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Inside Politics
Inside Politics

Boston mayor flexes his political muscle

Menino stresses importance of nominating convention

By Bill Schneider
CNN Political Unit

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Kerry says he will accept the Democratic presidential nomination at his party's convention.
• The Candidates: Bush | Kerry
Thomas Menino
Boston (Massachusetts)
John F. Kerry

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Boston worked hard to get the Democratic convention. And the nominee -- a senator from Massachusetts -- was threatening to spoil it.

But then came the mayor of Boston with the political Play of the Week.

Word got out last week that John Kerry was thinking about not formally accepting the Democratic presidential nomination at the Boston convention.

The Kerry campaign probably figured nobody would care about this except a few political insiders. After all, it's a legal issue.


It quickly turned into a political issue. One that was embarrassing for Democrats -- and the city of Boston.

"My Republican friends ... are laughing at us because of the indecision we're going through right now," Boston Mayor Thomas Menino told CNN's "Inside Politics."

Menino didn't need this. He's been under fire ever since the city announced that, for security reasons, it will close 40 miles of streets and highways and a major commuter rail station during the convention.

And then he faced a nominee saying he might refuse to accept the nomination in Boston to make a statement about the campaign finance system.

The acceptance speech is the only piece of "news' left at a convention these days. Take that away and what's left to cover?

"My personal belief is that if he announces he's not going to accept the nomination, that there's no good reason for NBC ... to be in Boston covering the convention," NBC anchor Tom Brokaw told CNN's Larry King.

Kerry's campaign finance statement was threatening to step on his message. Kerry's campaign was trying to make a point about the funding advantage enjoyed by the party -- in this case, the GOP -- that holds the later nominating convention.

Menino gently reminded him what was impotant. "You can't make a campaign about money. It's not about money," he said. "It's about issues. It's about what the future is for the American people."

This week, Kerry rethought the matter. "I don't want my election to the presidency to hinge on a rules change," he said, declaring he would indeed accept his party's nomination at the July convention.

Good thinking. Thank you, Boston.

"I felt the journey to the nomination ought to be properly completed in Boston," Kerry added.

And thank you, Mayor Menino, for the political Play of the Week.

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