NASCAR Fans Don't Take Kindly to Immunization Alert
Jeff Gordon's victory at the Bank of America 500 NASCAR race surely fired up fans in Concord, N.C., on Saturday night, just slightly more than the battle in Washington over inoculating congressional staffers attending the big event.
Still, race fans didn't appreciate an advisory by the Democratic head of the Homeland Security Committee telling aides to get a series of immunizations before heading down to investigate health care facilities at the Talladega Super Speedway in Talladega, Ala., and Lowe's Motor Speedway in Concord, N.C.
The recommendation was "probably Washington bureaucracy and prejudice to the South, somewhat," one fan told FOX News.
"Is this going on in other sporting events is my question. Is this happening with the Super Bowl every year?" asked Jonathan Drew of St. Louis, Mo.
"Good to see the people in D.C. are as smart as ever, focused on the right issues," said Tracy Tarbutton of Ashville, N.C.
The battle hit the public consciousness last week after The Washington Times was first to report that congressional aides were advised to get vaccinations against several communicable diseases — including hepatitis, diphtheria, tetanus and influenza — before traveling on a fact-finding mission to the tracks.
Democratic Rep. Bennie Thompson of Mississippi, the chairman of the Homeland Security Committee, said the whole story was blown out of proportion, but Republican Rep. Robin Hayes, who represents the district that is home to Saturday's race, called it an affront to NASCAR fans.
By race time Saturday night, fans who had been complaining about the warnings were more focused on pole position than staph infections, and commentators didn't mention the topic during their play-by-plays. NASCAR officials weren't available Sunday to say whether anyone with a communicable disease reported to Lowe's medical facilities on race day.
But with all the noise, the National Republican Congressional Committee is hoping to make a little more hay from the dispute, issuing a nearly three-minute video that used more than a dozen news reports about the congressional field trip to make fun of the public health scare.
Click here to watch the NRCC video.
"If anything, it's the NASCAR fans who should get immunized against Washington officials, not the other way around," Rep. Patrick McHenry, R-N.C., is quoted saying at the end of the video.
North Carolina Republican Party Chairwoman Linda Daves added that Democrats are not going to win over any of the prized NASCAR voters with reports like this latest one.
“Democrats should know that there is no preventive measure yet designed to ward off the blue-collar values and patriotism that NASCAR fans represent. If they aren’t careful, they just might catch some of it,” she said.