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Mia Love targeted amid racially charged incidents at GOP convention

Published: Wednesday, Aug. 29 2012 3:37 p.m. MDT

Mayor of Saratoga Springs, Utah, Mia Love addresses the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla., on Tuesday, Aug. 28, 2012. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

J. Scott Applewhite, ASSOCIATED PRESS

TAMPA, Fla. — Race was injected into the national political scene during the opening days of the Republican National Convention.

Racially charged edits to a Wikipedia page, questions about TV coverage of minorities,  the firing of a news reporter over a race-related comment made on a hot microphone and other incidents all occurred within 24 hours of Tuesday's convention opening.

Following Utah congressional candidate Mia Love's speech at the GOP convention, her Wikipedia page was edited to include ugly, racist insults. The website was vandalized with a racial epithet and a derogatory term toward women. The changes have since been removed.

"Am I surprised? No. Am I disappointed? Absolutely," Mia Love said of the racial incidents, including those directed at her. "It's certainly not the America we know. And it's not the America Utah knows, so I think that Utah would be disappointed also."

Asked if she was frightened, Love reverted to the purpose of her campaign.

"I'm here first and foremost as a wife and a mother, and my children have this debt looming over their heads, and we're going to do everything we can to remove that," she said.

Her husband, Jason, said those behind the incidents don't share the family's positions and principles.

"Does it hurt us? Does it hurt our feelings? No, because we expected it," Jason Love said. "You can't fight for principles you believe in without people throwing a few stones your way, so it's certainly expected. … That stuff exists."

He said when people "try to single us out or try to criticize us, we're just going to push forward and let that bounce off us."

The incident was criticized by Love's opponent, Democrat Jim Matheson.

"I strongly condemn the disgusting language posted by hackers that defaced my opponent's Wikipedia page," Matheson said in a prepared statement. "There is no place for this type of hate-filled language. That's not who we are as participants in the democratic process."

• Tuesday night's speaker lineup at the Republican National Convention included Love, the mayor of Saratoga Springs; Hispanic Texas Senate candidate Ted Cruz; former Democratic Rep. Artur Davis, who is African-American; Puerto Rico Gov. Luis Fortuno's wife, Luce Vela Fortuno, who is Hispanic; and Hispanic Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval.

The speakers all discussed the theme of the convention — "We Built This." But they also have something else in common: Their speeches weren't broadcast by MSNBC.

According to a report by Red Alert Politics, the network cut the speeches — all of which were given by minorities — during its broadcast of the event. However, Mediaite cautions, the coverage MSNBC gave to the speeches was similar to the coverage given to the same speeches by different networks.

According to media blog Mediaite, Love's speech was replaced by commercials on MSNBC and Shepard Smith's coverage of Hurricane Isaac on Fox. Sandoval's speech was replaced by hurricane coverage on MSNBC and an interview with Rep. Eric Cantor on Fox.

Cruz's speech was replaced by a panel analysis of the convention on MSNBC, while Fox went to a commercial break and aired an interview with Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker. Fortuno's speech was replaced on MSNBC with more roundtable discussion, while Fox cut to a Bret Baier and Megyn Kelly discussion.

Davis, who seconded President Barack Obama's nomination at the 2008 Democratic National Convention before recently switching alliances to the Republican Party, spoke at the convention. His speech was covered in its entirety by Fox, while MSNBC aired a panel discussion.