The Kerry campaign should have vetted the city they made as their latest Ohio stop a bit more. I'm referring to Steubenville, on the banks of the Ohio river across from West Virginia. Steubenville is a steel town, and that and other reasons make it seem to be a good Kerry stronghold.
But that's not the case.
Thanks to Franciscan University of Steubenville (someone's alma mater ;-) and to a fairly strong diocese, the Catholic population of the area (which makes up a good chunk of the entire populace) is pretty solid, being especially pro-life on the abortion issue.
I don't think the Kerry campaign realized this, because they had kn0wn, they probably wouldn't have come.
Here's an email sent to Kathryn Jean Lopez of National Review Online explaining how things went:
- John Kerry came to Steubenville yesterday and quickly realized he was in the wrong city. Steubenville is a city where there are 6 Democrats for every 1 Republican, and the Steelworkers unions are alive and active. You would think this was solid John Kerry territory. The mob used to control Steubenville and now the unions think they do. Well, they are wrong.
The Kerry campaign first scheduled a visit to Steubenville two weeks ago but "scheduling conflicts" came up at the last minute. Oh, and did I mention that Kerry wanted to use a local gun range as a campaign stop, but the owner turned him down? And that the Fire Department Union President told the Kerry campaign that not only would he not organize the union to support Kerry at the rally, but that he was supporting President Bush! The Kerry campaign took for granted that this area was sown up. Mistake number one. So they rescheduled the campaign trip when Franciscan University was back in session. Mistake number two.
Before Kerry arrived there was a huge pro-life march led by Franciscan University students, 500 strong. "You can't be Catholic and pro-abortion", read some of their signs. Students and members of local Catholic parishes were full of energy and FoxNews reported that this was the largest protest against Kerry outside of the Democratic Convention. Just picture 500 pro-lifers marching from their college campus to meet Kerry. Where else but in Steubenville, Ohio! Though the Franciscan University did not organize the event, it is well known for its orthodox Catholic education which encourages students to put their faith into action. These students simply cherish their Catholic faith and could not stand to let Kerry use their faith as a political prop. I am proud of my alma mater.
….The Kerry campaign not only made a mistake in their timing, but they also chose to hold the rally in a public park which should be open to all the public. Mistake number three. The police chief, sheriff, and mayor all agreed with me that protesters and their signs would be allowed inside the Kerry rally site. Freedom of speech is alive and well here in Ohio. The Kerry campaign flipped out!
So, now add another 500 local Bush supporters to the Kerry rally. They tried to turn up the music but they could not drown us out. According to the Herald Star (local press), "The crowd, estimated by officials as 3,500 strong, was almost split in half with people for and against the Massachusetts senator." John Kerry must know he has a problem when over 15% of his audience was booing him. We were respectful and did not heckle him - but upon arrival and when he sought our applause he got something he didn't expect. As the press arrived a feisty nine year old little girl began shouting, "We want Bush!", and we all chanted along. The campaign staff was beside themselves. This is history in the making! Even places like Steubenville are not supporting John Kerry. He is in serious trouble.
My friends, John Kerry will not be coming back to Steubenville. Kerry was visibly shaken when he received boos from the audience.....
Update: more on Kerry's Steubenville reception at Redstate here.