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By Michelle Malkin  •  August 4, 2006 04:53 PM

More liberal tolerance:

[California] Senate President Pro Tem Don Perata Thursday discussed the difficult political climate surrounding illegal immigration and as an example said “You’ve got all these crackers … down in San Diego.”

At a briefing with reporters, the Oakland Democrat was asked about the prospects of pending legislation to grant driver’s licenses to illegal immigrants. Though a similar bill has passed the Legislature before – only to be vetoed – Perata said he was cautious about moving the current bill to the governor’s desk in an election year.

“Immigration is a red meat issue,” he said. “You’ve got all these crackers down in Southern Cal – ah, where is it, San Diego, taking on the governor. Even the governor was shocked.”

The Senate leader was referring to a town hall-style event the governor held in La Mesa last week as he kicked off a Southern California bus tour. The governor was confronted by several angry people in the audience who accused Schwarzenegger of being soft on illegal immigration because he favors comprehensive federal legislation that includes a guest-worker program and path to citizenship for many people here illegally.

Later, the governor admitted he was surprised by the “intensity of the prejudice” of some of the more strident opponents.

Funny, they had nothing to say about the radical left-wing bigots from the militant Brown Berets who harassed California’s First Lady, Maria Shriver, a few weeks ago:

Hundreds of people welcomed first lady Maria Shriver during a visit to the City Plaza on Friday before a rowdy group of protesters drove her out.

Shriver came to encourage low-income families to use food stamps to buy healthy fruits and vegetables. But about a dozen Watsonville Brown Berets shouted “You’re not welcome here” and “racist.”

After touring the City Plaza and farmers market, Shriver slipped away from the crowd more than an hour earlier than planned.

Some in the crowd shook their heads as the protesters changed the tenor of the visit from celebratory to angry.

“I’m embarrassed for Watsonville,” said Lourdes Chuta, a 67-year-old Watsonville resident…Shriver signed autographs and posed for pictures with people.

Thomas Avila, 5, had wanted to meet the first lady but his visit with her was cut short by protesters’ yells. “They were so rude, he started crying,” said his mother, Virginia Avila, 42. Shriver left a few minutes later as tensions escalated in the face of an increasingly angry protest.

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