Scholastic Student Reporter
"John Kerry has stood up against the powerful special interests in this country for 35 years," Gephardt told Scholastic News Online. "He stood against Richard Nixon in the Vietnam War, he stood against George Bush's unwise and unfair tax cuts that mostly went to the wealthiest Americans, and he had the leadership ability to realize Harry Truman's dream for America, the democratic dream for America of getting every person covered with health insurance." Health insurance was a major plank in Gephardt's own campaign for President, which he abandoned after poor election returns in the Iowa caucuses in mid-January.
Gephardt announced his endorsement at a rally for Macomb County Democrats at DeCarlo's Convention Center in Warren, near Detroit. Kerry also received support and praise from Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm and her husband, who is chair of Michigan Democrat's Kerry for President campaign.
"Why do I support Kerry? Because Kerry has supported the firefighters," one firefighter told Scholastic News Online. "Always has and always will, as far as we're concerned."
Firefighters Forand AgainstKerry
The Gephardt and Granholm endorsements have made an already strong Kerry even strongerespecially in Michigan. Gephardt has traditionally been a favorite of union members around the nation and Michigan is a big union state. Union support is necessary to do well in Michigan, which is a big manufacturing state.
With that in mind, Kerry spoke about two main issues of concern to union members: healthcare and employment. He said that Bush has lost too many jobs for people and it is time to get them back. Health care should be available for all Americans and not just the wealthy.
Scholastic News Online asked the firefighting critic why supported Bush. He said Democrats were the reason Warren firefighters had to battle for raises and better benefits.
"[We've been] four and a half years without a contract," he said. "Our Mayor is Democrat, our Congressman is a Democrat, our Governor is Democrat, and nobody comes to our help. So why should I support the Democrats?"
Kerry focused his attention on the supporters inside during his rally. He ended the rally with a now-familiar battle cry for Democrats opposed to Bush's policies in Iraq. "The Republicans want to run on national defense," Kerry said. "Here's what I have to say to that: Bring it on!"