On Tuesday, Mitt Romney finished a five-day bus tour through small cities and towns back in his homestate of Michigan. Throughout the Midwest tour Romney commended the work of local business owners and employees along the way that contribute to what will turn the private sector around. Romney was not met with jubilation at every stop though, as the Associated Press reports the Republican presidential candidates encountered ”dozens” of protesters during an event in front of a bakery in DeWitt, Michigan:
Romney is making three stops Tuesday in Michigan. Several hundred supporters listened to him and his wife Ann speak in front of the striped awning of the Sweetie-licious Bakery in downtown DeWitt.
Across the street, protesters chanted, “We are the 99 percent!” One woman held a sign proclaiming “Romney has always been a bully.”
BuzzFeed reports though that the “dozens” out against Romney Tuesday were not the “run-of-the-mill grassroots liberals.” McKay Coppins writes that two individuals from a coalition that described themselves as concerned citizens, as well as an Obama campaign official, told BuzzFeed that the protesters were getting paid.
Asked why he was protesting, a man dressed in a grim reaper costume pointed a reporter to a pair of “designated representatives” standing in the shade.
“I can’t talk, you gotta get one of those people over there to talk to y’all,” he said. “They’re the ones who can talk to reporters.”
Neither of the representatives agreed to give their names, but two protesters said they were getting paid to stand outside of the rally, though their wage is unclear: one said she was getting $7.25 per hour, while another man said they were being paid $17 per hour.
Meanwhile, about 50 feet away, another protest had been organized by local Democrats in conjunction with the Obama campaign. A campaign official told BuzzFeed they had nothing to do with the other group — which he said he believed they had been sent by the labor-backed “Good Jobs Now” — and confirmed that they were being paid.
Good Jobs Now is a Detroit-based coalition of community groups, faith leaders, the labor sector, and other concerned citizens “committed to solving the issues facing our neighborhoods and holding decision makers and elected officials accountable for creating jobs and finding solutions to these problems…NOW!”
Brittany Smith, a spokeswoman for the group; which the Obama campaign has distanced themselves from, confirmed to BuzzFeed that they had protesters at the events. Smith, however, claimed that their “activists are NOT paid to protest.”
Last February, demonstrators at Occupy CPAC said on video tape that they were paid “sixty bucks a head” by local unions to protest outside the conservative conference in Washington D.C.
When interviewed by The Daily Caller in March, AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka denied the allegation that protesters were paid.