Cheney’s Address at Missouri College Upsets Its President

From a Times Staff Writer

Vice President Dick Cheney’s remarks Monday afternoon at Westminster College in Fulton, Mo., drew sharp criticism from an unexpected source: Westminster College President Fletcher M. Lamkin.

Lamkin was so unhappy with Cheney’s partisan address, which included swipes at Democratic candidate John F. Kerry, that he sent a campuswide letter expressing his displeasure.

For the record:

12:00 AM, Apr. 30, 2004 For The Record
Los Angeles Times Friday April 30, 2004 Home Edition Main News Part A Page 2 National Desk 1 inches; 54 words Type of Material: Correction
Winston Churchill’s title -- An article and a sidebar about the presidential campaign in Tuesday’s Section A identified Winston Churchill as Britain’s prime minister when he spoke at Westminster College in Fulton, Mo., in 1946 and coined the phrase “Iron Curtain.” At the time, he was the Conservative opposition leader in the British Parliament.

Fletcher wrote that he was “surprised and disappointed that Mr. Cheney chose to step off the high ground and resort to Kerry-bashing for a large portion of his speech.”

The school’s president had anticipated a foreign policy talk on the situation in Iraq. Given the political content of Cheney’s speech, Fletcher said in his letter that he had invited Kerry, a senator from Massachusetts, to speak on campus “in the interest of balance and fairness and integrity.” Fletcher could not be reached for further comment.


“The vice president today put the war on terror in its historical context and addressed the very different views held by President Bush and his opponent, John Kerry, for fighting and winning the war on terror,” said Bush-Cheney campaign communications director Nicolle Devenish in response to Fletcher’s letter.

“A robust debate about how best to protect our country from the threat of global terror is central to this election.”

Westminster has a long tradition of political orators. British Prime Minister Winston Churchill delivered his famous “Iron Curtain” speech there in 1946, in which he coined the phrase describing Cold War tensions between East and West.


-- Times staff writer Susannah Rosenblatt