O'Beirne claimed Kerry "very quietly" endorsed minimum wage hike

››› ››› NICOLE CASTA

Though Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) spoke in favor of raising the minimum wage throughout his 2004 presidential campaign and issued a proposal to do so on June 18, 2004, National Review Washington editor Kate O'Beirne asserted on the March 12 edition of CNN's The Capital Gang: "[I]f the Republicans were on such defense on the issue of raising the national minimum wage ... John Kerry would have mentioned it in the course of the campaign. I don't remember John Kerry ever advocating during this campaign an increase in the minimum wage." When Capital Gang panelist Mark Shields corrected O'Beirne, saying, "Senator Kerry did endorse the minimum wage. I heard him do it," O'Beirne remarked, "Very quietly!" Panelist and CNN host Robert Novak added: "Maybe in his pillow."

Here are examples of Kerry's overt and repeated statements of support for raising the minimum wage:

  • The Washington Post reported on June 19, 2004: "Sen. John F. Kerry called yesterday for a 36 percent hike in the federal minimum wage over the next three years, contending that such an increase would help 7 million working people escape poverty." A New York Times report, also from June 19, on Kerry's minimum wage proposal noted that "Mr. Kerry has spoken generally about raising the minimum wage throughout the campaign and supports legislation making it $7 sponsored by his colleague from Massachusetts, Senator Edward M. Kennedy."
  • The "economy" section of JohnKerry.com, the website of the Kerry-Edwards '04 campaign, featured a "detailed plan" to raise the minimum wage.
  • The 2004 Democratic National Platform stated:
    "The dream of the middle class should belong to all Americans willing to work for it. We still have work to do as long as millions of Americans work full-time, fulfill their responsibilities, and continue to live in poverty. We will offer these Americans a ladder to the middle class. That means raising the minimum wage to $7.00, increasing the Earned Income Tax Credit and extending child credits so that parents who work full-time don't have to raise their children in poverty."
  • In an October 22, 2004, speech in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, "Mr. Kerry said he would raise the minimum wage, from $5.15 to $7 an hour, helping nine million women," according to a New York Times report the next day.
  • During the third presidential debate on October 13, 2004, Kerry stated: "It's long overdue time to raise the minimum wage."
  • In his speech at the 2004 Democratic National Convention, vice presidential candidate John Edwards said: "We will do that when John [Kerry] is in the White House. We will raise the minimum wage, finish the job on welfare reform, and bring good paying jobs to the places that need them."
  • In a March 2, 2004, speech, Kerry stated: "[W]e will raise the minimum wage so that no one in America works a 40-hour work week and can't get out of poverty."
  • Even before the February 3, 2004, South Carolina primary, Kerry told the Myrtle Beach (South Carolina) Sun News: "I helped lead the fight to pass the last minimum wage increase in 1997 and I propose increasing the minimum wage and indexing it to inflation so it keeps pace with the cost of living." [1/31/04]

From the March 12 edition of CNN's The Capital Gang:

O'BEIRNE: If this was such a winning issue, if the Republicans were on such defense on the issue of raising the national minimum wage -- because of course, many states have higher minimum wages -- John Kerry would have mentioned it in the course of the campaign. I don't remember John Kerry ever advocating during this campaign an increase in the minimum wage. That doesn't strike me as a winning Democratic issue.

[...]

AL HUNT (panelist): Mark, Kate says the minimum wage doesn't resonate because Senator Kerry didn't talk about it much. The people in Florida had a chance to vote on it, and I think they voted, what, about 4 or 5 to 1 for increasing the minimum wage.

SHIELDS: Both Nevada and Florida had referenda, where they went 70 percent to increase the minimum wage, Al. And Senator Kerry did endorse the minimum wage. I heard him do it --

NOVAK: He talked about it a lot, did he?

SHIELDS: -- during the -- no, I mean, I heard him do it during the campaign.

O'BEIRNE: Very quietly!

SHIELDS: But I'd just -- I'd just point out --

NOVAK: Maybe in his pillow.

Posted In
Economy, Jobs, Wages, & Unemployment
Stories/Interests
2004 Elections
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