The Rittenhouse Review

A Philadelphia Journal of Politics, Finance, Ethics, and Culture

Saturday, September 11, 2004  

Pennsylvania Remains a Battleground

This week stumping for votes in Pennsylvania wasn’t reserved only for former Vice President Al Gore (see below), Democratic presidential nominee Sen. John F. Kerry yesterday was in Allentown, the heart of the Lehigh Valley, and crucial territory given the results of the 2000 campaign.

Local media coverage centered primarily on gun control, with Sen. Kerry lambasting the Bush administration for its failure to act to extend the assault weapons program. (Gun control is a brave topic for discussion in Pennsylvania, a state in which there are, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer more than a million hunters and who knows how many die-hard National Rifle Association [NRA] members.)

The Inquirer reports Sen. Kerry chastised President Beach Thongs in a shameful flip-flop (“Kerry, Bush Trade Charges on Assault Weapons, Iraq,” by James Kuhnhenn and William Douglas, September 11):

During the 2000 presidential campaign, Bush said he would support an extension of the ban. While he has been effective in pushing his own legislation through the Republican Congress, he has not actively encouraged congressional leaders to renew the 1994 law.

“George Bush, who said, ‘Oh, I’m for that,’ never asked the Congress to pass it, never pushed the Congress to pass it, never stood up, gives in to the NRA, gives in to the special interests, and America’s streets will not be as safe because of the choice George Bush has made,” Kerry said in Missouri.

Kerry portrayed the ban as a means to deter terrorism, thus trying to weaken Bush on turf where polls show the President is strong.

“If you’re going to make America safe . . . you have to stand up for homeland security, stand up for police officers, and keep those weapons off the streets of our country,” the Democratic nominee said in Allentown.

Teresa Heinz Kerry was in King of Prussia, located in suburban Philadelphia, Thursday addressing members and supporters of Women for Kerry-Edwards, where she discussed the Kerry-Edwards campaign’s healthcare proposals to an admiring audience (“Rapt Crowd Greets Heinz Kerry,” by Tina Moore, the Philadelphia Inquirer, September 10). Pull quote:

Heinz Kerry removed her glasses and spoke softly into a microphone about her father and her childhood in Africa, before she launched into an outline of her husband's plan that was laced with jabs at President Bush and other Republicans.

Audience members applauded when Heinz Kerry called Bush “flippant” about science.

“I regret that we have a president who has not been attracted by the beauty of science,” she said. “We can and must develop stem-cell research.”

Ah . . . Life in a battleground state.

[Post-publication addendum: For local coverage on Kerry’s visit to Allentown, Pa., from the Allentown Morning Call, see: “Kerry Lists ‘Wrong Choices’ by Bush,” Daryl Nerl, with photos here and video here. And from the Easton Express-Times: “Kerry Draws 12,000 to Valley Rally,” by Michael P. Buffer.]

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