Jerry Brown takes on Mass. Candidate woos dropout Harkin's labor vote.

March 10, 1992|By Boston Globe

BOSTON -- Former California Gov. Jerry Brown drew the largest crowd of his 1992 presidential campaign to Boston Common on last night, and from the part of the common known as Brimstone Corner he aimed his fire at the political establishment.

"We've got politicians down in Washington who don't know, don't care and won't admit it," Mr. Brown told a crowd estimated at 2,000 in a voice grown hoarse from campaigning. "That's what this election is about, to get them to act."

At the end of his speech, Mr. Brown shouted, "Massachusetts, give us a chance," and was mobbed.

During his visit, Mr. Brown, who has promised to phase out nuclear power in the next decade, criticized former Sen. Paul E. Tsongas of Massachusetts for refusing to rule out nuclear energy. And he called Arkansas Gov. Bill Clinton "a political hack."

As hundreds chanted "Jerry, Jerry," Mr. Brown and his band of aides swept across Tremont Street to St. Paul's Cathedral, where his one-van motorcade waited.

He declined to attend fund-raisers by an acupuncture group and at a blues music bar and instead flew to Detroit, where he was to step up his efforts to woo organized labor.

Mr. Brown, whose day also included an appearance in Providence, R.I., vowed that if he is elected, he would give Sen. Bob Kerrey of Nebraska a job in his administration. Mr. Kerrey dropped out of the race last week. Mr. Brown also has promised jobs to Jesse Jackson and Ralph Nader.

With yesterday's departure of Sen. Tom Harkin from the Democratic race, Mr. Brown is openly appealing for the Iowan's labor endorsements. Yesterday, he borrowed a familiar Harkin line -- "Don't read my lips, read my record" -- and added a twist: "And read my commitment."

Mr. Brown has complained that he does not get equal news coverage because he will not raise large sums from big contributors and buy big television ad campaigns.

But nine camera crews were on hand yesterday as Brown spoke at the corner of Park and Tremont streets, named Brimstone Corner because gunpowder was stored in the basement of Park Street Church after the Revolutionary War and because of the anti-slavery speeches delivered there before the Civil War.

"After we've won in Maine, after we won in Colorado, after we won in Nevada, they're starting to take notice," Mr. Brown said.

Final results of Maine's March 3 caucuses were completed yesterday, giving Brown a margin of one percentage point over Tsongas.

Democratic officials in Nevada say Mr. Brown's victory there was due in large part to his endorsement by the culinary workers union. He marched in a Las Vegas picket line last week and regularly campaigns with an old ally, Cesar Chavez of the United Farm Workers.

Mr. Brown had a smattering of union support in last night's Boston crowd and at his noon rally in Providence, where a Brown volunteer instructed men in union windbreakers and ties how to hold up for television cameras a banner containing the toll-free number Mr. Brown uses for fund-raising and attracting support.

And Mr. Brown made a specific appeal to labor in Boston. "I'm proud to stand up for the rights of working people and organized labor," he said.

Robert J. Fanning, business manager for Boston's Local 17 of the Sheet Metal Workers International Association, said his union's support for Mr. Brown is enthusiastic. "He did a lot for organized labor," Mr. Fanning said. "Brown created a lot of jobs in California."

Added Bill Kennedy, business manager for the International Longshoremen's Association in Portsmouth, N.H.: "All the unions are for Jerry Brown."

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