Democratic congressional candidate Kathy Boockvar lined up Monday with former and current Philadelphia District Attorneys Ed Rendell and Seth Williams, the two men who prosecuted Mumia Abu Jamal for murdering a police officer. All three decried a GOP ad campaign seeking to tie her to the decades old case.
Williams said the attacks were racial.
Quick background: click here to read the full story about the National Republican Campaign Committee’s attack. It boils down to this: Boockvar’s husband represented a Abu Jamal witness in court in 1996, more than a decade after he was convicted. During that time Boockvar’s husband accused the Philadelphia police of harassing his client because of her involvement in the case. So, aside from guilt-by-association, Boockvar has no connection to Abu Jamal.
Boockvar is running against Rep. Mike Fitzpatrick (R-Bucks), whose campaign did not coordinate with the NRCC. He has, however, declined on multiple occasions to denounce the ad or call for its withdrawal.
PoliticsPA is seeking comment from Fitzpatrick on today’s event, held in Philadelphia. The NRCC has defended the ad, citing this FactCheck.org article which says that while its facts are accurate, the connection it seeks to draw is strained. PoliticsPA is seeking comment about the allegations that their campaign is racial.
As with most Rendell-related events, the presser had more than its fair share of zingers and one-liners. Here are some that stood out:
Rendell: “You don’t think they’re sending it out because they think that fact is going to be impressive to voters. They’re sending it out because the picture, and Kathy Boockvar associated with Mumia is going to scare the heck out of suburban voters.
Williams: “It’s like we’re playing seven degrees of separation from Kevin Bacon. That’s craziness.”
Williams said it’s a play to race: “Definitely that’s what it plays to. It plays against the people’s fears, that somehow what she’s framed with – people in Bucks County are afraid that, that’s why they moved to Bucks County maybe, they’re trying to get away from these types of murders and all it engenders…”
Dave Davies, WHYY Jeff Cole, Fox29: “They’re afraid of black people?”
Williams: “Well, I’m not going to go that far.”
Boockvar: “Let me say, without hesitation, I absolutely denounce Mumia. I denounce the crime that he did, and it seems to me that justice was served, although it seems to have taken too long.”
Boockvar: “This is about the distraction. I was speaking to somebody else very recently who ran for office many years ago and he said, ‘Oh, I was Mumia’ed too in my race.’”
Rendell on Fitzpatrick’s decision not to speak out against the ad: “Look, John McCain would have denounced it,” Rendell said. “He would have denounced this. He would have had the courage to do that. If Mike Fitzpatrick doesn’t have that courage, he shouldn’t get re-elected.”
Boockvar: “And in reference to your seven degrees of separation to Kevin Bacon, I think I am closer in degrees to Kevin Bacon than I am to Mumia.”
For the record: the game is six degrees of Kevin Bacon, not seven. And as near as we can figure it, Boockvar is still closer to Abu Jamal by 1 degree.
Boockvar to Abu Jamal:
1. Kathy Boockvar is married to Jordan Yeager.
2. Jordan Yeager represented Veronica Jones in court in 1996.
3. Veronica Jones testified against Mumia Abu Jamal in 1982 (and later recanted her testimony).
Boockvar to Kevin Bacon:
1. Kathy Boockvar has attended several events with Nancy Pelosi and would probably support her for House Speaker.
2. Nancy Pelosi and Al Gore appeared in Climate Refugees.
3. Al Gore and Tim Robbins appeared in Johnny Cash’s America.
4. Tim Robbins and Kevin Bacon appeared in Mystic River.
UPDATE: Boockvar’s campaign revealed Monday afternoon that David Schwimmer (of Friends fame), is Boockvar’s 3rd cousin (really). This means that Abu Jamal and Bacon are tied in degrees of separation:
1. Kathy Boockvar is 3rd cousins with David Schwimmer.
2. David Schwimmer and Brad Renfro appeared in Apt Pupil.
3. Brad Renfro and Kevin Bacon appeared in Sleepers.