Officials at Virginia Military Institute went to great lengths to ensure that the school did not give the appearance of endorsing Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney by allowing him to speak there last week, according to Mother Jones magazine.
In an article posted online today, the liberal publication reports that VMI denied requests by Romney’s campaign to use the school’s logo in campaign materials, allow cadets to be let out of class to attend the speech, and to have select cadet veterans stand with Romney during his Oct. 8 speech. The report is based on emails the magazine obtained under a Virginia Freedom of Information Act request. You can read the article here and the emails here.
The story also points out that Romney’s campaign initiated the visit to the post, even though Romney began his speech there by thanking Superintendent Gen. J.F. Binford Peay for the invitation.
Romney is not the only candidate to use a public higher education institution as a backdrop for a campaign event. President Barack Obama will hold a rally at George Mason University on Friday, his second visit to the Fairfax County university in three weeks. Vice President Joe Biden and Romney’s running mate, Paul Ryan, also have held campaign events on state college campuses.
But the University of Virginia declined the Obama campaign’s request to hold a rally on the Charlottesville campus in late August, saying it would be too disruptive on the second day of fall classes. The rally instead was held in downtown Charlottesville.
– Michael Sluss