Candidate has little support during speech
By ROB JENNINGS
HAMPTON — Some in the audience voiced objections when Diane Sare, a candidate for the Democratic nomination against Republican Rep. Scott Garrett, began to speak from the podium at the Sussex County Democratic Committee meeting on Thursday.
Sare, a LaRouche Democrat from Bogota, supports the impeachment of President Barack Obama but is also critical of Republicans — using imagery and rhetoric decidedly outside the mainstream.
Last June, Sare and several supporters were removed from Gov. Chris Christie's town hall meeting in Fair Lawn after singing about being sent to the Auschwitz concentration camp. The song lyrics included, "Obama and Christie, they're both insane," and concluded with a push for restoring the 1933 Glass-Steagall Act, according to a video on the LaRouche PAC website.
Her campaign flier, copies of which were available at Thursday's meeting, depicts Obama with a Hitler-style mustache.
Sare, who followed Democratic candidates Adam Gussen and Jason Castle to the podium, was moments into her speech when several Democrats objected and at least one person left the room.
Sussex County Democratic Chairman Michael Busche responded by rebuking Sare's vocal critics and defended her right to speak.
"We are here to hear a side of the story. We are not here to yell somebody down. That's the way the other side does it. What we're going to do is listen," Busche said, drawing applause from some of the approximately four dozen people in attendance.
One man, who did not identify himself, sided with Busche and interjected that Sare's critics "should keep their mouths shut."
"Thank you," Busche said in response.
Busche, in an interview Friday, explained his handling of the meeting.
"Anybody who professed to be a candidate was entitled to speak," Busche said.
Gussen, though, said he was surprised that Sare was given a platform by the Sussex Democrats.
"I find the LaRouche platforms and their candidates to be offensive and destructive," Gussen said.
"I think that the Democratic Party, while honoring and giving life to the ideals and concepts of free speech, that there is a reasonable level of filtering that could take place. This is noise that should be filtered out," Gussen said.
Sare is running on a slate backed by frequent president candidate Lyndon LaRouche. In her speech Thursday, she reiterated her criticisms of Obama and called for the restoration of the national bank, among other issues.
Ed Selby, executive director of the Sussex County Democrats, said Sare avoided any reference to Hitler imagery in her speech. However, her campaign signs with the altered photo have been spotted in some highly-visible locations in Sussex County, including the Newton Green.
While Sare, on her website, denounces Obama as "a puppet of the bankrupt financial system" and urges his removal from office, she also says that former President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney should have been impeached as well.
Her ouster from the Christie town hall drew much attention last year, but an earlier visit went better. At Christie's January 2011 town hall in Paramus, Sare was called on by the governor and she questioned him about restoring the Glass-Steagall Act, which created a barrier between commercial and investment banking.
Her extended exchange with Christie, which lasted for more than three minutes and was caught on video, drew laughter from the audience — and an amused response from Christie — after she compared him to Obama. Sare also ventured into a local issue, telling Christie that she disagreed with his decision to cancel the Hudson River rail tunnel project.
Christie shot back, "Where you getting the money?" — to which she brought up Glass-Steagall.
Sare, in an interview before her speech on Thursday, said, "My concern is not to be warm and cuddly and polite, but to tell the truth."
Selby said letting Sare speak to the Sussex Democrats was the right call, though he acknowledged that the decision "really ticked a lot of people off."
"Obviously, she's not necessarily a favorite, but people have a right to speak," Selby said, adding, "We don't endorse anything she said."