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Code Pink Stages Mock Debate at Marines Center
A local activist group drew a crowd of 50 onlookers yesterday when they staged a mock debate against a military recruiting office in Downtown Berkeley.
Although conservative radio talk show host Melanie Morgan was originally scheduled to participate, she was ultimately replaced by a member of activist group Code Pink pretending to espouse conservative views.
Issues ranged from the congressional race between Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and anti-war activist Cindy Sheehan to the military presence in Berkeley.
"We are the defenders of democracy, the upholders of the Constitution," said Medea Benjamin, co-founder of Code Pink. "If it weren't for people like the people in Berkeley, standing up for what they believe, we'd be living under Hitler."
Without an opposing voice present, members of Code Pink and other activist groups including The World Can't Wait, Middle East Children's Alliance and Veterans for Peace, turned the debate into an anti-war protest.
Marine recruiters did not return calls for comment yesterday.
Morgan, an early-morning conservative talk show host on KSFO, initially agreed to the debate based on certain conditions but ultimately refused, citing Code Pink's ulterior political aims in inviting her to speak.
Her conditions included a neutral moderator and the participation of other military supporters, including a marine recruiter, a veteran and another radio personality. Once Morgan found out that the other invitees, including the military recruiter, had backed out, she said she decided not to participate.
"I wouldn't walk into a situation that was completely stacked for a political view which in my perspective is indefensible," Morgan said.