The Clinton campaign's abrupt cancellation of scheduled appearances here is leaving members of the Sikh community dismayed and demanding an explanation.
Traditional food, elaborate costumes, and ritual sword fighting were on display as thousands of Sikhs celebrated a religious festival here yesterday, but the expected guest of honor, Senator Clinton, was a no-show. Mrs. Clinton also scuttled a fund-raising breakfast at a nearby fairgrounds where Sikh leaders had hoped to raise $1 million for her presidential campaign.
Some organizers cited "security reasons" for the candidate's sudden withdrawal. An advertisement in a Sikh newspaper said the fund-raiser, which was also to have featured President Clinton as a guest, had been postponed "due to the advice of the Secret Service." Others involved said some of those planning the fund-raiser failed either the campaign's vetting process or a Secret Service review.
Mr. Virk said he had no "direct answer" from Mrs. Clinton's campaign about the reason she was not attending. He said he did not believe the visit was put off for "security reasons" as some Sikh planners said they were told. "We're a minority group. We wear turbans. … They don't want to see Hillary Clinton with people wearing turbans and stuff," he said. "I don't think it was right to commit yourself to come to this program, and then not going."
Some Sikhs said they suspected Mrs. Clinton's campaign grew skittish about the visit in the wake of negative publicity over her fund-raising in the Chinese immigrant community. News organizations found that some donations came from recent migrants who seemed to lack the means to give large checks.
On Saturday, the former first lady attended a fund-raiser and an environmental forum in Los Angeles. She was also to speak at fund-raisers yesterday afternoon in San Francisco and at the Portola Valley, Calif. home of a prominent real estate developer, Walter Shorenstein. Geographically, Bakersfield, which is located about 90 miles north of Los Angeles in the San Joaquin Valley, would have been a logical stop for her yesterday morning.
Powered by ScribeFire.