House Majority Leader Eric Cantor bowed out of his speech on income inequality today after learning that Occupy Philadelphia protesters planned to storm the University of Pennsylvania campus where he was scheduled to speak.
Cantor’s office cancelled the speech just hours before the Majority Leader was supposed to take the stage at Penn’s Wharton School of Business, citing changes in the attendance policy that would have made the event open to the first 300 members of the public who showed up.
According to the Daily Pennsylvanian, between 500 and 1,000 protesters from Occupy Philadelphia and other activist groups planned to rally outside the event in the hopes of getting national media attention, and campus police were gearing up for crowd control.
You may remember that Cantor has been one of the most outspoken critics of the Occupy Wall Street movement, referring to protesters as a mob and criticising supporters as “condoning pitting Americans against Americans.”
Today’s speech would have reprised some of those comments, so its not surprising that Cantor did not want to face the “mobs” in Philadelphia.
Here’s an excerpt, obtained by the Daily Pennsylvanian:
There are politicians and others who want to demonize people that have earned success in certain sectors of our society. They claim that these people have now made enough, and haven’t paid their fair share. But, pitting Americans against one another tends to deflate the aspirational spirit of our people and fade the American dream. I believe that the most successful among us are positioned to use their talents to help grow our economy and give everyone a hand up the ladder and the dignity of a job. We should encourage them to extend their creativity and generosity to helping build the community infrastructure that provides a hand up and a fair shot to those less fortunate, like that little 9-year-old girl in the inner city.
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