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It could be a party divided

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Published on: 01/12/05

WASHINGTON — The Democrats were the losers in November, but it's some of President Bush's political allies who could become the party poopers for his second inauguration.

Cultural conservatives who backed the president's re-election bid are aghast at the notion that Kid Rock, a fellow Bush supporter, may sing at an inaugural youth concert to be hosted by first daughters Jenna and Barbara Bush.


Fundamentalist Christian activists who believe their support was crucial in sending Bush back to the White House are threatening a lawsuit against the Secret Service for banning crosses along the inaugural parade route.

And Republican Rep. Tom Davis of Virginia says the administration is unfairly trying to stick the District of Columbia with nearly $12 million in security costs for the inauguration.

Meanwhile, Bush opponents are organizing their own brand of trouble: a national economic boycott for Inauguration Day.

For the conservatives, Rock, a rap-rocker from Detroit with a lyrical penchant for obscenity and drug references, is a flashpoint.

"If this sex-crazed animal, whose favorite word is the F-word, is allowed to sing at Bush's inauguration, this will send a clear message to pro-family Americans that the Republican Party has taken them for a ride and ditched them in the gutter," said Randy Thomasson, president of Campaign for Children and Families in Sacramento, Calif.

Inaugural planners may be backing away from having Rock perform at the Tuesday concert.

"We do not have the entertainers confirmed," said Jill Willis, a spokeswoman for the Presidential Inaugural Committee. However, inaugural planners have indicated that Hilary Duff and JoJo, considerably less controversial singers, will be on the stage.

Meanwhile, the Christian Defense Coalition sent a letter Tuesday to John Kelleher, chief counsel of the Secret Service, threatening to file a lawsuit protesting the agency's ban of crosses along the Jan. 20 parade route.

The ban applies only to tangible crosses that some think might be used as weapons, not to representations of the cross on banners or signs.

But by singling out crosses, the Christian Defense Coalition letter said, the Secret Service did not "categorically prohibit all emblematic signs of religious affiliation, which would have required prohibiting crescent moons with stars, stars of David, Buddhas, etc."

Mahoney said the group, which uses crosses in anti-abortion protests, is ready to sue if the Secret Service does not lift the ban.

Finally, Davis — a longtime Bush supporter — is bucking an administration demand that the District of Columbia divert $11.9 million from its homeland security projects to pay for inaugural security.

"It's simply not acceptable for the federal government to tell the district to reallocate funds earmarked for other security needs," said Davis, chairman of the House Government Reform Committee, which oversees the district.

Money is also at the center of Bush opponents' protest plan. Some anti-Bush groups are urging Americans to show their displeasure by making no purchases on Inauguration Day. Massachusetts Democratic activists Laura Arena and Jesse Gordon have created www.notonedamndime.com to rally support and organize the boycott.

— Staff writer Eunice Moscoso contributed to this article.

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