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Port: Planned Parenthood's fake news and Burgum's first veto

Since election day we've heard a lot about "fake news" from, well, just about everyone involved in politics. Usually the term is deployed as a way to dismiss viewpoints and arguments which run contrary to the politics of whoever is making the acc...

columnist Rob Port
columnist Rob Port
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Since election day we've heard a lot about "fake news" from, well, just about everyone involved in politics. Usually the term is deployed as a way to dismiss viewpoints and arguments which run contrary to the politics of whoever is making the accusation.

But sometimes fake news really does happen. It certainly did in Fargo recently.

Last Friday, March 24, a group of Planned Parenthood activists targeted Congressman Kevin Cramer's Fargo office, protesting outside and attempting to deliver a batch of petitions.

The latter effort was thwarted by some cops who said the protesters weren't allowed into the business park where Cramer's office is located.

The activists turned that into a talking point.

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They posted video of the confrontation with the cops online and promoted the idea that Cramer himself had called them because he was supposedly afraid of the protests.

A talking point quickly picked up by what's left of the North Dakota Democratic Party.

"Kevin Cramer likes to talk about how open and available he is, but when his constituents want to peacefully make their voices heard, the cops are called," titular party chairwoman Kylie Oversen said in a statement. "Actions speak louder than words. It's clear Kevin Cramer is too scared of a bunch of women wearing pink to even talk to them. Maybe next time they should wear white to get a response from him."

The problem? Cramer wasn't even at his office, and he didn't call the cops.

I interviewed the Congressman on Monday about the situation. "(W)e certainly didn't ask them to be there," he said, adding that it was "evidently the owner of the building" who called the police.

The building owner, learning of the planned protest from media reports and fearing disruption for his tenants, asked police to keep the protesters out, according to Cramer.

Cramer said he would have had staff on hand to accept the petitions from the protesters - pretty routine stuff for members of Congress - had the they bothered to make an appointment. Instead they showed up during the noon hour when the office was empty.

"I'm happy to listen to them," Cramer told me, "but at least be truthful about it."

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Why let the facts get in the way of a good political talking point?

Burgum's first veto

Gov. Doug Burgum's first use of his veto powers might also result in the first time he's overruled by lawmakers.

HB 1153, a response to what many saw as exorbitant bonuses issued by former Gov. Jack Dalrymple, would have limited future executive branch bonuses to $5,000.

Burgum vetoed the bill, saying it "violates the constitutional exercise of executive authority to manage state agencies."

Lawmakers could overturn his veto.

It takes just a two-thirds vote in each chamber to do so. This bill passed 91-1 in the House and 36-10 in the Senate.

Lawmakers were peeved when Burgum railed against an alleged "good old boys" club in Bismarck. They might see this as their opportunity for a bit of revenge.

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Port is a Forum News Service columnist and writes SayAnythingBlog.com. You can reach him on Twitter at @RobPort.

Related Topics: DOUG BURGUMKEVIN CRAMER
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