A fashion precedent:Bushies hold flip-flop party
By Carrie ClickPost Independent StaffRULISON – Amid cowboy boots, sandals and street shoes, flip-flops were a popular choice of footwear at a “Party for the President” at Phil and Denise Vaughan’s place last week. A group of about 50 people gathered in front of the Vaughans’ big-screen TV to watch President George W. Bush address the Republican National Convention at Madison Square Garden in New York City.Flip-flop sandals have become a symbol for people who don’t support Bush’s opponent, Sen. John Kerry. Dee McCown, wife of Garfield County Commissioner Larry McCown, attended the Vaughans’ party. Besides donning flip-flops, she wore a tiny, red, white and blue flip-flop pendant around her neck, along with a white T-shirt that read, “10 out of 10 terrorists agree, anybody but Bush.” Bush maligned Kerry several times during his speech, once for initially voting to support the war in Iraq but voting later not to support “resources for victory,” in Bush’s words, prompting the Madison Square Garden audience to start chanting, “Flip-flop! Flip-flop!”Many in the Rulison group followed suit, chanting along with the TV. Bush supporter Sunny Stapleman of New Castle even took off one of her flip-flops and held it high in the air.”I believe with all my heart in President Bush,” Stapleman said later of her strong reaction to the president’s speech. “I’ve never been so passionate about an election. I’ve hated politics. But our nation needs strength, honor and conviction. He’s the man we need.” Sodas and speechesBefore Bush’s speech, people mingled, sampled appetizers and desserts prepared by Denise Vaughan, who’s a professional caterer, and sipped sodas and coffee. Two Colorado Republicans – Secretary of the Interior Gale Norton and U.S. Congressional candidate Greg Walcher, who both made appearances in New York – made conference calls to the group.”We’ve got Republicans united and pulling together,” said Walcher. “The stakes are high.” Just before Bush was scheduled to speak, Colorado Rep. Scott McInnis, whom Walcher hopes to replace, arrived with his wife, Laurie, shaking hands and greeting the Vaughans warmly before briefly addressing the crowd.”I’m winding down, but I’m still very involved,” McInnis said. “We’ve got great candidates.”McInnis also introduced Kristy Franks and her daughter, 15-month-old Avery to the group. Kristy’s husband, Dean, is a Green Beret currently on his second tour of duty in Iraq. Kristy and Avery are staying with Kristy’s parents, Ted and Cheryl Morgan of Rifle, while Dean is away.”Hopefully, he’ll be back by December,” Kristy said, holding Avery in her arms. “It’s fun to be with other Republicans while George talks,” said Jeff Johnson, an architect and Rifle city councilman who attended the party with his wife Kari. “This is a tough election.”The Rulison crowd sat on chairs and couches facing the Vaughans’ television, listening intently during Bush’s entire speech, breaking into applause, and occasionally, standing ovations.Bush’s comments about protecting Americans from terrorism, and his belief in the war in Iraq generated the most ardent reactions. Several people called out “Here! Here!” and “That’s right!” when Bush stated that he would not let the “world drift toward tragedy,” and that he has “a clear, positive plan for a safer world.” Comments about reforming the tax code, becoming less dependent on foreign sources of energy, and “eliminating frivolous lawsuits” against medical and business entities also generated huge applause from the local group. “What’d you think?” Scott McInnis asked the group after Bush finished. “I thought it was great.” Contact Carrie Click: 945-8515, ext. firstname.lastname@example.org
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