Hooping.org caught wind of the “Mass Hula Hoop Demonstration” taking place at a fundraising event for United States Republican Party presidential hopeful Mitt Romney just as it was about to begin. The event was held at the Waldorf-Astoria in New York City and the press release stated, “Mitt Romney is in New York City today to replenish his coffers at a Waldorf-Astoria fundraiser, and occupiers and union members plan to protest the ‘job cremator’ and ‘tax evader’.” How did the protest go? The Daily Beast reports about 200 protesters, many with hula hoops, spun their protest message outside the $2,500-a-plate campaign luncheon. The protesters, who came mostly from Occupy Wall Street and union groups, were dressed up as Champagne-drinking millionaires and hula-hooping Mitt Romneys.
Protesters wrapped their way around the block-long hotel, chanting about the candidate’s record on job creation and weaved their way through bemused tourists, tour-bus promoters and a large mass of police. The meeting was generally peaceful as police directed the demonstrators and the protesters kept moving. Among the chanters, Margaret Passley, a member of labor-affiliated United NY, was one of the loudest in the crowd. Passley, 48, told Capital New York that in 1996 she underpaid New York State 75 cents in taxes and then needed to buy a 99-cent money order to pay the bill. She asked why the government singled her out, but let Romney exploit loopholes: “For three months, they kept bothering me. They don’t go after Mitt Romney. Why?”
Fox News reporter Megyn Kelly asked Romney about his inability to connect with the common American. “Guess what? I made a lot of money,” he replied. “I’ve been very successful. I’m not going to apologize for that.” He went on to blame the Democratic National Committee for the negative impression people have of him.
Meanwhile, a group of mock millionaires dressed in expensive-looking clothes pretended to support Romney while drinking white grape juice disguised as champagne. They chanted that they were the one percent while dramatically laughing at words like “unions” and “workers rights.” One of them said it would highlight the influence of money in politics. “I think it’ll work,” said Stuart Leonard. “In New York, especially, some satire will work.”
A plain-clothes police officer spoke with some of the organizers before they marched. He asked about the hula hoops and said, “I’m the hula hoop champion of the world.” A unifromed officer said, “He’ll show you up.” As far as we know though none of the police officers were hooping.