Shouting slogans such as “Four more years,” students from Yale and neighboring universities rallied in front of the Payne Whitney Gymnasium Friday in a show of support for the reelection of President George W. Bush ’68.
The rally launched a series of efforts conducted over the weekend by the Yale College Republicans and Yale Students for Bush to get the president re-elected, Yale College Republicans President Al Jiwa ’06 said.
Jiwa said students from other colleges — including Connecticut College, Fairfield University, Sacred Heart University, Quinnipac University and the University of Hartford — were also present at the rally.
“Looks like we have about 30 to 35 ralliers,” Jiwa said, “About half of the crowd are Yalies.”
He said several students planned to board a bus in front of the gym and head to Ohio and Pennsylvania to campaign for Bush’s re-election while others planned to stay in New Haven phone-banking.
Edward Brown of Kent, Conn., attended the rally to sell T-shirts for $5 and $10 to promote Bush’s re-election. Brown said his dislike of Democratic candidate Sen. John Kerry ’66, particularly after reading “Unfit for Command” by John O’Neil, prompted him to be politically active in this election.
“I’ve always been a Republican, but this year has been the first time I’ve been active at all,” he said.
Brown said he and his son found out about the rally from a Web site on upcoming community events posted by the Bush committee in Hartford.
Students at the rally held up signs and a life-size cardboard image of Bush for the passengers in the cars passing on Tower Parkway to see. One sign read “Honk for Bush,” while another stated “Flip-flops belong on your feet and not in the White House.”
Yale Students for Bush chairman Robert Chung ’06 said the Connecticut Bush Campaign and the Republican National Committee helped supply the students at the rally with the necessary promotional materials, including 500 Bush-Cheney plastic placards, voting registration materials and bumper stickers.
“[They] have been very generous by supporting us with all the materials we need,” he said.
Chung said he believes the best strategy for convincing people to vote for Bush is to present them with information about the president’s stands on issues they care about.
“You have to target what they’re most concerned about, then present them with what Bush supports and then give them the pros and cons,” he said.
Chung said he and other members of Yale Students for Bush planned to stay in New Haven for the weekend to help campaign for the local elections.
“We also want to ensure that we keep the House [of Representatives], so the local campaigns are just as important,” Chung said.
A Morse senior at the rally — who said he wished to remain anonymous because he had encountered animosity on campus to students who support Bush’s re-election — said he found out about the rally by accident.
“I live in Morse and there were people making noise. On my way down in the elevator, I said that I was a Bush Democrat — and I got three very angry looks from people,” he said. “It’s important for you to express your opinions, even though it’s intimidating for people to do so.”