Kerry jousts with hecklers

He turns ‘porch’ taunts into jabs at Bush record

Tuesday, September 07, 2004

By Milan Simonich, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

With a friendly crowd in Canonsburg lobbing softball questions yesterday, Democratic presidential nominee John F. Kerry could have ignored a pocket of hecklers that tried to disrupt his campaign.

Instead, Kerry pulled the detractors into his Labor Day speech, part of the “front-porch discussions” he’s been holding across the country. He told them their shouts and taunts couldn’t cover up facts — namely, that America has had a net loss of 1.6 million jobs under President Bush.

Gasoline prices are up 31 percent since Bush took office, and college tuition has grown more expensive by the year, he said.

At the same time, he said, wages are down by $1,500 for “the average family.”

One heckler then shouted, “Yeah, Kerry, you’re really average.”

Kerry pounced on the comment, replying: “No, I’m privileged, and my tax burden went down. I don’t think that’s right.”

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