NEW YORK -- A protest outside the Westminster dog show aimed at Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney drew about a dozen demonstrators Tuesday, plus a few pooches.
The half-hour lunchtime demonstration in front of Madison Square Garden took issue with Romney's oft-told story of traveling with his Irish setter, Seamus, on a family vacation in 1983. Romney has said he put the dog inside a crate and strapped it to the roof rack for a 12-hour drive from Boston to Canada.
Protest spokeswoman Kitty Hendrix said the Dogs Against Romney website that organized the demonstration has about 25,000 members. The protesters held signs that said "Mitt is Mean" and "Dogs Aren't Luggage" and "I Ride Inside."
The Westminster Kennel Club event is the most prestigious dog show in America and draws 2,000 entries. Hendrix said her group didn't want to interrupt Westminster. "We're just using this as a backdrop," she said.
A few curious passers-by stopped to talk to the protesters, but none of the champion dogs walked by. Al Alvarez held a sign in one hand and the leash to Petey the bull terrier in the other. "I think Romney's attitude toward dogs was indicative of his attitude toward the most vulnerable in our society," he said.
Republican rival Newt Gingrich has poked Romney about the episode. Gingrich's campaign put together a reel of Romney's verbal slip-ups, including a Fox News interview in which Romney said Seamus was kept in "a completely airtight kennel, mounted on the roof of our car."
L.A. mayor will chair Democratic convention
LOS ANGELES -- Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa has been selected chairman of this summer's Democratic National Convention, elevating his role as a surrogate in the Latino community and raising his national profile at a time Villaraigosa considers his political future.
A formal announcement was scheduled today in Washington, with the mayor planning to join President Barack Obama tonight for a presidential fundraiser in Los Angeles. As convention chairman, Villaraigosa will wield the gavel during the event in Charlotte, which opens with a festival Sept. 3 and continues for three days of official business, including the nomination of Obama and his acceptance speech.