McCain heckled at commencement speech
Some at New School booed, turned backs on Arizona senator
From Mary Snow
Some students and faculty booed, and others turned their backs to Sen. John McCain, during his speech.
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NEW YORK (CNN) -- Sen. John McCain was booed and heckled as he delivered the commencement address at The New School on Friday in New York.
The protesting students pointed to the Arizona Republican's speech last week at the conservative Liberty University run by the Rev. Jerry Falwell as proof that McCain clashed with the school's liberal ideals.
"McCain does not speak for me," read orange signs held by dozens in the audience, while dozens more turned their backs for the duration of McCain's speech. (Watch as students turn their backs on McCain -- 2:01)
Some students had petitioned New School President -- and former Democratic senator -- Bob Kerrey to withdraw McCain's invitation to speak, saying they didn't want the Arizonan to use their graduation ceremony as a platform for a potential run for president in 2008.
One student speaker, Jean Sara Rohe, tossed her prepared remarks to inject her own political beliefs.
"I do know that pre-emptive war is dangerous and wrong, and I know that George Bush's agenda in Iraq is not worth the many lives lost," she said to cheers.
For his part, McCain stuck to his script, which was basically the same speech he delivered at Liberty University to a warm reception. In Manhattan, however, he was jeered when he told the 2,700 graduates and others in the audience that he "supported the decision to go to war in Iraq.
"Many Americans did not," he said. "My patriotism and my conscience required me to support it and to engage in the debate over whether and how to fight it."
McCain, who was both cheered and booed at the end of his remarks, did not address the hecklers, but Kerrey did.
"You heard and saw two acts of bravery," the former senator said after the speeches of McCain and Rohe. "There will come a time when you will have to answer the question -- will you stand -- not heckling from an audience where no bravery is required -- but will you stand and say what you believe when you know that heckling and laughter and boos will arise?"
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