After celebrities raised $7.5 million with a concert for Democratic candidates John Kerry and John Edwards last night (July 8) in New York...
After celebrities raised $7.5 million with a concert for Democratic candidates John Kerry and John Edwards last night (July 8) in New York, an angry Bush campaign challenged their opponents to release a videotape showing performers calling the president a "liar" and a "cheap thug" during the show.
Actor Chevy Chase drew laughs and cheers from the Radio City Music Hall audience when he described politicians and their hobbies: "Clinton plays the sax, John plays the guitar, and the president's a liar." John Mellencamp sang a song about a "Texas Bandito" that referred to Bush as a "cheap thug."
"If John Kerry is going to praise last night's star-studded hate fest and characterize it as the 'heart and soul' of America, he should share these values with voters everywhere," Bush/Cheney campaign manager Ken Mehlman said in a statement. "We call on Kerry to release the video of this event so that all Americans can see what John Kerry has called America's 'heart and soul.'"
Kerry campaign manager Mary Beth Cahill told reporters in a conference call that Kerry and Edwards did not agree with everything the performers said during the concert. She did not respond directly when asked why the candidates did not repudiate from the stage the harshest language directed at Bush and noted that the Bush/Cheney campaign didn't release recordings of its fund raisers and neither did they.
"The views expressed last night by the performers are their own views," Cahill said. "The performers have a perfect right to say what they said, but it is not what Senator Kerry and Senator Edwards would say, and they do not approve of some of the remarks made."
Jon Bon Jovi opened the event, saying, "The beginning of the future starts right here tonight" before playing the George Harrison-penned Beatles classic "Here Comes the Sun."
Celebrities didn't hold back, bashing Bush at every opportunity. "This guy's as bright as an egg timer," said Chase, who ridiculed the president for his tendency to flub the English language. Actor John Leguizamo, who is Puerto Rican, quipped: "Latins for Republicans. It's like roaches for Raid."
Actor Paul Newman assailed Bush's tax cuts as "borderline criminal," saying, "There is serious and dangerous stuff out there and something's gotta change." Actress Jessica Lange asked the crowd, "Are we going to continue to follow a self-serving regime of deceit, hypocrisy and belligerence?"
Ticket prices for the evening started at $250 for the concert alone to $25,000 for the concert and a reception. The money raised will be divided between Kerry's campaign and the Democratic National Committee. Last month, a similar concert in Los Angeles raised $5 million.
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