Political Notebook

Stepped-on activist says she was no threat

October 27, 2010

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The liberal activist who was hauled to the ground before a Kentucky debate, with a Rand Paul supporter stepping on her face, said she posed no threat to the Republican candidate for Senate and the violent attack was unwarranted.

“Violence is never justified,’’ Lauren Valle told the Globe last night, a day after she was treated at a hospital in Lexington and the video of the attack flooded the airwaves and Internet.

Valle, 23, who grew up in Falmouth and Dedham and graduated from Noble & Greenough School, said she was part of a MoveOn group that planned to present Paul with a satirical award that conveyed the Republican Party’s marriage to corporate America.

Paul, a Tea Party favorite, was arriving for a debate in Lexington with Democrat Jack Conway.

The person who struck Valle with his foot blamed police for not intervening.

“I’m sorry that it came to that, and I apologize if it appeared overly forceful, but I was concerned about Rand’s safety,’’ Tim Profitt said.

A judge will decide whether Profitt should face criminal charges.

Valle rejected the idea that police were at fault. “They’re just excuses,’’ she said. Valle said she suffered a concussion and her face was swollen and her neck and shoulder were sore.

The race is one of the most closely watched in the midterm elections.

“This is an extreme example of the kinds of sentiments that people are feeling in many races across the country,’’ Valle told the Associated Press. “I think that tension is incredibly high.’’

Paul’s campaign dropped Profitt as campaign coordinator in Bourbon County in central Kentucky and banned him from future events.

Sherelle Roberts, Lexington Division of Police spokeswoman, said officers will deliver a summons to Profitt to appear in court. A judge will determine whether to proceed with an assault case.

For Valle, the attack was the latest in a series of high-profile demonstrations. Earlier this year, she was arrested with a group of Greenpeace activists protesting the BP oil disaster in Louisiana. In 2008, she was detained in China for calling for independence for Tibet.

“I’m looking to speak truth to power,’’ she told the Globe.

— Globe Staff and wire services

Challenger in Calif. race hospitalized with infection
SACRAMENTO — Carly Fiorina, the California GOP Senate challenger, was sidelined yesterday in the final week of a close race to be treated for an infection associated with her reconstructive surgery after breast cancer.

The former Hewlett-Packard Co. chief executive was admitted to a Los Angeles-area hospital, forcing her to cancel campaign appearances in Riverside and Coachella as polls suggested she was starting to gain momentum in her race against Senator Barbara Boxer, a Democrat.

According to Deborah Bowker, the campaign’s chief of staff, Fiorina was being treated with antibiotics.

“While this will impact her campaign schedule [yesterday], Carly is upbeat and her doctors expect her to make a quick and full recovery and be back out on the campaign trail soon,’’ Bowker said in the statement.

Boxer’s campaign sent well wishes.

Fiorina, 56, was diagnosed with breast cancer in February 2009 before she formally announced her run for Boxer’s seat. She completed chemotherapy and radiation treatments a year ago and had reconstructive surgery in July after having a double mastectomy.

Recent polls show the race between the two women tightening. A University of Southern California-Los Angeles Times poll released Sunday showed Boxer maintaining a narrow advantage, 47 percent to 41 percent, against Fiorina. The gap was smaller than the same poll showed a month ago.

— Associated Press

R.I. candidate’s remark ‘not big deal,’ Obama says
PROVIDENCE — President Obama said it’s “not a big deal’’ that the Rhode Island Democratic candidate for governor, Frank Caprio, said Obama could “shove it’’ for not endorsing him.

Obama said during an interview with American Urban Radio Networks yesterday that he understood Caprio was upset he hadn’t endorsed him. But, Obama said, in politics you can’t worry about what other people are saying about you “as long as you know you’re focused on what’s right for people.’’

Caprio told a radio station on Monday that Obama could “take his endorsement and really shove it’’ after learning the president wouldn’t endorse anyone in the race.

The White House said Obama declined to make an endorsement out of respect to independent candidate Lincoln Chafee, a former Republican who endorsed Obama in 2008.

Also yesterday, the president filled out an absentee ballot to vote in his home state of Illinois.

White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said Obama voted for Governor Pat Quinn, a Democrat running for reelection, and Democratic Senate candidate Alexi Giannoulias, who is locked in a close race for Obama’s former Senate seat.

Obama will travel to Illinois on Saturday to headline a rally in Chicago.

— Associated Press