• Governor hit by pie during parade
    By LOUIS PORTER Vermont Press Bureau | July 04,2008
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    MONTPELIER — Gov. James Douglas was hit in the face with a cream pie as he marched in the Montpelier Independence Day parade Thursday evening.

    The pie was thrown as Douglas, who is running for re-election this year, was in front of the Capital Plaza Hotel on State Street.

    "A guy came out of the crowd and threw the pie," said Dennise Casey, Douglas' campaign manager. "The governor wiped off his face and finished the parade."

    Douglas was not injured in the incident. Eyewitnesses said the pie appeared to be whipped cream only.

    The man, Matthew Manning, 22, of Northfield, was charged with simple assault, according to the Montpelier Police Department.

    No other information was available about Manning at press time.

    "I think it is pretty clear he assaulted the governor," Casey said last night during a telephone interview following the incident, which was in plain sight of scores of paradegoers.

    "He was unfazed" by the pie, she said. "He wiped off his face and kept marching."

    Barre Mayor Thomas Lauzon was walking with the governor at the time of the attack. After Manning allegedly "pied" Douglas, Lauzon scuffled with Manning until police could get the attacker into custody, Casey said.

    Several witnesses said Lauzon appeared to have been struck in the face during the incident.

    Attempts to reach Lauzon for comment last night were unsuccessful. The governor completed the Montpelier parade and went on to two other Fourth of July events, one in Winooski and another in Burlington.

    Douglas is scheduled to appear in 18 parades and other gatherings this week, Casey said.

    This is not the first time a Vermont politician has been attacked by a pie-thrower.

    During the 2006 campaign for U.S. Senate, Rich Tarrant was also hit with a pie while he marched in the Montpelier Fourth of July parade. It does not appear there were charges filed in that case, and the pie tosser was not identified.

    In recent years, politicians, columnists and celebrities whose positions have come under scrutiny have been the targets of pie-throwers, including Microsoft's Bill Gates, and New York Times writers Thomas Friedman, Ann Coulter, among others. The high-profile prank is seen by some as a symbolic political statement.

    Contact Louis Porter at louis.porter@rutlandherald.com.
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