Glitter Bandits Strike Pawlenty

By Eliza

Jun 16, 2011 2:32pm

ABC News’ Matt Jaffe (@jaffematt) and Arlette Saenz (@ArletteSaenz) report:

Another glittered bandit struck out at a GOP presidential candidate.

A few weeks ago it was Newt Gingrich who was doused in glitter by a liberal activist. On Thursday, it was Tim Pawlenty.

The former Minnesota governor was reportedly showered in glitter at an event today in San Francisco.

Two protesters – Nancy Mancias and Chelsea Byers – managed to get some pink glitter – plus some confetti – on Pawlenty as the Republican candidate was signing books outside a conference organized by a coalition of health insurance companies.

"Tim Pawlenty, where is your courage to stand?" the protesters said, according to Politico's Kate Nocera. "Stand for reproductive rights! Stand for gay rights!"

Mancias and Byers are members of CODEPINK, an anti-war activist group known for its protests and demonstrations.  CODEPINK founder Medea Benjamin told ABC News the glittering was planned to bring attention to the need for equal rights for all as well as singling out Pawlenty for his views on gay marriage.

“This is the home of Harvey Milk,” Benjamin said.  “This is where people flock around the country to be able to live freely and express themselves as gay and lesbian people.  It’s the place where we respect each other and celebrate diversity and to have Tim Pawlenty be there spewing what we consider homophobic attitudes and non inclusive policies in opposition to gay marriage is an affront to people in the Bay area and around the country who believe in equal rights for all.”

Incidentally, when Gingrich was "glittered" last month, the incident occurred in Minneapolis, in Pawlenty's home state – and where he is set to speak on Saturday. The culprit was Nick Espinosa, a resident of Minneapolis.  In an interview, Espinosa told ABC News he disagreed with Newt’s position on gay rights.

“I invited Newt to feel the rainbow because he decided to bring his anti-gay politics to my state,” Espinosa told ABC News.  “Newt has a long history of anti-gay politics and has chosen to focus on divisive social issues instead of working to fix our economy.  I don’t think a free will adulterer like Newt has any ground to stand up while telling others who they can and can’t love.”

In the same interview, Espinosa told ABC News he also had a problem with Pawlenty.

“His playbook is one that we see across the board with Republicans, focusing on divisive social issues like gay marriage that don’t do anything to fix our economy and then proposing as a solution to our budget crisis, cuts in social spending for the working families in Minnesota and across the country, and I don’t think that’s the way to solve our budget crisis either.”

It is unknown at this time if Espinosa was involved in any way with Pawlenty’s glittering in San Francisco.

Pawlenty is in San Francisco for a paid speech to health insurers, something the Democratic National Committee is taking issue with.

“Perhaps pocketing thousands of dollars in cash to give a speech outlining his plan to repeal health reform is a plus for Tim Pawlenty, but it won’t help seniors afford their prescription drugs or preventive care, it won’t help young people access health insurance and it won’t help people being denied coverage based on a pre-existing condition," Brad Woodhouse, DNC communications director, said in a statement. 

Hours after the glitter attack, Pawlenty went back on a health care reform offensive against the Republican frontrunner, former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney.

"On seizing debate opportunity re: healthcare: Me 0, Mitt 1. On doing healthcare reform the right way as governor: Me 1, Mitt 0," Pawlenty wrote onthe social networking site Twitter.

Earlier this week Pawlenty had retreated from criticism of  Romney for his role creating the Masschusetts health law on which Democrats modeled the controversial national plan.

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