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Obama Visit Brings Protestors, Selectmen Clashes

The massive weekend gathering at WHS brought out both controversy and Romney supporters.

It was a surreal scene at Windham High School for this Saturday's visit from President Barack Obama, as 2,300 visitors squeezed into the toasty gymnasium for the appearance.

But while so many came to see Obama speak, there was an icier greeting for the motorcade just off Exit 3, as dozens of residents packed outside A.J. Letizio Sales & Marketing to protest the Democratic leader.

All of the protestors lined Route 111, many holding signs supporting Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney.

A giant sign draped near the entrance for the business was emblazoned with what has become a trademark phrase for the Romney camp, the taunting "We Did Build It."

Other signs read "Obama isn't working" and "Defeat Obama."

That Romney support from Windham residents came in advance of today's scheduled appearance by both the GOP hopeful and his new running mate Paul Ryan in Manchester.

Controversy still hasn't subsided on the financial side of the Obama visit, as Windham Selectmen have not agreed on whether the town will deal with the public safety expenses itself or bill the campaign.

Selectman Vice Chairman Ross McLeod said this weekend that since there has yet to be a vote, his fellow board member Bruce Breton "overstepped his authority" when he said that Windham will bill the campaign.

McLeod issued a statement regarding the media attention of Breton's initial comments:

To be clear, Bruce Breton had zero authority to present his personal opinion to anyone as though it were an action by the Board of Selectmen/Town. He abused his position, and it's a shame that the media accepted and printed - front page, no less, his statement without any apparent questioning that would have immediately shown it to be not true.

McLeod added that the town has "historically welcomed presidential candidates without ever raising an issue regarding reimbursement." He referenced recent visits from Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich.

He also called Obama's visit a "great honor and privilege for Windham," and that he would welcome Romney were he to visit the town.

"I believe in the value of welcoming and encouraging discourse and discussion on the issues," McLeod said.

As it currently stands, Selectman Kathleen DiFrusica was the only board member who didn't publicly say she is leaning one way or another on the issue. DiFruscia told Windham Patch on Aug. 17 that she will wait to listen to the arguments of her fellow board members.

The rest of the board is split on the issue, with Breton and Phil LoChiatto believing the town should bill the campaign, and Roger Hohenberger saying that he is leaning in favor of McLeod's stance of the town paying itself.

DiFruscia did admonish Breton's public comments along with McLeod, saying she took exception to his decision to "unilaterally speak for the board" on the issue.

In a statement to the Eagle Tribune late last week, Breton said the decision to bill the campaign "is what it is" but that he would wait to hear what other board members think.

At that time, he said an emergency meeting would be called if there were differences in opinion.

McLeod said the board doesn't need to go that far on the matter.

"There is absolutely no need for an emergency meeting," he said. "Any such action can take place at a later regular meeting of the Board of Selectmen."

Town Administrator Dave Sullivan has indicated that a vote on the public safety dollars will likely take place at the board's next meeting on Aug. 27.

The cost for Saturday's emergency management needs has been estimated at $5,000 to $6,000.

Jill Williams August 20, 2012 at 10:18 AM
Letizo & Bretton are all for Windham and are on the lookout for the Taxpayers. Sullivan and Mcloed are on te way out soon !!
Gabriel Paci August 20, 2012 at 11:31 AM
Both campaigns will reach over $1 billion in contribution. They can certainly afford to pay for the cost the town of Windham incurs in hosting them. Our taxes are already exorbitant. Our elected officials should be looking out for tax payers not public discourse. These speeches add nothing to public discourse. They are filled with lies, innuendo and stupidity.
Atlant August 20, 2012 at 12:29 PM
So the photos that prove there were "dozens" show one guy and some propped-up signs along with a maximum of twelve people along a roadside. Yeah, I guess that's "dozens" using Republican financial math. Kind'a like Mitt's tax rate that is 13% but rises to 20% if you count in non-tax charitable donations.
Jane Lang August 20, 2012 at 01:05 PM
Even Fox 25 News reported this morning they think it's a big mistake to bill back the President campaign. Windham should be happy over 2300 people came into their town from all over NH and Mass and help sustain the local economy by spending money whether for breakfast or early supper afterwards..We stopped into McDonalds afterwards and saw many in Klemm's business. Step up local businesses and voice your gratification to have the business.
Celia Brown August 20, 2012 at 02:14 PM
Nah, one thing to bill, but Obama has the track record of not paying his bills....However the fuzz were nice enough to let me through and dump my trash across the street. Fitting.... Oh and kudos to Shaheen, who you can always count on to demonstrate both cluelessness and arrogance, introduces Obama as "And let's not forget that this is the commander in chief who finally led the mission that brought Osama bin Laden to justice." Sorry intel on the ground, sorry Seal team 6…… There was a reason we punted her out of the corner office in Concord….She is next on the NH 'Get Well Plan' punch list….Please go back to Harvard and teach alongside Miss Pow Wow Chow...
Michael Ryan August 20, 2012 at 02:23 PM
Interesting take Jane. I hadn't heard that so many were crowded in the local businesses. I wonder if any board members will bring that up next week.
JIM August 20, 2012 at 03:37 PM
obamas visit to Washington has cost to our nation 5 trillion in new debt obamas visit to windham..... a couple thousand in revenue for local businesses ..which if obama and his class warfare administration get their way they will just take it out of them with new taxes. the small gain for Windham businesses is far out weighed by our enormous debt obama has incurred for our country
One Man Wolf Pack August 20, 2012 at 03:39 PM
@Jane Lang, with all due respect who really cares what Fox news or any other media outlet thinks? We have more money in politics now than ever before, so why should local towns folk be footing the bill at all? Why isn't the town MAKING money on the event? Your answer is economic benefit? My answer is that politicians left and right, chisel the taxpayer at ever turn and that is exactly what should be stopped; that is the exact tradition that represents cronyism politics and is at the very root of our nation's current issues.
JIM August 20, 2012 at 03:47 PM
obama to business owners ........''You didn't build that, somebody else did that '' Navy Seals to obama ..................''You didn't kill osama , Navy Seals did that '' watch this video by former Navy Seals they speak for those who cannot speak their mind while in uniform Please pass this video on to everyone you know we need to get as many Americans as we can to see and hear the truth !!! OBAMA IS A TRAITOR http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=X-Xfti7qtT0
JIM August 20, 2012 at 03:56 PM
WELCOME TO BOLSHEVIK OBAMAS AMAREKA COMRADES !!! FORMER Marine arrested by obamas SS henchmen for patriotic face book posts http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=YaE5zChbC5w
Ruth Coole August 20, 2012 at 04:00 PM
It was an historic event to see the President as well as privilege for Windham! Despite political views! I attended to see this historic event!
Ruth Coole August 20, 2012 at 04:03 PM
Many stopped at local businesses not only at Klemm's and McDonalds, but, other places too for coffee, breakfast, as well as early dinner.
JIM August 20, 2012 at 04:08 PM
when the circus comes to town, the circus pays for any cost related to their being here, the only difference between the obama circus and bozos big top ...different clowns.
One Man Wolf Pack August 20, 2012 at 04:15 PM
Historic event? Who are you fooling it was a campaign stop, this wont even make the history books. SEND HIM THE BILL and then back bill every active politician to come to our school or town, this is crazy to think that using taxpayer funds to defray the cost of a campaign is even consider reasonable!
Tom case August 20, 2012 at 05:46 PM
I can see the need for our Police and Fire to protect the Residents from such a terrible person, as indicated by many comments.
One Man Wolf Pack August 20, 2012 at 06:45 PM
Coffee, breakfast and early dinner? It would have been better if we just gave those local businesses the money we spent on the campaign. This is absolutely crazy, so instead of having the transfer station open longer, or roads paved better, or a better IT infrastructure in town we are going to donate to a political campaign? A campaign that by all accounts will be the most financially well endowed event in American history; and they can't cover the expenses incurred for their events? They the "1%"er political parties can't spread the wealth and bequeath a profit to the townsfolk who's very vote they are courting? This is absurd.
One Man Wolf Pack August 20, 2012 at 06:50 PM
Weather you think he is terrible or not is absolutely irrelevant; that is the background noise to the topic of the article. ALL politicians holding campaign events should pay for the expenses incurred by the town for those events, and that is the minimum! I am of the mind that they should pay the town such that the town makes a profit rather than just meet expenses!
Truth Be Told August 20, 2012 at 11:29 PM
Breton's comment . . . it is what it is. . isn't what it is!
Paul Jacobs August 21, 2012 at 03:03 AM
It is funny to watch the two hard core democrats, Kathleen and Ross, just want to give our money away. Well I guess that is what democrats do anyway.
tgbthyujiu August 21, 2012 at 05:58 AM
McLeod added that the town has "http://www.thenorthfacesclub.com historically welcomed presidential candidates without ever raising an issue regarding reimbursement." He referenced recent visits from Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich.fgrey342 He also called Obama's visit a "great honor and privilege for Windham," and that he would welcome Romney were he to visit the town. http://www.thenorthfacesclub.com/north-face-jackets-women-c-27.html "I believe in the value of welcoming and encouraging discourse and discussion on the issues," McLeod said.
Paul Jacobs August 22, 2012 at 01:45 AM
@ Jane Lang, spoken like a true democrat. Subsidize the Obama campaign stop and now we should be subsidizing local businesses. How about I spend my money on the businesses I want to support.

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