POLITICS
11/16/2011 01:42 pm ET Updated Nov 16, 2011

Rick Perry Town Hall Citizenship Checks Stemmed From Venue Security, Not Campaign

A Rick Perry town hall event in Manchester, N.H., made news Tuesday with initial reports that non-U.S. citizens would be barred from the event. This caused the Perry campaign to have to correct the record by pointing out that this policy was both incorrect and not a provision that the campaign itself made.

Here's CNN's Rachel Streitfeld with the story:

The event was hosted by Granite State Manufacturing, which does defense contracting work. An employee checking in members of the news media at the entrance asked each person for his identification and whether he was a citizen.

When asked what would happen if a person were not a United States citizen, the woman said she would deny them entrance.

The Perry campaign brought Granite State Manufacturing Facilities Manager Shawn O'Hagan to the press area to tell reporters that was not true.

O'Hagan said the woman had been misinformed by another employee. Non-citizens would be allowed to enter, but the company would assign an employee escort to accompany them, which is standard for defense contractors complying with NAFTA rules and applies to anyone entering the building.

So, there you have it -- these security decisions had to do with the nature of the venue, not the Perry campaign. I suppose I'll be left alone to wonder why someone thought holding a town hall event at a defense contractor's facility with these security requirements was a good idea. After all, it seems like Manchester is a municipality with a robust presidential-election-year-town-hall-space-provision sector of its economy. Were they going to hold this town hall meeting in the plant's clean room, right next to the new 344 millimeter Lepage glue gun or something?

At any rate, if you're a member of a New Hampshire-based foreign espionage cell who was waiting for Rick Perry to provide you with an opportunity to learn the inner secrets of Granite State Manufacturing by staging a town hall event there, you are probably disappointed today. Unless you obtained an employee escort.

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