Rifle-Toting Protester Part of Staged Radio Interview

By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 18, 2009 10:18 PM CDT

(Newser) – An anti-reform protester who showed up near President Obama's town hall event in Phoenix with a semiautomatic assault rifle did so as part of a staged radio event, reports Talking Points Memo. The man who conducted the seemingly random interview with the gun-toting "Chris" is conservative talk radio host Ernest Hancock. He appeared on CNN today and said he and Chris have known each other for two years as Ron Paul supporters. While the interview was staged, he said the sentiments expressed were sincere.

"The more we look into this, the more it appears that it was really planned," said CNN's Rick Sanchez to Hancock. "Oh, it's more planned than you think," replied Hancock, who said they had informed local police ahead of time. Asked about the point behind the fake interview, in which Chris rails against big government and equates taxation with theft, Hancock said, "We're up against a tyrannical government that will rob the next generation as long as they can get away with it."