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Photography, notes, commentary and much more from former Reporter Online Editor Chris Stanley.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Mr. Smith goes to Denver

Colorado State House censures lawmaker for kicking photographer

Associated Press Writer

DENVER - The state House voted Thursday to censure a lawmaker who kicked a newspaper photographer taking his picture - and refused to apologize. The resolution, passed 62-1, says Rep. Douglas Bruce "failed to uphold the honor and dignity of the House of Representatives and reflects poorly on the state." Bruce, a Colorado Springs Republican,kicked Rocky Mountain News photographer Javier Manzano for snapping his photo during the traditional session-opening prayer on Jan. 14. Bruce was sworn in as a midterm replacement hours later. Bruce has described his action as a "nudge" and not a kick.
As the censure was read, Bruce stood in front of his colleagues toward the side of the chamber, his lips pursed and his arms folded.

He then delivered a speech, again blaming the photographer and comparing himself to Jimmy Stewart in the 1939 movie "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington." Stewart played a freshman congressman who punches out a photographer and becomes a hero after launching a filibuster and collapsing on the floor.
Republican Rep. Al White responded: "Representative Bruce, you're not Jimmy Stewart, this is not a 1939
movie. This is today. Your actions were wrong."
The lone vote against censure was by Rep. Kevin Lundberg, a Republican who said Bruce deserved to be punished but that censure was too strong. Bruce was not
permitted to vote.


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