September 20, 1998
A Very Bad Day for Gail Rieckencompiled from various sources
Saturday, Septemer 12 in Bedford, IN saw Republican Congressman John Hostettler and Democrat challenger Gail Riecken debate in front of their supporters in front of the Lawrence County Courthouse in the "Great Limestone Debate."
Nearly 200 volunteers and supporters of John Hostettler showed up wearing red t-shirts to show their support. This highly visible "sea of red" outnumbered the Riecken supporters by more than 3-1.
From the start of the debate, John Hostettler demonstrated that he has a firm grasp on the issues affecting the 8th district and a solid record on which to stand. Standing in front of his podium, he looked directly at the crowd and articulated this message. Riecken, on the other hand, began the debate like a cornered animal, making a lot of noise but not much of an impression with verbal attacks which she read from pages in a 3-ring binder.
NBC Nightly News covered the event and the story to the whole world was how Bill Clinton's problems were dogging Gail Riecken. The Congressman blasted her for saying Bill Clinton was welcome to come and campaign for her. Hostettler asked her to let him know when Clinton was coming to town so that he could protect his daughters.
After the debate Riecken shook hands with a few volunteers while walking a fast straight line to her waiting RV. She left immediatly.
Riecken's bad day continued into that evening. She left the Bedford debate immediately to go to Indianapolis to appeal for a donation from the Political Action Committee of the Indiana State Medical Association. Her brother, an OB/GYN, gave her an introduction.
Auxiliary President-Elect Phyllis Walker (wife of Dr. Bob Walker in Bloomington) sent a message to the podium to be read. The message said that Riecken was supportive of partial birth abortion and that Phyllis strongly opposed any contribution to Mrs. Riecken. The chairman read the message and Riecken said she really did not understand the issue when she made those comments.
At that point Dr. Bob Walker approached the podium and said that if Mrs. Riecken was that uninformed about such a high profile issue that she was not worthy of IMA support. An unknown doctor from Princeton agreed with Dr. Walker and spoke against Riecken.
At that point a Riecken supporter on the committee moved to give Riecken $2,000. The panel was silent briefly and after a few moments someone seconded the motion. A vote was taken and Mrs. Riecken was turned down 15-5.
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