- The Washington Times - Tuesday, July 27, 2004

PHILADELPHIA — Democratic National Convention headliner John Kerry plans to make his grand entrance into Boston late this morning by water taxi.

The convention is steeped in the image of Mr. Kerry’s service in Vietnam, and the pending nominee’s arrival will fit the theme.

Mr. Kerry, who commanded a Navy swift boat in the Vietnam War, will travel across Boston’s harbor to Charlestown Navy Yard with several of his former crewmates, and then hold a rally.

The Charlestown Navy Yard closed in 1974, but part of it has become a national park. It is home of the USS Constitution, the oldest commissioned ship afloat in the world.

Carville says none dare criticize Kerry

BOSTON — Democrats are so set on unity this year that Democrats in Congress know better than to say anything that sounds like a criticism of Sen. John Kerry, lest they face a primary challenge next time.

“The big news is, no Democratic politician dare say anything, because they will get primaried,” James Carville, political strategist and one of the masterminds behind Bill Clinton’s 1992 election, said yesterday.

“I’ve never seen things like this,” he said. “I was talking to a group of Democratic congressman, and if you’re in the Congress, you’re a Democrat and you say something mildly critical, you’ll get primaried next time.”

Speaking to reporters at a breakfast hosted by the Christian Science Monitor here yesterday, Mr. Carville said a victory for Mr. Kerry is about as certain as something can be in politics.

“I think if Bush wins this race, it would be the greatest political achievement of my lifetime. I’ll say it right now,” he said. “If they do it, it will be one brilliant campaign.”

Kucinich frees his delegates

BOSTON — Defeated Democratic presidential candidate Rep. Dennis Kucinich has released his convention delegates, telling his supporters to “vote your consciences.”

Mr. Kucinich, who formally endorsed Sen. John Kerry last week, met with his roughly 64 delegates twice this week, with many saying they still would cast a vote for the four-term Ohio congressman at the roll call tonight, according to an e-mail from his campaign yesterday.

“I’m releasing you to vote your consciences. You will be the ones making your own decision,” Mr. Kucinich said.

According to the e-mail, Mr. Kucinich stressed to delegates that it was important for Democrats to unite behind Mr. Kerry, but some still say they will cast their first-round ballot for Mr. Kucinich.

Vicki Rottman, a sculptor from Denver who participated in the anti-war protests outside the Chicago Democratic convention in 1968, said she “vowed this year that I would be on the inside of the convention and that I would voice my opinion.”

Edwardses visit son’s grave

BOSTON — Sen. John Edwards and his wife, Elizabeth, visited the grave of their son, Wade, yesterday before leaving their hometown of Raleigh, N.C., to fly to Boston to accept the Democratic vice-presidential nomination.

Mr. Edwards said the acceptance speech he will give tonight is essentially finished.

“I think anybody listening to this speech will think it’s positive,” Mr. Edwards told reporters aboard his campaign plane.

The couple was nearly an hour late for their scheduled departure from Raleigh, keeping about 60 friends and well-wishers waiting under a broiling sun.

Asked about the delay, Mr. Edwards said they had made an unscheduled stop.

“We went to the cemetery,” he said and then grew silent. Aides said the visit was to the grave of Wade, killed at age 16 in a 1996 jeep accident.

Club for Growth starts ad campaign

BOSTON — A conservative anti-tax group yesterday began a $1 million advertising campaign that paints Democrat John Kerry as a waffler, picking up where President Bush left off last week when his campaign pulled its ads.

The Club for Growth’s campaign is much smaller than what Mr. Bush had been spending. However, the group’s ads will give Republicans somewhat of a presence on the air in certain areas during a week in which news about Mr. Kerry dominates the airwaves.

The new 30-second ad is to start running this week in pricey Boston, where Democrats are holding their national convention, before expanding to several Midwestern states.

The ad shows Mr. Kerry’s head, torso and arm as a spinning weather vane to claim that the Democrat makes decisions depending on which way the wind blows.

“In 1996, he opposed the death penalty for terrorists. Now, he claims to support it,” the ad says. “Sometimes he’s for welfare reform, sometimes he’s against it. For a 50-cent gas tax hike, then maybe not. Kerry voted for higher taxes 350 times, but now says he’d cut taxes.”

From wire dispatches and staff reports.

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