Bush Gets Police Group Endorsements
BOSTON (AP) _ President Bush won the endorsement Friday of the Boston police union, whose leader contrasted Bush’s ″courage and guts″ with Bill Clinton’s avoiding the military during the Vietnam war.
It was a repeat endorsment from the Boston Police Patrolmen’s Association, which embarrassed then-Massachusetts Gov. Michael Dukakis by backing Bush in their 1988 race.
″I can’t think of a greater endorsement. I can’t think of a better lift,″ a grateful Bush told 300 officers and others in a fire fighters’ union hall.
Donald L. Murray, president of the 1,400-member Boston Police Patrolmen’s Association, made a slashing attack on both Dukakis and Clinton, whom he referred to as ″the Arkansas traveler.″
″In looking for a leader, especially a president of the United States, police officers first seek an individual with personal courage and guts,″ said Murray.
″You have both,″ he told Bush, a decorated Navy bomber pilot in World War II.
″When George Bush heard the call of his country to fight as a young man of 18 years, he did not retreat to a London flat to contemplate what impact his participation in the war might have on his future political career,″ said Murray.
Murray also applauded Bush’s Supreme Court appointments and charged that Clinton would appoint a ″left wing liberal″ like New York Gov. Mario Cuomo.
Bush also got support from local chapters of the National Troopers Coalition and the Italian American Police Association.
Bush proudly told them he also had been backed by the Fraternal Order of Police in Clinton’s hometown of Little Rock. He didn’t mention that Clinton has won the endorsement of the police in Bush’s hometown of Houston.
And the Boston police vote was not unanimous. Its governing board, which controlled the endorsement, had 31 aye votes, 16 nos and one abstention on backing Bush.
Bush, accompanied by Dukakis’s successor, Gov. William Weld, also won the backing of the Democratic president of the Boston city council, Albert ″Dapper″ O’Neil, who praised Bush’s war record and said, ″I feel safe with him. If I had to be in a foxhole, I’d be in it with him.″
Bush attacked what he called Clinton’s ″rotten record back home″ on supporting the police and crime-fighting.
He also praised the union member’s ″courage″ in resisting efforts by Boston Mayor Ray Flynn to discourage them from backing Bush again.
His main purpose in flying to Boston for the evening was to raise $550,000 at a private fund-raising dinner.
As Bush arrived at the Park Plaza Hotel, he was greeted by hundreds of jeering Clinton supporters and an equally large crowd of his own backers, packed behind police barricades. He stood up on his limousine to wave at the crowd, drawing boos and cheers.
Later, Bush flew to Clearwater, Fla., for a full day of campaigning across Florida and a visit to hurricane victims in Homestead on Saturday.
Air Force One shimmied from right to left as it landed in a downpour on a slick runway at the St. Petersburg-Clearwater International Airport. Two hundred people were waiting in the rain to cheer him.
Bush, in a raincoat but hatless, went down the line shaking hands, starting with Carol Franzese. ″It was well worth it. He’s a wonderful man,″ said the St. Petersburg nurse.