Bachmann Encounters 'Gay Robot,' Hecklers in Liberal Iowa City

Presidential hopeful Michele Bachmann met a raucous crowd at Hamburg Inn No. 2 in Iowa City on Thursday. Police were called in to keep the peace.

By now the GOP presidential candidates have seen it all: hecklers, protesters, haters of all shapes and sizes. Well, mostly all.

On Thursday afternoon in Iowa City, Michele Bachmann encountered a man dressed in a robot suit, who shouted her down with the aid of a built-in megaphone. He called himself, "roboprof," and was booed and quickly asked to leave Hamburg Inn No. 2, where Bachmann made the campaign stop.

"I am a gay robot. I oppose Bachmann's position on gays, whether they are human or robot," said the man, who declined to give his name, although he admitted to being the same robot who heckled Bill Clinton at the University of Iowa in 2007.

Patch has from the event.

At that time, the person in the robot suit was revealed to be Kembrew McLeod, a communications professor at the .

Bachmann swept through the popular diner in about 20 minutes, shaking hands, signing autographs and taking pictures, but made no statements and did not comment to the media. The restaurant was packed to the brim with well over 100 people — both supporters and plenty of opponents. The lack of support was not altogether surprising in the liberal enclave.

Police were called, and four officers arrived towards the end of the visit to help keep the peace in the raucous crowd.

A group of Occupy Iowa City protesters tried to shout over the noise of the eatery while Bachmann was there.

"Michele Bachmann will fix the economy by laying off workers and cutting their pay. Michele Bachmann fights proudly for marriage unless the couple happens to be gay," about 15 people scattered around the restaurant said. "You're not wanted here. You're not wanted here so go, just go."

"We think the electoral process and our politicians are flawed. We are speaking against politicians in general. Bachmann is just today's example," said Eva Roethler, 24, of Iowa City, who was among the people who spoke out.

According to the Hamburg, the campaign brought in music and speakers, which were cranked up to drown out protesters. Supporters, some of whom who were seen later on the Bachmann tour bus, chimed in saying "We love you, Michele," and "You are our next president." A previous version of this story incorrectly attributed the loud music to the restaurant.

"She is the only one I can trust. We feel she is the most conservative," said Michael Clark, 70, of Coralville, who attended with his wife, Myra, 56.

The Minnesota Congresswoman has been campaigning heavily in Eastern Iowa of late. She stopped made 10 stops on Wednesday, including , and had 10 more stops on the books for today.

Bachmann is languishing in the polls. In the most recent poll of likely Iowa caucus-goers by Iowa State University/Gazette/KCRG poll, Bachmann had 7.4 percent of the support, which was good enough for fifth place behind Ron Paul, Newt Gingrich, Mitt Romney and Rick Perry, respectively.

Currently, only and have visited this caucus season. Hamburg Inn has gained a national reputation as a stopping point for political candidates. The restaurant has reached out to all of candidates, but the lack of Republican visits is understandable given Iowa City is heavily Democrat.

Bachmann also came to Iowa City this summer and at Hamburg's competitor, the .

randy crawford April 15, 2012 at 08:40 PM
Look at the videos which Occupy themselves made. Occupy came hours in advance, lay in wait ambush-style, and taped their own censorship which went on and on for 10-15 minutes of yelling, screaming, and chanting. Are you conveniently forgetting the facts again, or just trying to continue your denial process about the harassment campaign that HomoRobo participated in at the same time and place as Occupy? Perhaps you conveniently have no memory, or perhaps you are fabricating creative deafness and creative blindness. When you or HomoRobo or your candidate have an event that is torn up and stepped on the way this one was, it will be interesting to see how much you think your overridden message is somehow someone else's allowable 'free speech.' That's what is serious-- not your ongoing denials and lame attempts at changing the subject.
Jon Trouten April 15, 2012 at 08:46 PM
I'm not forgetting it. But those are two different group. HomoRobo came and left very quickly. I'm not even certain (if I remember an Iowa City Public Access interview from back in January correctly) sure he agreed with the mic check approach of the Occupy group. But they all have the right to free speech just like the Tea Party protesters from 2010 had the free speech rights to disrupt politicians and candidates during their speeches and events.
Stephen Schmidt April 15, 2012 at 08:47 PM
To be fair, I don't think Kembrew McLeod's protest had any connection with the Occupy protest, their only commonality being that Rep. Michele Bachmann was the target for both of them. The Occupy Iowa City group also did a similar protest when Newt Gingrich was in Iowa City and was considering doing one when Santorum came to Hamburg Inn. If I'm wrong on that someone feel free to correct me.
randy crawford April 15, 2012 at 09:49 PM
Both were doing opposition tactics at the same place and time, while using different tactics to do so. The Occupy people were egregiously shouting down Bachmann [as they did in a similar uncivilized way with Gingrich], while HomoRobo/McCleod was putting on a clownish farce and was much more civilized about his hijinks. While Occupy was literally to borderline criminal in its censorship tactics and while HomoRobo/McCleod was more restrained, I hardly think that Harkin or Loebsack for instance would want their parade rained on by similar tactics. Ditto for John Trouten. Bottom line is (1) Occupy was way out of bounds as to censorship, and (2) the public has a right to demand certain standards from public employees such as university employees. If we don't want this or that to be done (including on time off) we can demand other people be hired in their place as in other standards be set. HomoRobo is free to do all the clowning he wishes, and I am free to look for someone else to be on my public payroll. When university employees do the kind of con jobs that lead to spreading around crop disease (like soybean cyst nematodes, damaging millions of dollars of Iowans' incomes) or extortion like what Anne Cleary did to Lu Gang (setting off his murder spree) or when Ellen Lewin wants to let incautions comments reveal her agenda, citizens have a right to hold the universities to higher standards. If anything goes and the university is a personal playground for arbitrary whims,
randy crawford April 15, 2012 at 10:14 PM
(2) then what is the university worth beyond functioning (sort of) at the level of passing irrelevant fancy? Why aren't they then paying me to goof off and do as I please on the public dime, or give me a cozy job so I can do that type of thing on my abundant free time? Trouten is trying to dismiss the shouting and censorship of Occupy under the euphemism of 'mic check' as if, in an obviouis extreme analogy, 'ethnic cleansing' can be using as the verbiage in place of genocide. Calling censorship by some other contrived name in order to step on a candidate's speech doesn't make it OK. It just means that somebody is working to keep reality covered up with the manipulation of sematic games. Trouten is recently previously lauding the disrupting of politicians and candidate during speeches and events as 'free speech rights.' If that malevolence were true, does Trouten or anyone else want to make a habit of shouting down and drowning out Obama or Harkin or Loebsack or anyone else, or sanction the same? It becomes a serious deficit of plain civility when that inconsiderate approach is accepted as standard policy particularly when the censorship tactics boomerang on those who advocate them.


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