The conservative Young America’s Foundation (YAF) is currently holding its annual conference here in Washington, DC, featuring Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC), Ann Coulter, and former House speaker Newt Gingrich. Today an intern with CAP’s youth branch, Campus Progress, was kicked out of the conference by YAF spokesman Jason Mattera. The intern, Emily Rutherford, recounted her experience:
Mattera explained that the problem was that I’m a Campus Progress intern, and that since I’ve been liveblogging the conference all morning, I wouldn’t be allowed in, since blogging isn’t allowed at YAF’s conference (despite the fact that attendees have been tweeting about the conference all day). I told Mattera that struck me as bizarre, and a little bit like censorship. He suggested that I tell this to my “friends in the White House, and maybe they’ll pass a law to make us let you in.” Mattara is, apparently, unaware of the fact that it is Congress, not the White House that passes laws. [...]
Mattera laughed at me, and then replied, “Goodbye—oh wait, here, have an Obama fist bump.” I refused his proffered fist, and he added, “Why don’t you move to Canada?” He seemed to think this suggestion was hilarious.
As Rutherford noted, Campus Progress recently held its own annual conference and allowed any student — regardless of ideology — into the event. But this tactic seems to be standard for Mattera and YAF. In 2006, Mattera — who has described himself as “the surprisingly fresh face of conservatism” — refused to grant credentials to a University of Pennsylvania student who wanted to cover the conference on behalf of Campus Progress and ejected a Washington Monthly writer/Campus Progress blogger.