College Republicans Poke Fun at Kerry's 'Flip-Flops'

By Robert B. Bluey | July 7, 2008 | 8:30 PM EDT

Boston ( - Even in a city full of Democrats, a group of College Republicans had no fear taking to the streets Monday in a playful protest of John Kerry's famous "flip-flops" on issues like the war in Iraq to homosexual marriage.

A handful of Republicans stood a few blocks from the FleetCenter, where the Democratic National Convention got underway at 4 p.m. Monday. They encountered some heckling, but many interested passersby stopped to snap pictures of the giant flip-flop sandals they carried.

Republicans have made Kerry's "flip-flops" a central issue of the campaign. The Massachusetts senator supported the war in Iraq, for instance, but later voted against funding it. He also opposes same-sex marriage, but he has reached out to the homosexual community, and he voted against the Federal Marriage Amendment.

"Kerry flip-flops on issues, and young people aren't going to go for that," said Alison Aikele, the College Republican National Committee's communications director. "This is a lot of fun. It's a way for young people to get involved and show what they believe in."

Those who did heckle the band of young Republicans got smiles in return. The Republicans started their day early, walking around neighborhoods of the city before ending up outside the FleetCenter. Overall, they said most people welcomed their viewpoints.

The protest was organized in part by Max Buccini, chairman of the Boston College chapter and treasurer of the Massachusetts Alliance of College Republicans. Buccini said he wanted Bostonians to know that not everyone in this city supports the Democrat ticket.

"It's going to be a tough sell for them to say that Kerry and Edwards are supporting the same values as the American people," Buccini said.

But it's Kerry's stance on the issues -- or lack thereof -- that bothers Buccini most. He said voters are left with no real understanding of what Kerry believes.

"There's a myriad of issues that John Kerry has flip-flopped on; especially on free trade and gay marriages he's waffled and shifted. He says they're nuanced positions, but I really think it's political expediency," Buccini said. "He'll basically do anything to further his political ambition."

But protesting Kerry isn't all that the College Republican National Committee has planned. The group will launch a field program on college campuses in 40 states on Aug. 24. More than 60 field representatives will be dispatched to add to the group's 120,000-student membership.

"Our goal is to identify every single Republican student and student who supports our president," said Oliver Wolf, a student at Bates College and vice chairman of the Maine College Republicans. "We need to get them to provide the voice and volunteers for the campaign."

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