TRUMBULL COUNTY Democratic bus tour rolls into Niles
The bus trip ends Sunday in New York City.
By DAVID SKOLNICK
VINDICATOR POLITICS WRITER
NILES -- The side of the bus reads "America Can Do Better."
Those on the bus say John Kerry, the Democratic presidential nominee, is the person who can accomplish that goal.
The "America Can Do Better" bus pulled into Waddell Park in Niles about 9 a.m. today with about 40 people inside.
The 15-city bus tour, organized by the Democratic National Committee, began Monday in Newport News, Va. It ends Sunday in New York City, the site of the Republican National Convention.
Sarah John of Falls Church, Va., an emergency room physician who's been on the tour since it began, said she got on the bus to draw attention to "the failures of the Bush administration to provide health care."
John said she often treats people who don't have health insurance and have to use the emergency room as their primary health-care provider.
"It's wrong, it's simply wrong," she said. "They don't have health insurance and can't afford it so they come to the emergency room when they get desperate."
Supporters on hand
Those on the bus were greeted by fellow Kerry supporters including U.S. Rep. Ted Strickland of Lisbon, D-6th; state Sen. Robert F. Hagan of Youngstown, D-33rd; Leo Gerard, president of the United Steelworkers of America, and several USWA Local 2155 members, locked out of their jobs at RMI Titanium Co. for the past 10 months.
The rally was held across the street from the RMI plant.
Strickland said President Bush will put a positive spin on his 31/2 years in the White House during next week's GOP convention.
"We need to take the truth to the American people," he said. "... Ohio has been suffering through job losses, and the Bush administration has no plans to improve the economy."
Many of Strickland's comments were drowned out by a group of about a dozen Bush supporters standing about 50 feet away from the bus. The supporters were loudly and repeatedly chanting, "Bush-Cheney in '04."
It became such a problem that Strickland was given a microphone to speak even though he was screaming his comments.
Gerard said it is imperative for people to support Kerry in order "to take this country back."
He also made fun of one of the Bush supporters who misspelled Vice President Dick Cheney's last name on a plate. She wrote Chaney.
"They spell like their president speaks," he said.
Jeanne Kish of Warren, one of the Bush supporters, said she supports the president because the nation is safer because of him.
"Also, he's a man of integrity and honor," she said. "When he says something, he does it. He doesn't flip-flop. We need four more years of him."
Kerry, she said, will say anything to anyone to get their vote.