfully be offended then?

    Think about it.

    I am a "yankee" who loves car racing, but doesn't just sit there drinking beer, I really enjoy the sport.

    Sorry Laurinda, this is in response to you:

    TOM FROM DEDHAM, MASS..I am embarrassed that your state would keep that old drunk Kennedy as your senator all these years.

    Posted By laurinda.ny : October 12, 2007 9:49 am

    This has to be a "fake laurinda", as the real one would know better than to try and paint ME with the same Kennedy brush just because I am from Mass.

    About a hundred of my friends and family will be attending the "Ted is dead" party I am having when he goes, complete with "Chivas, Chowda and free driving lessons for the first 20 at the door".

    Food and drink will be free as any socialist would expect, and if it happens during the week, no problem, take the day off, as he never worked a day in his life.

    If anyone get's pulled over just say it was sleeping pills that you took or simply use the famous Kennedy saying "Do you know who I am"?

    October 12, 2007 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  2. Trollmaster, CA

    Any Republican that would get outraged over this non issue instead of a 9 trillion dollar national debt truly shows their disconnect with America.

    October 12, 2007 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |

    Rep Thompson should have recommended that his staff get immunized for red-state stupidness. If these people vote republican in the alleged numbers that has been mention then they do come down with extreme mental discombobulation from attending such events.

    October 12, 2007 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  4. Will, OKC, OK

    Ha ha, is this really the kind of press releases they are putting out now?


    October 12, 2007 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  5. Bob, Seattle, WA

    NO SURPRISE HERE. The Democrats in Washington State government in Olympia, WA spurned a development proposal for a NASCAR track in their state this year saying they didn't want 'that kind of people' making up their neighborhoods. Democrats continually have a 'hand out for begging and a mouth full of much obliged'. They are full of themselves in SNOBBERY but very light headed in SUBSTANCE. No 'meat and potatoes' for the masses. Only wine and lobster at the tables of the False Overseers.

    October 12, 2007 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  6. Ed,Ellenville,New York

    They took out the lead in the gas there,finally,to restore three or four IQ points in the crowd but you're still breathing in the benzene! You're an idiot for exposing yourself and your children to this poison. Watch it on TV and spare yourselves the cancer. This is a REAL threat,not a viral scare! This is what they're hiding with this. Put up a phony issue to hide the real one. Remember-there is no b-3 bomber okay?

    October 12, 2007 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  7. Danny G. Boca Raton, FL

    To take a recommendation given to staffers on a fact finding mission this far is moronic! when the last Republican-led congress woke Pres. Bush at 3:00am in the morning to have him hault procedures that would allow Terri Shiavo to rest in peace, he cited he did it to be in the side of caution, after ALL courts in the land had given the O.K. That I believe was a much bigger outrage than what the Republicans seem to be offended by... so perhaps the congressman is over-concern... he did not make those recommendations to the public, he never suggested ALL AMERICANS SHOULD VACCINATE before attending, why couldn't the republicans be mature enough to question him in private about it and RESOLVING the situation... this is TOTALLY POLITICAL and it is a VERY CHEAP SHOT.

    October 12, 2007 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  8. Real American, Elko, NV

    I am amazed and utterly dismayed. I've read most of these if not all of these comments. I've read about liberals who are upset that the conservatives have made an issue about this. I've also read about conservatives who are upset that the liberals are upset about it. I've seen references to Rush, Bush, Kennedy, and a few others.

    First of all, while I'm not the least bit interested in NASCAR, I'm not going to call people who enjoy it fat or lazy or dumb. No. I'm happy that people who enjoy NASCAR are getting to do what they enjoy. If watching a group of cars go around in a circle many times really fast makes them happy, then more power to them. They have just as much right as the rest of you to pursue happiness so long as it doesn't infringe on another's right to do the same.

    Second, Neither party is truly in touch with the American people. Both parties are quite guilty of making comments and taking actions that have had negative results. For all those liberals who are about to tell me otherwise, think about NAFTA. For all those conservatives who just said, right on, CAFTA doesn't inspire much confidence either.

    The One and only post that I found worth reading was from A Farmer in Farmer City, IL. And, he/she is absolutely right. Those who believe that winning is the only important thing and that it doesn't matter how we get there should not be allowed to vote. And, I'm talking about both sides conservative and liberal. Simply put, those of you who are in this flame war for the sake of putting down another have made the issue, your whole political beliefs, so personal that you can't possibly think straight.

    And, the last time I checked, that NASCAR fan that some of you are so fond of putting down works in the auto parts store or changes tired or serves meals, or puts out fires, and arrests criminals, builds your roads, or builds buildings, or cooks at restaurants, etc., etc., etc. Gee, they sound like those very same people many of you like to call Working Class Americans that you so claim to love. Now, not all Working Class Americans are NASCAR fans but many are.

    And, while we're on the subject of Working Class Americans, do all of your consider Actors and Actresses and Politicians and Sport Personalities and other Rich people not Working Class too? Most of them had to work hard to get there. Tiger Woods wasn't born a professional golfer. He has to work very hard to get there. Paul McCartney wasn't born a musician. He had to work very hard to get there too. So did almost every famous person who know.

    October 12, 2007 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  9. Amy L. Miami, Fl

    do you they make an immunization for stoooooopid? I'm in Florida, I could sure as hell use one.

    October 12, 2007 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  10. Sean, Brooklyn NY

    Strike another (pseudo) victory for Republican mud-slinging tactics. What makes so-called middle-Americans think that anyone in the Republican party is 'in touch' with their concerns, or comes from a background that resembles their own at all? Is it only because they pepper their speech with hackneyed, Cold-war era phrases like "red-blooded, patriotic Americans?" How boring; Repubs are going to have to start getting a bit more creative if they think that Rove-style divisiveness is going to keep working. Feel free to stay in that box, that stereotype, if it makes 'middle-Americans' feel better about yourselves. Republicans play the game of setting Americans against each other around these arbitrary lines of class, religion, sexuality and allegiance. However, every single major Republican politician is likewise a member of the 'elite', according to the calumnious criteria with which they charge their equally privileged Democrat counterparts. I thought it was part of the American dream to better yourself, to earn more, to become well educated, to have the right to intelligent and strong leadership. Seems that we are a culture of 'C+' aspiration, where everyone has to avoid offending the delicate sensibilities of middle-class Christian white Americans, perhaps the least (actual) put-upon class of humans in the world. However, the last two election results show that this self-styled 'class' of voter is quite far from the majority interest; and personally I am happy to enjoy car-racing and football and barbecues, but I don't think I want Ricky Bobby leading the country (which compared to Bush would still be an improvement..).

    October 12, 2007 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  11. Austin, Greenville, SC

    This isn't as much of an issue as some would suggest.

    Lots of employers recommend immunization before attending large events with thousands of people. My company does it every year, and even brings in medical staff to give the shots. It's cheaper than paying for sick employees.

    Diseases can spread easily in large crowds of people. It's a fact.

    This isn't a social statement, it's a precaution.

    October 12, 2007 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  12. Amy L. Miami, Fl

    "Seems that we are a culture of 'C+' aspiration, where everyone has to avoid offending the delicate sensibilities of middle-class Christian white Americans, perhaps the least (actual) put-upon class of humans in the world."

    Sean-I will be shamelessly stealing this gem!

    October 12, 2007 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  13. Henry Tucker, Ga

    "Seems that we are a culture of 'C+' aspiration, where everyone has to avoid offending the delicate sensibilities of middle-class Christian white Americans, perhaps the least (actual) put-upon class of humans in the world"


    I would challenge this statement. In fact the last bastions of permitted "group bashing" are White – Male – Fat – Christians. Choose one or take them all ... writing offensive remarks assumes the offended individual will be "tolerant".

    Write something offensive about Jews (2800 angry posts and counting), Gays, Blacks, Women, etc – and be prepared to be labeled: homophobic, sexist, racist, etc.

    How about a LITTLE bit of honesty?????

    Oh yeah – forgot one more – rednecks are ok to insult. Right??

    October 12, 2007 07:02 pm at 7:02 pm |
  14. Mac, Severn, Md

    Do these same staffers ride the subway in Washington, DC without their hepatitis, tetanus and other shots?

    Do they ever go to Walter Reed hospital to visit our troops? Without their hepatitis, tetanus and other shots?

    Me thinks the Congressman opened mouth and inserted foot!

    October 12, 2007 07:31 pm at 7:31 pm |
  15. KENT SONNIER weatherford texas

    where's the outrage for benny,s comments about nascar, if a rep would have said what he said yoiu liberals would still be talking about it, that makes you seem very hipocriticle in reporting, and finally the only global warming is between al gores ears, and that,s all that's in there.

    October 12, 2007 07:41 pm at 7:41 pm |
  16. steve Loudon, TN

    How do you immunize yourself from the truth....the Dems know how to do that. And those filthy Southern Republicans are going to give the pansy Dems some dread disease....it won't be a backbone I am sure. What bums

    October 12, 2007 08:05 pm at 8:05 pm |
  17. Ronnie.Irving,Texas

    Only red necks go to Nascar and they shouldn't be allowed to vote anyway.

    October 12, 2007 09:51 pm at 9:51 pm |
  18. christian, selden, ny

    like republican reps hang out with rednecks at nascar? they are about big business not ignorant rednecks they just use them to get elected

    October 13, 2007 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  19. Tom Dedham, Mass

    Imagine if he were a Republican who said the same thing to a group of people BEFORE attending an "Ice skating show"?

    Who would rightfully be offended then?

    Think about it.

    We non-liberals would say, that was a dumb thing to say and you liberals along with the MSM would have this as story one, page one for a week.

    October 13, 2007 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  20. chris campion, new jeresy

    Dear jeff you have a brain. have you cheked lately. do you relize the deverseity of this sport? guess not. well let me fill your , well i was going to say dumb ass, but i wont, in. there are folks of all walks and backrounds that enjoy this sport. if this comment were said about attending a nba game what do think the fall out would have been? I live in a town where the average home costs 750,000.00. know where im more at home? at any race track. there are real people that care about one another. when was the last time you had a news event about a brawl at a nascar event. never! it doesnt happen. as deverse as the crowd is we love the sport and in this country have a right to enjoy it with out some loud mouth, no nothing, never been to a race , dumb ass like you or the senator making comments. go to a race see what i mean.......

    October 13, 2007 09:08 pm at 9:08 pm |
  21. Jim Chicago

    Yep people this what Democrats think of the south ...and you wonder why they cant ever compete in presidental elections. the left has the biggest prejuduce and are the biggest hypocrits

    October 15, 2007 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
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