Presidential Candidates Cancel Events After Virginia Tech Shootings

Tuesday, April 17th 2007, 3:34 pm
By: News On 6

WASHINGTON (AP) _ Democratic and Republican presidential candidates canceled their campaign events on Tuesday in deference to the tragic shootings at Virginia Tech.

Republican hopeful Rudy Giuliani postponed a speech at religious broadcaster Pat Robertson's Regent University in Virginia Beach, Va. The speech was rescheduled for June 26.

``My thoughts and prayers continue to be with the survivors and the many friends, colleagues and family members of those who perished,'' the former New York city mayor said in a statement.

Democratic candidate Sen. Barack Obama postponed his speech to the Chicago Council on Global Affairs to April 23.

Republican Sen. John McCain canceled plans to speak in South Carolina, shortening a planned two-day visit. He intended to resume campaigning Wednesday in the state.

Republican Mitt Romney canceled all public events on Tuesday and the campaign said it would not release any political communications such as endorsements and news releases.

Many of the candidates issued statements on Monday expressing their shock and grief about the attacks.

Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y., did not have any campaign events but she did address the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism. She received the loudest applause from the group when she criticized President Bush's handling of the Iraq war.

``If this president doesn't end this war and bring home our troops as soon as possible, I know the next president will immediately,'' she said.


NEW YORK (AP) _ Civil rights activist Al Sharpton, whose profile soared in his recent push for dismissal of radio personality Don Imus, is attracting all the major Democratic presidential candidates for his annual convention this week.

John Edwards was scheduled to address the National Action Network convention on Wednesday, the first of the White House hopefuls. The other candidates, as well as Democratic National Committee chairman Howard Dean, will address the group the remainder of the week.

Top candidates Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama are scheduled to appear Friday and Saturday.

The Network is a New York-based political, social and activist organization and Sharpton is its president.

The 2004 Democratic presidential candidate has emerged as an influential player in the party's nominating process. He has openly questioned whether Obama, who hopes to become the first black president, has the necessary credentials for the job. He also made a well-publicized trip to Washington earlier this year to interview Obama and other candidates to gauge their commitment to civil rights issues.

Last week, Sharpton grabbed the spotlight during the controversy surrounding Imus derogatory comments about the Rutgers women's basketball team. Sharpton interview Imus about the matter on his own radio show while leading the campaign to have him taken off the air. Imus was fired Thursday.

Many observers have criticized Sharpton for refusing to apologize for his role in the Tawana Brawley case two decades ago. Sharpton served as a high-profile spokesman for Brawley, a black teenager who claimed she was abducted and raped by six white police officers in 1988. The case, which inflamed racial tensions in New York and nationally, was dropped after a grand jury determined there was no evidence to support Brawley's accusations.

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