Police arrested Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein and her vice presidential running mate Cheri Honkala at Hofstra University on Tuesday night just a few minutes before the start of the second Obama-Romney debate. The pair of middle aged women weren't exactly charging through the doors of the auditorium, though. After police blocked the entrance, hey were calmly sitting on asphalt, an American flagged draped over their laps, wearing Green Party buttons and looking resolute. The calm ended swiftly after police moved in and cuffed the two women who did not have the proper credentials for being at the event.
Stein and Honkala weren't exactly surprised about their free police escort, though. "The arrest was outrageous and shouldn't be tolerated in a country that is a leading proponent of democracy," Stein's campaign manager Ben Manski told reporters after police hauled his boss away. "They knew that there was the possibility that they would be arrested. Their intention was to enter the premises and bear witness to the mockery of democracy that is tonight's debate."
The "mockery" that Manski speaks of and, well, the candidates' protest in general is undeniably a swipe at debate rules which require a candidate to have 15 percent of the public support in the poll. Stein is on the ballot in 38 states, but she lacks that stat, unlike Ross Perot back in 1992 who did get the chance to participate in the debates despite his third party status. In the past, the Green Party has accused the Commission on Presidential Debates of attempts to "rig debates" with requirements like these. In 2008, Ralph Nader wasn't allowed into a presidential debate despite the fact that he had a ticket.
It was a good try, nevertheless, Jill Stein and Cheri Honkala. Good try.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.