Fitzgerald on Friday delivered to Buchanan's Sarasota office 1,200 petitions demanding that the congressman withdraw his backing for anti-abortion legislation that critics say would redefine the meaning of "forcible rape."
Here's the news release on the counter-protest, as issued by the Buchanan campaign:
SARASOTA, Fla -- A group of Sarasota women, outraged at congressional candidate Keith Fitzgerald's crass exploitation of rape, protested in front of the federal building today and demanded an apology.
"Rape is no joke" Darlene Harvey, 61, said at a protest against Fitzgerald at the old federal building in Sarasota. "Rape is not a political card to be used for scoring points in a campaign. Have you no shame, Mr. Fitgerald?"
Harvey, local advocate for women, and a dozen other protesters with placards were upset at Fitzgerald's cynical effort to link Congressman Vern Buchanan to comments made by Missouri U.S. Senate candidate Todd Akin.
Buchanan condemned Akin's comments and also condemned Fitzgerald for his undignified attempt to exploit the issue of rape.
"The protesters said Fitzgerald owed the people an apology for sinking so low as to capitalize on rape.
"It's bad enough you have a candidate for the U.S. Senate in Missouri making reprehensible statements about rape," said Buchanan spokeswoman Sally Tibbetts. "But for Fitzgerald to blindly follow Nancy Pelosi's lead and dishonestly link it to others is why people hate Washington."
"Fitzgerald's unseemly use of rape as a political weapon displays a disturbing lack of sensitivity to the victims of this evil crime," Harvey said.