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T-shirt earns exit from House gallery

Beverly Young, the outspoken wife of U.S. Rep. C.W. Bill Young, says officers objected to her "Support the Troops" shirt.

Published February 1, 2006

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Tales from D.C. blog

WASHINGTON - Beverly Young, wife of Rep. C.W. Bill Young of Indian Shores, said she was ejected from the House gallery during Tuesday night's State of the Union address because she was wearing a T-shirt that said "Support the Troops - Defending Our Freedom."

Young said she was sitting in the gallery's front row, about six seats from first lady Laura Bush, when she was approached by someone from the Capitol Police or sergeant-at-arms office who told her she needed to leave the gallery.

She reluctantly agreed but argued with several officers in the hallway outside the House chamber.

"They said I was protesting," she said in a telephone interview late Tuesday. "I said, "Read my shirt, it is not a protest.' They said, "We consider that a protest.' I said, "Then you are an idiot."'

She said she was so angry that "I got real colorful with them."

They told her she was being treated the same as Cindy Sheehan, an antiwar protester who was ejected before the speech Tuesday night for wearing a T-shirt with an antiwar slogan and refusing to cover it up.

Young, 50, said her shirt was not a protest but a message of support for U.S. soldiers and Marines fighting for their country. She often wears the T-shirts when visiting her husband at the Capitol and during her visits to see the wounded at military hospitals.

Sgt. Kimberly Schneider of the Capitol Police could not provide details about the incident but said, "She was not ejected from the gallery. She did leave on her own."

Young's husband, a Republican who chairs the House appropriations subcommittee on defense, was unaware she was removed until after the speech. He said he was furious about the incident.

"I just called for the chief of police and asked him to get his little tail over here," Rep. Young said late Tuesday. "This is not acceptable."

Beverly Young said, "Wait until the president finds out."

[Last modified February 1, 2006, 01:04:14]

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