Washington Prowler

Kerry Alarm

A fire brigade goes missing at last night's Bush-Cheney fundraiser.

By 3.25.04

Boston Mayor Thomas Menino won't let his firefighters sing for the President of the United States, but will let them sing for the man who would like to be president.

President Bush had invited the Boston Fire Department's famed Acappella Quartet to perform at last night's Bush/Cheney fundraiser in Boston.

The plan for was for the singers to croon a few patriotic tunes, perhaps the national anthem, and then they'd be free to go. The firemen, who are members of a union that was one of the first to endorse Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry, readily agreed, saying they would be honored to perform for the President.

But when word got out about the performance, Menino, a Democrat who is working closely with the Kerry campaign in the months leading up to the Democratic Convention in Boston, ordered the firefighters to decline the Bush invitation. Menino's excuse: the Bush fundraiser was too political.

But according to a Kerry campaign source, Menino wasn't even aware of the planned performance until after the Kerry campaign told him. The Kerry camp heard about the plans from the firefighters' union. Talk about political.

The story doesn't end there. "We wanted these guys for a fundraiser in Boston later this year, and there were plans to use them at the Democratic Convention, too," says the Kerry adviser. "We think the Bush people knew about those plans and tried to embarrass us by using these singers first."

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