IFAS | Freedom Writer | October 1995 | sheldon.html

Sheldon agitates for Gramm

Rev. Lou Sheldon of the California-based Traditional Values Coalition attended Road to Victory both as a speaker and as an official of the Gramm for President campaign. He rented a large room to serve as a Gramm for President "war room" during the Christian Coalition conference. From here he carefully orchestrated some clever maneuvers which resulted in national press for Sen. Phil Gramm.

During one of the meetings at the Gramm war room, Sheldon handed out "Pledge of Support" cards from the Republican National Coalition for Life (RNC/Life). RNC/Life, headed by Phyllis Schlafly, works "to keep the prolife plank in the Republican National Platform." The plank says in part, "We believe the unborn child has a fundamental individual right to life which cannot be infringed." Pledges have been signed by Pat Buchanan, Rep. Bob Dornan, Alan Keyes, Sen. Richard Lugar, and Sen. Phil Gramm. Sen. Bob Dole refused to sign the pledge.

Capitalizing on Dole's resistance to sign the pledge, Rev. Sheldon instructed the Gramm supporters to take the pledge cards with them to the main conference hall on Friday afternoon when Sen. Dole addressed the gathering. As soon as Dole began his speech, Gramm supporters, in what appeared as a spontaneous motion, waved the pledge cards and began yelling, "Sign the pledge!, Sign the pledge!" Dole's anger and frustration was evident as he tried to deal with the situation. Finally, he told them "read my record."

On Saturday, newspapers across the country ran stories about the friction between Gramm and Dole. The New York Times published two front-page photos, one of a flustered Dole, and another of a jubilant Gramm holding his signed pledge.

Conferees staying at the Washington Hilton, where the conference was held, awoke to find photocopies of front-page stories from The Washington Post and The Washington Times under their doors. When The Freedom Writer asked Rev. Sheldon if he had anything to do with this, he smiled and said, "What did Mark Furhman do last week?" Then Sheldon whispered, "He pleaded the fifth."

© 1998 Institute for First Amendment Studies, Inc.