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John McCain gets muted in Aspen

June 5, 2008 |  5:58 am

Next time you're lucky enough to jet into Aspen for a little rest and relaxation, one of the recorded voices greeting you at the Pitkin County airport WON'T be John McCain's.

Until last month, the dulcet tone of the presumptive Republican presidential nominee was among those heard at the terminal, welcoming visitors and reciting various safety-related provisos. Overall, about 40 different folks deliver the messages, a mix of celebrities (such as comic David Brenner, actress Jill St. John and her husband, actor Robert Wagner, all of whom have homes in the resort community) and locals (the mayor, county commissioners, the county manager).

County spokeswoman Pat Bingham recently told The Times' James Hohmann that about a year ago, she was the one who added McCain to the mix.

"I was at a party, and he was there," she said. "And I thought, 'Oh cool, a senator.' It had nothing to do with my political feelings."

And no one else's political feelings seemed to be affected until a few weeks ago when, Bingham said, "We had one complaint from a guy, who thought maybe it would tip the scale of the election or something."

True, Colorado is considered a likely swing state in the general election. But would McCain's warning that the federal regulations restrict certain items from being carried aboard airplanes sway many votes?

Regardless, said Bingham, "We didn’t want to offend anyone." So the McCain recording got mothballed.

She ruefully added: “Had I been forward thinking, I should have gotten Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama to do one. Then it would have been equal time.”

--Don Frederick

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