What was supposed to be a press conference on the lawn of the Boise Community Center with U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, wasn't.
Instead, about 100 protesters singing songs and chanting slogans against U.S. war crime policies appear to have drowned out Gonzales's interest in coming outside.
Instead, one of Gonzales's staff appeared, to announce that the news conference would be moved inside, away from the crowd, for press only.
"Coward!" shouted several in the crowd.
"I hope he heard us," said Mary Donato, who joined protesters at the site. "I think people in Idaho are not as happy with the Bush administration as some people think."
Gonzales was supposed to be in town to meet with local anti-gang groups. But the ongoing furor over his firing of several U.S. attorneys, and of his role in controversial Bush policies, has made him a target even in red-state Idaho.
While waiting for Gonzales to appear, Jim Hansen, the director of United Vision for Idaho, a social-action group, briefly took over the empty podium set up outside the Community Center to deliver some remarks about Gonzales's appearance.
"We have a lot of tremendous concerns about our Constitution, about civil rights," said Hansen. "We're deeply concerned about America's standing abroad. That has been destroyed and undermined by the U.S. government."
Hansen then took aim at Gonzales.
"It comes right back to the Department of Justice, where the questions need to be answered," Hansen said. "We would welcome him to announce his resignation today."
Update Part Two:
Just got word from our man on the inside: Bill Cope tells us Gonzales spent all of about five minutes with press in the confines of the U.S. Attorney's office here in Boise.
Although Gonzales was hoping to deal with questions about the anti-drug efforts in the Treasure Valley, questions about his dodging the mob at the Community Center inevitably arose.
Rather than get distracted by the protesters, Gonzales said, he preferred the quieter venue to discuss the local issue of the day.
We'll have photos later. Stay tuned.