Rappelling 9/11 fundraiser creates fallout for GOP

Despite a day of almost non-stop rain, nearly 80 people gathered at the Bee Tree Fire Station in Swannanoa on the ninth anniversary of the 9/11 tragedy last Saturday for a political fundraiser held by the Buncombe County Republican Party. Participants were invited to rappel down a 90-foot tower and donors were asked to contribute $100 per rappel.

According to party chairman Chad Nesbitt, who organized the event, the GOP “did it all for the victims of 9/11 and to defend America,” although a promotional video last week indicated that most of the money raised would go to “advertising in the media and a ‘guerilla’ marketing campaign to get the voters energized to vote.” The video also dictated that the party would donate a percentage of the money raised to Hunt the Cure, a nonprofit that raises money for research and sends children suffering from cancer on hunting and fishing trips.

While it’s unclear as to how much money was actually raised at the event (“No one has any money,” Nesbitt told Xpress on Saturday), the video and the associated event have drawn harsh criticism from a range of Democratic officials and some Republicans, including Democratic Rep. Heath Shuler and Republican challenger Jeff Miller. In a statement, Shuler called the event “one of the worst displays” he’s ever seen.” And in response, Miller released a statement agreeing that “no one should play politics with this tragic day. … It is not a time for politics.”

On Monday, Sept. 13, the North Carolina Democratic Party’s Executive Director Andrew Whalen also released his own statement criticizing the video and event, asserting that the state party “joins with Congressman Shuler in condemning this despicable video by Buncombe County Republican Party. … To use the anniversary of September 11th to raise money and divide Americans is a shameful act that no one should support.”

Not everyone lambasted Nesbitt, however. Former Republican Asheville City Councilman (and 2008 congressional candidate) Carl Mumpower, who participated in Saturday’s event, told Xpress that he thinks “Chad is creative, well-intended, and courageous GOP County Chair.”

Mumpower also went on to boast that he beat Nesbitt in a push-up contest at the event.

“His push-up capacities are limited, and he let a 57-year-old beat him,” Mumpower joked. “We considered having a contest with some of our community’s liberal politicians, but then Chad and I remembered that progressives can’t do push-ups.”

In this brief video, Xpress reporter Michael Muller caught up with Nesbitt on top of the rapelling tower, where he confirmed Mumpower’s victory. Nesbitt also agreed to sit down with Xpress to further discuss the event and the party’s campaign strategy. Look for the interview soon as part of our ongoing election coverage.

Video by Jake Frankel

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59 thoughts on “Rappelling 9/11 fundraiser creates fallout for GOP

  1. jwea

    Mumpower joked, “We considered having a contest with some of our community’s liberal politicians, but then Chad and I remembered that progressives can’t do push-ups.”

    “Progressive” does NOT equal “Liberal”.

    This is what I would expect from deceptive “conservatives”.

    Aside from the obvious stupidity of his comparison, just what is the guy trying to say?

  2. Barry Summers

    “We did it all for the victims of 9/11, and to defend America.”

    You’re going to hell, Chad.

  3. shadmarsh

    Did Mumpower and Nesbitt have sex after the push-up contest? inquiring minds want to know.

    Also, I would love to hear an explanation on how, exactly, a bunch of rubes in NC playing with ropes helps the victims of 911.

  4. Jeff

    Chad seems oblivious that politicizing and exploiting 9/11 is a bad thing. It was such a tragic event that national unification was at one of it’s highest points that I’ve ever seen. To twist and mis-use it into a divisive, money-grubbing “9/11 theme” stunt is shameful. Shame on you Chad. Shame on you Carl.

  5. Ken Hanke

    Also, I would love to hear an explanation on how, exactly, a bunch of rubes in NC playing with ropes helps the victims of 911.

    Well, look at it — nearly 80 people (big whoop) showed up to watch some yahoos slide down ropes and seemingly no money was collected for charity so the whole thing turns out to be what it always was: a cheap publicity stunt.

  6. Dionysis

    “the whole thing turns out to be what it always was: a cheap publicity stunt.”

    And given the crassness of the whole thing, it seems the publicity was not exactly the kind they had in mind.

  7. cleargulf

    “The liberals can understand everything but people who don’t understand them.”
    Lenny Bruce

    JWEA wrote:

    “Progressive” does NOT equal “Liberal”

    And Conservative does not equal Republican either.

    The word “conservative” does not appear in the original article.

  8. LOKEL

    To think that Republicans in Buncombe County actually ELECTED Chad Nesbitt as the “leader” of the party is priceless ….

  9. Gabriel Shaffer

    “We did it all for the victims of 9/11, and to defend America.”

    Wow. That oblivious statement alone demonstrates so much.

  10. pff

    was The United States attacked by “Socialist” on Sept 11, 2001? Or well-funded religious extremists who were once armed and funded by the US Government?

    I don’t recall hearing anything about “Socialistic Terrorism” being to blame for 9-11.

    So what’s the connection, Chad?

  11. Barry Summers

    While it’s unclear as to how much money was actually raised at the event (“No one has any money,” Nesbitt told Xpress on Saturday)…

    They’re all saving it up for that $300,000 telethon that Chad promised when he was running for chairman…

  12. “We did it all for the victims of 9/11, and to defend America.”

    That’s interesting……..only consertatives & “Stompers” defend America? What about those of us who’s family and ancesters fought in every war since Colonial times????? They weren’t “defending” america…no matter what political persuasion they were??/
    What a sanctimonious, self serving insult to those who have fought for our country or kept the home fires burning….no matter what our political persuasion was/is.

  13. pff

    I find their callous, greedy attempt to make money for themselves in the name of the 9-11 victims to be HIGHLY disrespectful.

    It is an action that more than like only emboldens the Terrorists with this un-patriotic (dare i say “Terroristic”?) disregard for the sanctity of such a solemn day.

    Has Chad no decency? Is the Buncome Co. GOP really that callous?

  14. Bjorn

    I’m surprised they didn’t have a contest to see who’s building 7 – would collapse first?

  15. Barry Summers

    What about those of us who’s family and ancesters fought in every war since Colonial times?

    Sleeper agents, waiting for the signal from Mother Russia. Ha! Nice try, comrade.

  16. Barry Summers

    Hey, I just got that – the URL of this story says that the 9-11 fundraiser was ‘repelling’, not ‘rappelling’. Kudos, MtnX, you socialistic terrorists, you.

  17. Okay, it’s kind of a given that Chad and Carl are full of themselves and ready to drive over a cliff at any given moment, but what I love is the fact that people actually voted for those guys to lead them!
    Even some folks who I consider as having more than half a brain.
    Is it the flashing biceps? The silver tongue? The horribly mangled syntax and spelling?
    What do these guys have???!!!!!

  18. Can't Wait

    I can’t wait to see Mr. Muller’s interview with Mr. Nesbitt. I’m sure he’ll follow through with that promise that he made in this interview, right?

    Right?

    Oh, and MX, whatever happened to the Nesbitt/Bothwell debate that occurred months ago? Why have voters never been allowed to see it?

  19. Dionysis

    “What do these guys have???!!!”

    Probably no more than a willingness to say anything, regardless of how factually idiotic and meaningless it really is (‘socialistic terrorists’), in order to play to those that are equally as factually challenged but seething in anger and feeling helpless to stop changes they don’t like. They resonate with the perpetually angry and gullible.

  20. Barry Summers

    They resonate with the perpetually angry and gullible.

    Sort of like the Joker. How does that guy keep getting henchman, when eventually, everybody in the criminal community has to know that he keeps killing them himself?

    Everybody should read “What’s the Matter With Kansas”, by Thomas Frank.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/What's_the_Matter_with_Kansas?

  21. There is something deliciously illicit about Michael Muller and Chad Nesbitt together on top of the BCGOP tower of babbling, right before the chairman goes over the edge. Is this the local GOP’s G rated version of the Folsom St. Fair? All that heady testosterone is on public display as Chad is harnessed up by the Master to perform his little act.

  22. pff

    I think the imagery of the local GOP going right over the edge is perfectly appropriate.

    Maybe the local Democrats could have a foot-shooting fundraiser at the shooting range?

  23. Barry Summers

    Shame on you Chad. Shame on you Carl.

    They don’t have any. Heck, Carl calls the first African-American in the White House “President Boo”. If they had any shame, it would’ve reached up & choked them in their sleep long ago…

  24. Jeff

    Please don’t get me wrong. These people seem like a lot of fun to hang out with. (In doses lasting 2 minutes or less.)

    But do I want people who think of 9/11 as a promotional theme do my governing? I would like my governing leadership a little more thoughtful, more forward looking.. a lot less STOMPING.

  25. nuvue

    Does anybody there realize who attacked America on 9-11?
    Zero…..I repeat zero 9-11 terrorists were Iraqis or Afgani’s, Yes they may have been trained on Afgani soil by Saudi terrorists.
    How do you rage war against religious extremism? Of course….charge to repel off of a tower!! Gotta love it.

  26. The Trolls Troll

    I wish chad would make like a tree and get out of here.

  27. Paul -V-

    I’m curious – how many push ups did Carl do?

    Most of my liberal friends are in excellent shape thanks to vegetarian diets, cycling, and an over all “joie de vie”.

    Dunno if we could beat Carl in a push-up contest, but I’ll bet it would be close.

    Does anyone know?

    - pvh

  28. Coolguyinnc

    Who gave them permission to use a publically-funded facility for the event? Did they have o pay for it? Does anyone know?

  29. Barry Summers

    Speaking of sleeper agents, I’ve been theorizing that Chad is actually a sort of Manchurian Chairman, unconsciously doing his best to sabotage the BCGOP. Think about it – just like in The Manchurian Candidate, he’s rebelling against his step-father…

    Maybe he was kidnapped by, oh I don’t know, a bunch of Quakers while vacationing in Celo. They brainwashed him into rising to power in the Republican Party, then turning it into a huge joke.

  30. Barry Summers

    Dunno if we could beat Carl in a push-up contest, but I’ll bet it would be close.

    Then we could all curl up & watch gladiator movies.

  31. John

    Wow. This is funniest thread I’ve read in a while. Thanks. I love you guys.

  32. LOKEL

    While 9-11 is and should continue to be on our National conscience …. just when will the GOP (local and national) LET IT GO …. it was 9 years ago … all but one of the airplane terrorists were citizens of Saudi Arabia … and the US is still “friends” with that country and its’ leaders.

    The GOP (especially local) needs to find a positive way forward … stop being so negative about everything not dreamed up by your own party, and listen to the majority of the constituents in your district if you EVER hope to get their votes again!

    One of the first orders of business is to elect a new group of “non-clowns” to lead Buncombes’ band of misfits!

    I would have paid a $100 to see Mumpower and Nesbitt wrestle in manure before I would pay to watch them “repel”.

    By the way Chadwick, how much money was donated to the poor republican children with cancer?

  33. The basic goal in allowing comments on Xpress articles is to try to bring meaningful information to the dialog while staying respectful of others. Read our full terms here.

    I find it rather disturbing that the Xpress on a routine basis accords Chairman Nesbitt the singular honor of the Palin treatment in his relations with the press and the wider public.
    http://www.ajr.org/article.asp?id=4600

    We must all show respect and due deference to the Chairman if we want our comments posted on this article. From the get go the comments on this post have been screened like no other post on this site. That is the new norm at the Xpress in regards to the Chairman.

    Get this. The Emperor has no clothes! When the Xpress joins in on manufacturing falsehoods as a co-dependent they are part of the problem.

  34. Barry Summers

    I don’t get it, Chris. C. Are you saying that MtnX is too hard on Chad, or too easy on him? And which falsehoods are you referring to?

    Not pretending here, I really am not sure what your complaint is.

  35. Barry, what I am saying is the Xpress is acting as a buffer between Chairman Nesbitt and reality. In his last big PR run at the Xpress he accused his step father, your state senator, of criminal behavior and the news media that is the Xpress .. Yawned.

    You haven’t noticed the comments on this post are disjointed, not in real time and not a correct count on the home page?

  36. Barry Summers

    You haven’t noticed the comments on this post are disjointed, not in real time and not a correct count on the home page?

    On your other points, I can’t really disagree. On these comment issues, I think most of that is because there are basically two kinds of commentors – those like you & me whose comments go up immediately, and those who must sit in a queue & be reviewed by the moderator before appearing (either because they are new or because they are on ‘probation’). I believe that that is the source of the disconnect on timing and counting.

    All I know is that I said Chad was going to hell, and it went up immediately & is still there. If there were an effort to censor, I would think that that would be gone. Do you know of any specific comments that haven’t made it onto the board?

  37. Also, the time being wrong on the comments…don’t know if their time set in on California time or what. I’ll post this now we’ll see of the time shown is delayed by three or four hours comment at 7.25 pm

  38. Barry I believe I have stated my observation of the preferential kid glove treatment given to all things Nesbitt by the Xpress clearly enough and see no need to belabor the point.

  39. bobaloo

    To summarize:
    Carl Mumpower: Derp derp derp derp.
    Chad Nesbitt: Hurrr Durrr.

  40. Barry Summers

    To summarize:
    Carl Mumpower: Derp derp derp derp.
    Chad Nesbitt: Hurrr Durrr.

    And don’t forget: tuk ur jeb!

  41. @Christopher C NC

    I think the Xpress is trying employ a Rope-a-dope strategy in covering Chad Nesbitt, the BCGOP, and all things conservative.

    Chad and the BCGOP have encountered that by employing the Tar baby strategy. So far, it seems to be working for Chad.

  42. Meh…that should be countered instead of encountered. Sometimes I wonder if my fingers are connected to my brain…

  43. Margaret Williams

    Ditto: On these comment issues, I think most of that is because there are basically two kinds of commentors – those like you & me whose comments go up immediately, and those who must sit in a queue & be reviewed by the moderator before appearing (either because they are new or because they are on ‘probation’). I believe that that is the source of the disconnect on timing and counting.

    and some comments are in holding because we have been unable to reach the poster via e-mail or direct message to discuss problematic posts that one or all of our moderators suspect may violate our policies: https://docs.google.com/document/pub?id=1_LPatsurxj_iZUjhOxQPKJnB7yLvXfta6wsT9k8KsVM.

  44. Barry Summers

    Margaret – I would be very curious to know what sort of posts have been held on this thread. The obvious kind are vulgarity, etc. But the ad hominem chain must be fairly loose given that I was allowed to tell Chad he was “going to hell”. What sort of violations are merely “suspect”, and held pending communication with the senders? Are you hunting sockpuppets?

  45. Margaret Williams

    Barry, some slip by us, particularly with unmoderated members. You got a freebie. We also do our best to gauge the tone of a post, but that is, admittedly, hard to figure.

    Some are held because the sender appears to be developing (or already has) a pattern we find problematic in the comments attempted. Some we would like to discuss with the supposed sender, for a number of reasons.

    But alas, they can’t be reached (to be specific and call ‘em out: pff, pffy, calebloves[whatever this week], g****g, etc). Which points us in the problematic-sockpuppet direction and leads us to consider various levels of banishment.

    Continued problems also lead to ponder the possibility of requiring posters to better identify themselves on this site, if they wish to participate.

    I do not say “we” in simply the old royal sense: There are several Xpress staffers who assist with comment moderation.

    But I digress and risk being moderated for going off topic:

    Good catch that the URL says “repelling.” Our little program creates the url as we type that headline. Musta been a typo that was caught in time for the headline.

  46. Barry Summers

    Thanks Margaret. I know MX has been through major staff changes, but do you know what has happened to Jon & Jeff’s proposed changes to the comments sections? I especially liked the idea of a tiered arrangement, where people who post under their real, verifiable name go in one column, and those who want to stay anonymous post in another.

    Good catch that the URL says “repelling.” Our little program creates the url as we type that headline. Musta been a typo that was caught in time for the headline.

    Yes, a typo. A wink’s as good as a nod to a blind bat…

  47. Margaret Williams

    Barry: We debate various levels of verification almost every other day/week at Xpress, so I’m not sure exactly which proposed changes you might be referring to. Tiered is an intriguing idea.

    The policies I provided a link to in this thread were drafted months ago and were recently revived for discussion. I pushed to get them posted instead of allowing more time to go by (so everyone who’s annoyed can blame me, I suppose).

    Back to something ol’ Chris keeps tossing out there: I’m mystified how you can think we treat Chad Nesbitt with kid gloves.. but also give him “the Sarah Palin” treatment. Chad speaks for himself; we report it. Check out our 9/22 issue for an interview with the Dem’s local party chair… and our concerted effort to chat with Chad.

  48. Chad speaks for himself; we report it.

    And that Margaret is the crux of the problem. The media has come to a point where they feel their job ends once they have faithfully written down what politicians want to spin. There is no fact checking, no critical analysis, no pertinent questions asking these leaders to prove their positions. There is no calling foul on outright falsehoods. The Xpress like the rest of the media these days merely types down and disseminates the offal coming from people like Chad.

    It is up to the reader now in the media’s opinion to decipher the truth in what used to be the news. News organizations no longer feel it is their job or responsibility to seek accuracy or the truth. It is a complete failure of leadership on the part of the free press.

    Sarah Palin is a pathological liar. There is ample evidence proving this. The national media is more concerned with access to this freak show than acting as a functioning check in a democratic system and letting the American public know.

    More often than not a secretarial service is being preformed. This is not journalism or news reporting. But that is how the Xpress, like the rest of the media these days sees its job.

    It is a free press with zero responsibility to the common good of the nation.

  49. While I was ranting I missed another issue. Initially I was set off by the new comment policy box at the top of the comment section being posted after this post got going. Then I saw it was on all posts now, not just Chad’s latest Xpress PR run.

    For the record I am totally fine with y’all taking a firmer hand in moderating the comments. I’m no tech geek, but it seems to me the best way to prevent sock puppets and multiple personalities is by limiting registration to one account per computer address. It doesn’t work as well these days with one account per e-mail address. Surely there is a program that will do that for commentors registering on the site.

  50. Barry Summers

    I think Christopher makes an excellent point.

    I agree, with this caveat – not that it’s an excuse by any means, but news venues all across the spectrum, including XPress, have had to cut staffing to the bone. And then it’s true, they eventually just become stenographers.

    And that’s not an accident – decades ago, the Roger Ailes and Rupert Murdochs of the world set out to ruin the media and hobble it’s ability to check their politicians on their baloney. They acquired newspapers and TV news divisions and required them to become profit centers, beholden to advertisers political whims. Reporters who call BS on enough well-connected pols find themselves on the street. That trend and that influence filters all the way down to locals like XPress. How much more spine might XPress have on local political issues if AC-T hadn’t been acquired by Gannett and then neutered? And it hits doubly hard as the technology shifts revenue away from traditional media.

    But it’s still a fair criticism. I’m sympathetic XPress, but this town needs some sort of watchdog. It sure ain’t AC-T, or WLS, or the Clear Channel talk radio stations.

  51. I do think Express tries for in depth coverage of certain issues.

    There are such deep divisions that some posters will never give the other side a chance. Think that may be why Express seems to be walking a tight rope when they present stories about folks like Mr. Nesbitt……knowing full well that once the stories printed it’s gonna be “all hell breaking loose.”

    That’s not to say Mr. Nesbitt and the present BCGOP isn’t asking for it…they pretty much threw down the gauntlet with the recent ad appealing for funds and saying that “Politics is not about Republicans vs. Democrats, it’s about good vs. evil” platform.

  52. Betty Cloer Wallace

    LOL. I just about got whiplash trying to enjoy both Chad flexing his pectorals and Michael’s evident embarrassment in having to do this interview, as well as Michael’s effusive gratitude to Chad for allowing him to witness the event. Too bad, though, we missed the push-ups.

    Perhaps MtnX needs to revisit its mission and decide where, in these changing times, it wants to position itself for the future, what “local” and “regional” mean, and if becoming almost solely an entertainment enterprise will be satisfying enough for readers and advertisers to stick with MtnX until it finds its way.

  53. Margaret Williams

    Thanks, Barry and DDial for having a more accurate view than some about what Xpress is trying to do (and what we’re able to do). Of course I’d like more staff — and the budget to support it. I can’t deny it’s a challenge to balance our online efforts with the harder journalism, which takes time and resources.

    But to all who seem to think we’ve gone totally soft and entertainment-oriented:There’s a great deal of investigation and research behind the scenes that you don’t see, whether it’s about Chad Nesbitt or anyone else. In many cases, allegations that you feel we never did anything with… well, they didn’t amount to much or couldn’t be corroborated. Accusations are easy; proof isn’t.

    Also keep in mind that online posts such as these about the Bun Co GOP video/fundraiser, follow-up reports on what happened at the Board of Elections the other day (what other print outlet followed that story? none), and an analysis that will appear in print in this week’s upcoming issue, are part of a larger body of coverage. We’re devoting almost two months of concerted effort, online and in print, to Election 2010 and the Nov. 2 vote.

    Admittedly, there is an increasingly thin line, in many major media outlets, between simply reporting what happened (that “secretarial” that is actually very important) and spinning it (the Fox News channels really pushes the boundary in this regard, and I’ll go so far as to say I think they violate it. Unfortunately, they’re not the only ones).

    What’s being missed here is an unspoken question: What’s the current tone of political “debate,” as seen here in our local party dynamics or in these comment threads? What effect does that have on this grand experiment we call democracy?

    Whatever you or I think of Chad N. is a bit irrelevant. It’s easy to deride him (or us). It’s much more difficult to examine the underlying issues.

  54. piffykap

    [b]Whatever you or I think of Chad N. is a bit irrelevant. It’s easy to deride him (or us). It’s much more difficult to examine the underlying issues. [/b]

    I’d LOVE to see Chad Nesbitt “examine the underlying issues. “.

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