June 28, 2004


Kerry cancels his speech to mayors: In a blow to Menino, will honor picket lines (Donovan Slack and Glen Johnson, June 28, 2004, Boston Globe)

Senator John F. Kerry last night canceled a planned speech today to the US Conference of Mayors in Boston, saying that he would not cross picket lines erected by workers engaged in a contract dispute with the city.

The announcement came as picketing firefighters and police officers dogged Mayor Thomas M. Menino at conference events for the third straight day yesterday. They had planned to picket the speech this morning at the Sheraton Boston Hotel.

''I don't cross picket lines," Kerry said last night, shortly after attending Mass at St. Vincent's Waterfront Chapel. ''I never have."

The statement leaves open the question of what he will do if the contracts are not settled before next month's Democratic National Convention.

Menino, in a brief news conference after emerging from a Symphony Hall performance last night, said, ''I'm very disappointed. They should open the picket lines and let John Kerry in so that he can make the speech." In an interview afterward with the Globe, Menino said he had talked with Kerry about 10 p.m. and reiterated, ''I'm extremely disappointed in his decision."

Can we afford a president who's afraid to face down a gang of antidemocratic thugs?

Posted by Orrin Judd at June 28, 2004 9:55 AM

[A] gang of antidemocratic thugs? Otherwise known as his base.

Posted by: David Cohen at June 28, 2004 10:10 AM

They're cops and firemen--they're Republicans when they aren't asking for higher salaries and less work.

Posted by: oj at June 28, 2004 10:30 AM

In this context, they are organized labor.

Posted by: David Cohen at June 28, 2004 10:59 AM

He's not crossing the line as a matter of principle; especially during an election year. Otherwise they could ... well ... what Cheney said ... "bigtime."

Posted by: genecis at June 28, 2004 1:02 PM

Two words: Calvin Coolidge.

Posted by: Jason Johnson at June 28, 2004 1:19 PM

Isn't Kerry going to have to cross picket lines to get to the DNC this July? Or have they worked that out?

Posted by: Timothy at June 28, 2004 1:33 PM

OJ is right - The GOP should just run ads saying if Kerry can't stand up to a picket line then how is he going to stand up to Iraq/Iran/NKorea/etc? And as noted above what happens if there are picket lines at the DNC?

Posted by: AWW at June 28, 2004 2:10 PM

I believe that the majority of Kerry's top 12-13 contributors (I read this probably two months ago) were unions. A significant percentage of his "volunteer" campaign workers are union employees who are paid by the unions to work full time for his campaign (can you say "campaign funding loophole"?). He literally _CANNOT_ cross a picket line without causing substantial harm to his campaign.

Posted by: Phil Shaffer at June 28, 2004 4:22 PM

Would Kerry be willing to wage a war against a foreign power?

How would you stop him?

Forget pill boxes, barbed wire, and seamines. fire.

What if they had picket lines? We'd probably turn back.

Posted by: rightwingduck at June 28, 2004 5:52 PM

Timothy/AWW - Have no fear, the Democratic federal judge overseeing the Boston police union pickets will enjoin them from picketing the convention at the time of Kerry's speech. Better for U.S. marshalls to jug the policemen than for Kerry to sully his purity by walking past them.

Posted by: pj at June 28, 2004 5:58 PM

Crossing the picket line for the convention won't be an issue. They've agreed not to picket in exchange for Kerry's refusing to cross now. Another campaign donation from the Unions that doesn't take the form of money and therefore escapes McCain-Feingold legislation and press scrutiny.

Posted by: MarkD at June 28, 2004 8:32 PM

Kerry made a fundamental mistake: he forgot the timing and he let a Republican upstage him. He is now running in the general election, not the primaries, and Mitt Romney will hang this around Kerry's neck. And it doesn't matter who or what this union is, the fact that Kerry ducked is all people want to know.

Posted by: jim hamlen at June 28, 2004 11:21 PM
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