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WGBH Media Library and Archives

John Kerry and Jim Shannon

John Kerry talks about winning the endorsement of the Black Political Task Force

“John Kerry and Jim Shannon.” , 09/07/1984, WGBH Media Library & Archives, (accessed 23 Sep 2014)


1:00:01: Visual: Jim Shannon (candidate for US Senate) holds a press conference with a number of leaders of Massachusetts' Vietnam Veterans groups. The Veterans leaders announce their endorsement of Shannon in the race for US Senate. Shannon and the Veterans leaders stand at the front of a room. The media is gathered around them. A veterans leader says that John Kerry (candidate for US Senate) has not fully addressed veterans' issues. The veterans leader refers to a prepared report on veterans' issues. He says that Francis Doris (State Senator from Revere) deserves all of the credit for taking action on veterans' issues. Charles Harris (veterans leader) talks about the Federal Job Training Partnership Act. Harris notes that Vietnam Veterans are eligible for job training under that act. Harris says that Kerry had promised to release state funds for the program; that Kerry did not release the funds until Shannon wrote a letter in support of the veterans. Close-up shot of Shannon. The moderator addresses the audience. The moderator tells the media to ask Kerry about the questions raised by the veterans' groups.

1:02:43: V: A reporter asks if one of the leaders will identify himself and talk about his group. One of the leaders says that many of the veterans are here on their own to support Shannon; that they are not present as representatives of any group or organization. Harris explains that the Vietnam Veterans of Massachusetts Incorporated is a non-profit umbrella organization representing grassroots veterans organizations from across the state; that the organization is prohibited from endorsing a political candidate. Shots of campaign buttons reading, "Viet Vets for Shannon." Harris says that Kerry has not delivered on promises of leadership made to veterans and other voters. Harris says that many veterans are ashamed to admit that they served in Vietnam. Reporters urge the leaders to identify themselves and their positions.

1:05:20: V: Charles Bennett interviews Shannon. Bennett notes that many observers view Shannon's press conference as a "stunt." Shannon says that he has developed relationships with all of these veterans' leaders during his service as a member of Congress; that he has won their support with his strong record on veterans' issues. Bennett asks Shannon about Kerry's TV commercial focusing on Vietnam. Shannon says that he does not know how voters or veterans will respond to Kerry's commercial.

1:06:56: V: John Kerry campaigns in an African American neighborhood. Kerry stands on the sidewalk of a busy street. Kerry speaks informally to a small group of people. Supporters stand on the sidewalk, holding Kerry campaign signs. Shot of a Kerry campaign sign. Kerry speaks to an African American man while a reporter waits to set up an interview with him.

1:08:09: V: Bennett sets up an interview with two leaders of the Black Political Task Force. Bennett asks them why they have endorsed Kerry. One man says that the Black Political Task Force researches all potential candidates before making an endorsement; that the Task Force has chosen to endorse Kerry for US Senate. The reporter asks if their endorsement will result in more votes for Kerry. The second man says that many African American voters respect the endorsements of the Task Force; that many voters follow their counsel.

1:09:16: V: Kerry joins the interview. Bennett asks why the endorsement is important. Kerry says that he respects the research performed by the Task Force before making an endorsement; that he supports the African American community's struggle for equality and betterment. Kerry says that he is proud to have the endorsement of the Task Force; that he intends to fight for issues important to the African American community as a US Senator. Kerry says that his first priority as a US Senator would be to consult with the African American community on a list of economic and educational priorities; that he wants to address those priorities as US Senator. Bennett asks Kerry about the Vietnam veterans' endorsement of Shannon. Kerry notes that only "some" veterans have endorsed Shannon. Kerry says that the Vietnam veterans are not a "monolithic" group; that some veterans do not support his position on the issues. Kerry talks about his political record on veterans' issues. Kerry talks about his opposition to the war, his support for V.A. hospitals and his support for an extended G.I. bill and for other veterans' issues. Kerry adds that he has always worked hard on behalf of veterans; that he has a great deal of veteran support. Bennett asks Kerry if some veterans resent his opposition to the war. Kerry says that some veterans may resent his opposition to the war; that he will not change his beliefs. Bennett asks Kerry if he regrets his TV commercial focusing on Vietnam. Kerry says that the TV commercial is one of the most important statements of his campaign; that he is asking Americans to remember the lesson of Vietnam. Kerry says that he does not want the US to get involved in "another Vietnam." Bennett quotes one Vietnam veteran as saying, "When you put down the war, you put down the warriors." Kerry says that people have confused the war with the warriors; that he is proud of the Vietnam soldiers. Kerry notes that soldiers were the victims of the war; that he feels a sense of brotherhood with all of the veterans regardless of whether they support him. Bennett thanks Kerry.