Rendell speaks to Cabrini in effort for Kerry campaign

By Lauren Reilly
November 4, 2004

Students and faculty funneled themselves through the doors of Grace Hall, satisfying vacant chairs positioned before a patriotic stage to see and hear Gov. Ed Rendell.
Outside, members of the Cabrini College Republicans held up signs supporting their preferred presidential candidate, George W. Bush.
Although their attendance had opposing intentions, they convened for one reason, Gov. Ed Rendell.
On Friday, Oct. 29, Cabrini became a stop on the presidential campaign trail as Rendell, along with additional John Kerry devotees, gathered to encourage students to vote for the democratic ticket.
Greeted with applause, Paul Scoles, the democratic candidate for Pennsylvania’s 7th Congressional District, took the stage, criticizing President Bush’s priorities and rationale. As Scoles speech concluded, the attentive silence was soon replaced with music as audience members awaited the arrival of Rendell. Meanwhile, the small group of College Republicans were having exchanges of their own.
Due to concerns from President Iadarola, as well as members from the campaign, Charles Schaffner, the director of Public Safety, approached the students and instructed them to relocate themselves and their propaganda “because the governor’s coming and we don’t want to stick this right in his face.”
Reluctant to fulfill Schaffner’s request, Andrew Mindnich, a junior English major, challenged the order; needless to say, a dispute ensued. “No, but the thing is that it’s only fair. It’s freedom of speech, we have every right to be here, just as much as they do,” Mindich said.
“Do you want to argue with the president?” Schaffner said.
Rendell has been traveling throughout the state of Pennsylvania not only to draw support for Kerry and Edwards, but also for other such as Scoles and Joe Hoeffel, the democratic candidate for the U.S. Senate.
“The message is really two-fold, he’s talking about why John Kerry and John Edwards and the democratic ticket are good for America, but he’s also really traveling around, especially to college campuses, to encourage young people to vote as Election Day approaches,” Steve Feldman, the regional press secretary for Pennsylvania Victory ’04, said.
Feldman emphasized the importance of Pennsylvania, justifying the numerous political appearances throughout the state in the week leading up to the election. “Whoever wins Pennsylvania will probably win the white house,” Feldman said.
Iadarola, along with faculty members and campaigners, continued to anticipate Rendell’s arrival at the doors of Grace Hall; the Kerry-Edwards banner mounted above them remained as negotiations continued.
“Can we move it down the street a little, I mean, you have the Kerry-Edwards sign there,” Mindnich said.
“Why don’t you do this? Why don’t you go over there underneath that tree along side the road,” Schaffner said.
Mindnich and College Republican comrade Lance Farrell, a freshman political science major, weren’t pleased with the reactions they had received. “I think that if we get to keep our Bush sign in front of their Kerry sign then we don’t have a problem. I just think it’s a matter of being fair,” Mindnich said.
While the College Republicans don’t consider the decision just, Iadarola explains that although the event may seem one sided, it was originally an offer of equal opportunity.
“I think what people don’t know is that an invitation was extended by the president to both President Bush and Sen. Kerry. I received a letter from President Bush declining the invitation. I admire their enthusiasm and I commend them for organizing themselves as young Republicans. We would do for them just as we have done for the young Democrats,” Iadarola said.
Rebecca Fegeley, the area coordinator of Residence Life, intervened and explained that the College Republicans may not stand outside the entrance of Grace Hall for the safety of Rendell, ultimately bringing the feud to an end. “It’s a security reason because this is where the governor and his people will be walking by,” Fegeley said. The students reconvened along the commons.
Escorted by Iadarola, Rendell is greeted by Scoles, singer/song-writer Carole King and actress Melissa Fitzgerald.
Speaking briefly of Kerry’s views on the cost of education, tax cuts and healthcare, Rendell also emphasized that many of Bush’s plans had good intentions, they just lacked the appropriate action and legislation.
John Holloway, a senior English and communication major, was pleased with Rendell’s visit. “I thought it was great. He didn’t disrespect the other party at all, he showed compassion for Bush’s plans and he just told us how we can go about Bush’s plans better and do Bush’s plans better than he’s doing them. He’s not saying Bush is a bad person or a bad man, he’s just saying that Bush had good ideas, he just didn’t know how to get them to work and that John Kerry does.”
Rendell’s presence evoked a sort of nostalgia from Iadarola. “From my perspective I was excited, it was reminiscent to the days of JFK. I worked for his campaign, although I was not old enough to vote for him. I could remember he looked down at me, and I was jumping all over the place because I was on television and everything, and he said, ‘You look great.’ That experience is always something I will remember and I’m hoping the student’s today will have caught some of that excitement, and more importantly, exercise their privilege to vote. Whether they vote for either candidate is their personal decision, but I like what Rendell said, ‘It’s the power of the vote’ and we can exercise that privilege. A lot of people died for us to have it and we can’t take it for granted,” Iadarola said.

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Lauren Reilly

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