October 12th, 2007
07:30 AM ET
14 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. Robert, Jakarta

    Yes, thank you CNN for being so balanced in your reporting. You certainly give no impression that Republicans are fair minded while Democrats are wild-eyed and sanctimonious. You dorks. This was advice given to health inspectors, not as you say "Democrats" giving commands to other Democrats. Tell you what Mooney and Walsh, why don't you both try working in a public clinic for a while and see how long you can stay away from getting your Hep vaccinations. Grow up, you nerds.

    October 12, 2007 02:01 am at 2:01 am |
  2. Dan (Columbia, MD)

    Wow. It's amazing how anyone would ever see liberals as arrogant and condescending elitists.

    October 12, 2007 07:32 am at 7:32 am |
  3. OutHouse Winchester VA

    That's why we have plenty of beer at the Nascar races, so we can wash our hands with the alcohol after peeing behind our camper. Can't wait for Hillary Clinton to attend a race and shout those famous words "Gentle Wash Your Hands" Democrats, don't you have something better to do like pass out more food stamps to the illegals!!

    October 12, 2007 08:18 am at 8:18 am |
  4. Glenn, Charlotte, NC

    I find it laughable that this is becoming an issue at all. The Republicans are grasping at something they hope will drive a wedge between some Americans and the Democratic party. If anyone stops to think about it, they will realize that in most states, teachers, healthcare workers, and any worker who works with a large population are required (or strongly recommended) to get these immunizations. The only one I wasn't required to get is the diptheria shot. Plus, these aides are studying a health situation at large events like Nascar. They will be in contact with hundreds of sick people while at hospitals and the medical tents.
    I'm proud they chose Nascar events to do their study. It shows they recognize the millions of fans and are helping to find a way to keep us all safe.

    October 12, 2007 08:28 am at 8:28 am |
  5. Steve, Jersey City, NJ

    And the Conservatives say that Liberals seize on anything and make it political. If I were going into a crowd of thousands at the start of flu season I'd want an immunization too. Now lets talk about some issues...

    October 12, 2007 08:41 am at 8:41 am |
  6. brian j

    I'm 43 now and have been going to NASCAR races since I was a teen in the south. I was at DEGA in the early 80's and if it has not changed, you probably need some kind of shot.

    October 12, 2007 08:56 am at 8:56 am |
  7. Rodney Dallas TX

    Take a good guzzle of the Kool-aid "Rodney" and understand he meant it that the "hicks or rednecks" were dirty.

    I go to Louden NH all the time and I find his comments disgusting and indefensible.

    We vote, and we will vote in unison against bigoted Democratic views.

    Posted By Tom Dedham, Mass : October 11, 2007 8:16 pm

    So Tom in Dedham MA. Your comments above, "Take a good guzzle of the kool-aid Rodney" are quite offensive. Are you using stereotypes about black men? For Your Information, I happen to be a 30 year old white man. Embarrassed that I have the right to vote? Well I'm emabarrassed that your state elected Mitt Romney as a governor. What a hypocrit he is! Lastly, the Rep. is from Mississippi. Since your so into stereotypes, wouldn't you consider that a redneck hillbilly state who is probably a fan of NASCAR?

    Don't presume that you know me. Trust me, everything you think you know is wrong.

    October 12, 2007 09:19 am at 9:19 am |
  8. Tom. Macon, GA

    What's up with you crazy liberals? I thought your focus was “if it feels good do it".

    Are you guys flip- flopping?

    Remember a few weeks ago, a huge rally in Jena Louisiana? Didn’t some of those people involved in that come to and address congress. I heard no precautions initiated then. We have large gatherings all the time. Concerts, parades, sporting events, I mean its clear that this guy targeted NASCAR fans.

    These are the red blooded Americans. People on here ask what that is. It’s the people make this country great. It’s the back bone of America. The little people in the back ground you don’t see. It’s the people who will stop beside the road and help you change your tire. It’s the people you can count on in a crunch. It’s the people who have your back and you have theirs. It’s the people who will dig in a fight for what’s moral a decent.

    NASCAR is the heart of America and have a prayer before every race. They aren't afraid to mention the word "Jesus".

    The dumb dems have went to far on this one.

    October 12, 2007 09:23 am at 9:23 am |
  9. John A. W.

    Im sorry but is this AMERICA, of whiny people who want to complain about NASCAR because people just want to kill another mans sport, or people have nothing better to complain about like poor poeple who need immunizations.

    October 12, 2007 09:43 am at 9:43 am |
  10. laurinda.ny

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

    October 12, 2007 09:49 am at 9:49 am |
  11. jeremiah, columbus, ga

    every member of the democratic party should immediately apologize for this outrage! come on. get over it.

    October 12, 2007 09:54 am at 9:54 am |
  12. J Houston, TX

    And no, I do not watch NASCAR or attend such events. I have a brain.

    Nor do I, but to suggest such things are for "brainless" people is rather absurd. My bet is you can't even fix your own car and have to take it to a mechanic for so much as an oil change.

    Racing is a very interesting sport and degrading the intelligence of a whole group just because you don't like it is kind of pathetic. I listen to Bach and enjoy existentialism.

    October 12, 2007 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
  13. Brad D. San Diego, CA

    I once insulted a bunch of NASCAR fans at a party. They started following me as I drove home. I wasn't at all nervous. I calmly, and obeying the speed limit, made a right turn, and lost them.

    October 12, 2007 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  14. NascarNed

    As an avid NASCAR fan, I would like to give a shout out to all you dems driving those little go-cart hybrids. I'm the guy in the big SUV that's passing you on the right with less than an inch to spare. Don't you just love that sucking sound followed by those uncontrollable rear-end wiggles? I do.

    Oh, and just so you'd know... I'm usually jamming to "Highway to Hell" when I hang that finger out for you..

    October 12, 2007 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  15. Tom - Dedham, 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 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  16. Pat, Huntington, NY

    They should add a shot to prevent rednecked-thyria...the condition where you marry your cousin at 14, believe the world is flat, and that gays should be killed on sight. NASCAR people are fat, lazy, idiots who watch a car go in circles because they don't have the intelligence to keep up with a real sport. They are also the type of people who voted for and gave the current idiot in chief Bush.

    October 12, 2007 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  17. John Morykwas, Montgomery, Alabama

    I think anyone going to, or through, Congressman's Thompson third world state of Mississippi should be immunized.
    The Great-grandson of the "Mad potter of Biloxi."

    October 12, 2007 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  18. Terry, El Paso, TX

    "What's up with you crazy liberals? I thought your focus was "if it feels good do it.'" – Tom

    Why is it that those who know nothing about Liberalism, cannot define it, have never read a book on it by someone who understands it, and don't know its history (or any other history), are the ones who are always defining it?

    October 12, 2007 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  19. S Carey, Sacramento, CA

    Good Lord, spare me the idiotic Republican rhetoric and absurd spin! What a freakshow!

    October 12, 2007 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  20. Gerald, Toms River, NJ

    Its good to know that the Democratic Party still believes in its core values of tolerance and inclusion... Or was that just a 2000 presidential campaign slogan?

    October 12, 2007 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  21. Robert, Shelton CT

    I would do the same, not because its NASCAR, but any event where there are alotta people in a tight spot, diseases spread...

    October 12, 2007 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  22. Henry Tucker, Ga

    Eric – NY,

    The quotes were to cite the CNN article. Are you suggesting CNN misquoted or incorrectly paraphrased Bennie Thompson?

    And I must applaud you. You easily made an idiot of yourself by attempting to take my words of sarcasm and use them as statements of facts.

    Actually Eric, I've been to quite a few NASCAR races – even worked a few. You, on the other hand, couldn't tell the difference between your ass from a roof flap. Metrosexuals like yourself enjoy lattes and tennis.

    October 12, 2007 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  23. Gary, Charlottesville, VA

    You've got to be kidding me, now we have to divide all our sports into red and blue too?

    I've never voted Republican, I'm not religious, I graduated from one of the most reputable public universities in the country, and I've been a NASCAR fan since I was 10 years old.

    I'm not fat, I very rarely drink beer, and I'm far from unintelligent. Lazy, now that one I'll give you. But I work 50 hour weeks anyway.

    The rest of us democrats need to realize that we have neither a monopoly on tolerance, as evidenced by many of the above statements, nor on intelligence, as evidenced by the fact that we're about to nominate Hillary Clinton to be our candidate for the presidency.

    Being a democrat doesn't make you immune from being a complete idiot, and being a NASCAR fan doesn't make you diseased, toothless, or drunk. Or Republican. If anything this is a blue-collar sport, not a red-state sport.

    For those of you telling me I should follow a "real" sport, I ask which one? One of those with all the drug-tainted records and terrible role models? No thanks, I think I'll stick to NASCAR and the NHL. Then when I have kids I won't have to explain why I'm investing so much time in watching people that are killing dogs and taking steroids.

    Grow up. All of you.

    October 12, 2007 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  24. J Ottey Boston, MA

    I agree S Carey..it's so funny that these same groups of people, these "red-blooded (like no one else is), patriotic nascar nation that get so "offended" at the insinuation that they have..oh god.. no not...germs!!!
    are always talking about them liberals trying to spin things and blah blah blah..when it's so clear that the "patriotic" republicans are assuming they're all (nascar nation) ignorant anyway and believe any spin they throw out..so that's an easy vote for the "red blooded" party..play victims..oh brother..whoever doesn't see the irony in this must sincerely be a "toofless, uneducated, inbred"..let go of the complex already..

    October 12, 2007 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  25. Sarah, Kansas City, MO

    This sort of reaction from the republicans just shows how desperate they are. As usual they are trying to focus attention on a non-issue because they have no plan, are wrong on the war, the economony, health care, and just about every other issue.

    When we have major problems today in the world the republicans are focused on the only issues that matter to them: abortion, guns, and the Bible. They use these issues to get themselves elected. In fact if abortion became illegal, they would lose one of their campaign wedge issues.

    October 12, 2007 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
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