Obama Assassination Plot Thwarted

Federal authorities announced Monday that they had broken up a neo-Nazi plot to assassinate presidential candidate Barack Obama. The plan involved two white supremacists, and authorities say Obama was never in any danger.

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STEVE INSKEEP, host:

Like so many elections, this fall's campaign has stirred intense emotions. But it's rare to find a plot as extreme as one described by prosecutors in Tennessee.

RENEE MONTAGNE, host:

They say a pair of neo-Nazis planned to rob a gun store. One was 20 years old, the other 18. They allegedly wanted to kill exactly 88 African-Americans and decapitate exactly 14 more.

INSKEEP: Numbers that allegedly mean something to white supremacists. As a final act, authorities say the men wanted to kill Barack Obama in a drive-by shooting. And they allegedly agreed to commit these acts while dressed in white tuxedos and top hats.

MONTAGNE: Officials say they took the alleged plots seriously, but they add that the Democratic presidential candidate was never in any real danger.

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Skinhead Plot To Kill Obama Thwarted, Officials Say

In court records unsealed Monday in U.S. District Court in Jackson, Tenn., federal agents said two men planned to rob a gun store, target students at a largely African-American high school and then attempt to kill Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama.

Authorities said the plan was fantastic in its scope and that Obama was never in any danger.

Daniel Cowart, 20, of Bells, Tenn., and Paul Schlesselman, 18, of West Helena, Ark., did not expect to be successful, officials said, but they were willing to die trying. Officials said they planned to drive as fast as they could toward Obama and shoot at him from the windows.

According to court records, the two men, who met on the Internet, had talked about dressing in white tuxedos and top hats for the alleged assassination attempt.

The suspects are being held without bond on charges of possessing an unregistered firearm, conspiring to steal firearms and threatening a candidate for president.

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