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In The Hoop

You might have heard that the Bush White House has a tight handle on media relations. In The Hoop thought so too. Until yesterday.

Well, it wasn't an official White House event, but at Bush's speech before the Hispano Chamber of Commerce in New Mexico, press access was tighter than an old pair of J.Lo's blue jeans.

To cut a long story short, In the Hoop was basically booted from the Barelas barrio in Albuquerque. But, of course, it was more complicated than that. After being granted press access to cover the event under the sweltering sun, our privileges were revoked.

Sound familiar?

Yeah, this type of Indian giving used to happen to tribes all the time, especially in the late 1800s and early 1900s. Why do you think there were so many Dawes acts? So we can't say we're surprised at the treatment members of Indianz.Com's staff received.

But the blame can't be laid on any of Bush's people. They were actually very accommodating. No, instead the culprits here are members of Sen. Pete Domenici's staff.

People for Pete, you might want to hold back on those campaign contributions until you can be reassured the Republican from New Mexico makes his staff undergo sensitivity training. Or at least until they figure out that interrupting a man of the cloth while he's leading a benediction isn't part of the President's new faith-based initiative.

First, Indianz.Com was told we couldn't stand among the common people who gathered to hear El Presidente. "If you want to cover this, you cannot stand here," Agnes O. told us as she and a male staffer forced us to make our own Trail of Broken Press Privileges up to the dreaded press platform.

Yet after being herded like sheep to the press platform, members of Domenici's staff then called us back down. It turns out that we weren't allowed there.

We didn't care so much, though. The heat was even more unbearable than it was among la gente. But Domenici's staff picked a perfect time to tell us to get off: while Archbishop Michael Sheehan was leading the group, composed of many Catholic Church-going Hispanics, in a prayer.

"Don't you know that a priest is praying right now?" we asked Sarah E.

Suddenly finding faith, she said "Shhhhh!"

Maybe she wanted to hear him pray. Or maybe to drown out her ineptitude.

Then, the apologies started. "What can I do it to make it better?" asked Agnes O.

How about, "Get your act together?" Or, "Leave us alone?"

No, we didn't tell her that. Instead -- knowing the incident would make a perfect In The Hoop -- we asked for their names.

The two then got itchy. "Why do you want our names?" asked Sarah E.

Hoping to strike back, she asked for our names. The heat must have fried her brain, because we had already given them to her and her cadre of "volunteers" just 30 minutes earlier. She, in fact, had our names written down a sheet of paper. We had even showed our photo IDs to confirm our identity.

But the actions displayed by the pair were typical behavior of the perpetually confused and the perpetually scared.

The travails weren't over though. Agnes O. told us to "go under the rope" so we could mingle with la raza again. The rope, however, was so low that it would have taken a limbo champion to make it under.

"Now you want us to limbo?" we said, making motions of the Caribbean sport.

No, we told Agnes O., we prefer to walk. Like humans.

So we returned to the common ground, where we met a couple of protesters. Then, at around 2:45pm, it was announced that Bush would be arriving in an about an hour.

Everyone groaned.

A mass exodus ensued.

So much for changing the tone in Washington. Or Albuquerque, for that matter.

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