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All aboard the Astroturf bus!

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By Michelle Malkin  •  August 19, 2009 11:17 AM

Chris Gautz of the Jackson (MI) Citizen Patriot reports that the SEIU and Organizing For America chartered buses from nearly 200 miles away to plant Obamacare supporters at a town hall meeting held by Democrat Rep. Mark Schauer.

All aboard the Astroturf bus:

Several readers have criticized the Citizen Patriot’s coverage of last week’s health-care rally outside U.S. Rep. Mark Schauer’s office, where hundreds came out — both to support and oppose — President Barack Obama’s reform plan.

The chief criticism was that we failed to mention that some supporters were bused in from around the state.

It is true, and it wasn’t included in the original story, but not because we were trying to slant coverage. The simple truth is it was a difficult fact to nail down.

You’re reading this story today because Tuesday I was able to confirm with the Service Employees International Union that it rented vans and encouraged people to carpool to the event. About 100 SEIU members attended, from as far away as Muskegon and Detroit, said Zac Altefogt, a spokesman for SEIU Healthcare Michigan.

OFA wasn’t very happy about being smoked out:

On Friday, we followed up with Organizing for America, which put out the call for supporters to attend the event. OFA state director Aletheia Henry assured us that her group had not bused people to the rally.

We wrote a short follow-up Saturday and thought it was resolved.

Then this week, some readers e-mailed us photos of supporters standing in front of a bus from Trinity Transportation parked several blocks away near Family Video, 1111 W. Ganson St.

My colleague followed up with Henry. We told her we understood OFA hadn’t chartered the buses, but we wondered if she knew who had. She refused to answer the question and then hung up the phone.

Seems like an overreaction to a news organization simply looking for a straight answer.

Hat tip: Jim Hoft, who maps the bus routes.

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