Traffic in Boston was barely evident on Sunday evening as the Prowler bopped into town for the big Democratic party that is already developing across the city known for its Freedom Trail, its fine Italian restaurants and Irish bars.
But all is not well in DNC land. Throughout the city, event planners and lobbyists setting up large parties and fundraisers for the coming week were developing plans B and C due to continuing fears about local union disruptions.
“It’s a mess. I’ve never seen anything like this,” said one lobbyist in his hotel lobby. “We have a party planned, but no guarantee that it will come off, because there are threats from local unions to picket out front. Now my client is looking at covering the tab for an event that many folks won’t bother to come to. It’s embarrassing that it has come to this.”
Two weeks ago, the man for whom this weeklong party has been planned — Sen. John Kerry — had been in Beantown to quell concerns about organized labor disruptions, but Kerry’s attempts at peacemaking apparently didn’t take.
The Kerry camp lays much of the blame for the city’s ongoing troubles at the feet of its Democratic mayor, Tom Menino. Menino’s people blame the DNC, as well as Kerry. All of this, despite a meeting between Menino and Kerry only a few days ago.
Menino was working feverishly throughout last week and into the weekend to reach at least tentative agreements with police and firefighters unions, as well as other municipal unions, to block any attempts on their part to upset a critical week for Kerry and the city. Late Sunday, Menino was claiming victory, claiming there would be labor peace for at least the next week.
KERRY MISSES THE SIGN
Sen. John Kerry, attempting to burnish his image as an everyman appeared at Fenway Park on Sunday night and threw out the first pitch at the Yankees-Red Sox game. The appearance was supposed to be a surprise, but Kerry couldn’t help touting the event to reporters on the plane from Ohio.
“The idea of missing a Yankees-Red Sox series right before a convention week was not acceptable, so we changed the policy,” Kerry told reporters.
Kerry, though, is apparently no Red Sox fan. Over the past few weeks, Kerry has claimed that his favorite Red Sox player growing up was Eddie Yost, who never actually played for Boston. Even famously liberal baseball pundit Peter Gammons, a New Englander, no less, was disgusted enough by the pandering to point out that embarrassing error.
According to a campaign staffer, Kerry was prepped on the plane from Ohio on the team’s current players and manager, just in case he was interviewed during the game by ESPN, which was covering the game live. “He hasn’t been paying attention, though he says he’s a fan,” says a campaign staffer on the ground in Boston. “But to the best of my knowledge, he’s never inquired about the Sox, how they are doing, that kind of thing.”
It wasn’t just a love of the game that got Kerry to Fenway, campaign workers could be seen before the game on Yawkey Way loading “Sox Fans for Kerry” signs into boxes to be handed out in the stands to fans willing to hold them up during the game.
But less than 20 minutes after the game had started, a number of signs could be seen in the trash receptacles throughout the park, and Kerry volunteers were quickly picking them up so that photographers couldn’t take pictures of them.
KERRY CENSORS CLINTONS
Word is that tensions between Bill and Hillary Clinton and the Kerry campaign continue apace, as the Kerry folks have asked to see the prepared remarks of both Clintons before they hit the theater in the round type stage on Monday.
“We’re not so worried about the content, as much as we are worried about the length,” says a Kerry adviser at the Fleet Center Sunday afternoon. “We were hearing that Hillary’s introduction of the president was upwards of 15 minutes long. That’s unacceptable. We just want this thing to go smoothly.”
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