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Pa. school nixes Biden rally for Dem candidate

By Maryclaire Dale
Associated Press / October 26, 2010

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PHILADELPHIA—A congressional candidate accused a suburban school district of playing politics by canceling a visit from Democratic Vice President Joe Biden days before the midterm election, a decision a school spokeswoman blamed on logistics.

Biden will campaign Wednesday for Democrat Bryan Lentz at a township recreation center, rather than visit Radnor High School.

"We're sorry that our high school kids won't get to see the vice president," district spokeswoman Lisa Williamson said. "The logistics of the thing ... (were) starting to snowball."

Lentz, a state representative, is in the home stretch of a close race against Republican Pat Meehan, a former U.S. attorney, for an open congressional seat in the Philadelphia suburbs.

His campaign manager said he had a deal to hold the rally at the school, and criticized the Republican-led school board for reversing the decision despite allowing partisan rallies in the past.

"It's absolutely outrageous that the vice president of the United States would be prevented from speaking at a public high school," said Kevin McTigue, Lentz's campaign manager.

Five Republicans and four Democrats serve on Radnor's nine-member board. Seven agreed the rally should not be held during school hours, with students and staff expected to attend, according to board member Pattie Booker.

"Using our kids as a backdrop for a campaign rally (is) totally inappropriate," said Booker, a Republican.

Brucie Rapoport, a Democrat on the board, disagrees, although she concedes the event is clearly partisan.

"Our students should have every living history lesson that we can afford them," Rapoport said.

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