Sunday, December 05, 2004

Kerry: "Keep Up The Fight"

It sounded like the opening bars of a new campaign song, not an elegy to a lost election.

U.S. Sen. John F. Kerry last night delivered a rousing call to action to a room filled with hundreds of supporters at the Center of New Hampshire Radisson Hotel.

"Keep up the fight. Keep New Hampshire blue forever," Kerry shouted, referring to the red/blue color code that television networks used to differentiate between states won by Republican President George W. Bush and those where Democrat Kerry was victorious...

The Massachusetts senator, slightly more than a month after the election he had felt sure he would win, came out swinging, in a call to keep up the fight for the issues that characterized his campaign.

"I feel so passionate about these issues that I am going to use all the energy God gives me to pursue them," Kerry said.

Referring to GOP voter registration challenges in Ohio that may have cost him that state’s vital electoral votes, Kerry said, "We’re going to clearly bring (attention to) the rights of American people to vote without being harassed."

"It is a disgrace that we have partisanly run elections in states where people don’t have faith in the outcome. We need to make sure all votes are properly recorded."

Referring to issues that are of continuing concern to him, Kerry said he senses "an energy" and "the same passion" across the country to continue those fights.

"We brought together millions of people on the Internet and we’re going to continue to grow this," he said.

Kerry said he has hired John Giesser, an experienced Democratic strategist, to work on the national level to "get our energy together."

In Washington yesterday it was announced that Kerry is forming a political action committee that will allow him to donate to Democrats in local, congressional and gubernatorial races in the next two years, as well as support his agenda on the environment, health care, energy and Social Security. The PAC will be based in Boston and headed by Giesser, who worked on Kerry’s 1996 Senate race and on presidential campaigns since 1984...

Kerry entered the hall at 8 p.m. in an entourage led by former Gov. Jeanne Shaheen and her husband, Bill, both of whom worked in his Presidential campaign. Gov. Shaheen, Manchester Mayor Bob Baines and Governor-elect John Lynch addressed the gathering prior to Kerry’s remarks.

To the cheers of those who volunteered and contributed to his campaign in New Hampshire, Kerry announced he will go to Iraq in January and he promised to "continue to fight for a foreign policy that lives up to the values of this country."

He said, "Life is an on-going struggle and you were with me and we are going to take that fight on to the country". . . .

"You folks, in New Hampshire and Iowa, led the way."

"To all of you, Teresa and I give our thanks. You are all family."

The PAC, which has yet to be named, will be based in Boston and headed by John Giesser, a lawyer and former chief operating officer of the City Year community service program.

Giesser is also a veteran political strategist who assisted Kerry with his 1996 reelection race and served as the number two general election strategist at the Democratic National Committee during the 2000 and 2004 presidential campaigns. He formerly worked at the Dewey Square Group, a Boston political consulting firm, and is a close ally of both Michael Whouley and John Sasso, two veteran strategists who headed the DNC's general election efforts at various points in the 2004 campaign.

The new organization will be separate from a reelection committee Kerry recently established, Friends of John Kerry, but it will share the same focus as a leadership PAC the Massachusetts Democrat established in 2002, the Citizen Soldier Fund. Like its predecessor, it will promote candidates and causes that dovetail with Kerry's political goals. During his presidential campaign, Kerry pledged to expand access to health insurance and to protect the environment, among other goals.

A leadership PAC is a committee organized by a political figure, as opposed to one set up by corporations or labor unions.

Presidential candidates often use such committees to build friendships in early voting presidential states. Giesser insisted that Kerry was not focused on another run for the presidency in 2008, but instead on bolstering Democratic organizational efforts through an emphasis on electing the party's candidates up and down the ticket, training Democratic operatives, and continuing efforts to organize the party on a precinct-by-precinct basis...

"We just finished a campaign," Giesser said in a telephone interview. "This is a leadership organization, an organization that is based on the vision and ideas that John Kerry will continue to fight for and that many millions of Americans support. Through this organization, John Kerry and all those who volunteered on behalf of the Democratic ticket can continue to build the Democratic Party at the grass roots, speak out, promote new policies, hold Republicans accountable, and support Democratic candidates at all levels."


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