The jeers, boos and insults flew, as caustic as any that angry New Yorkers have hurled inside Madison Square Garden. The objects of derision yesterday, however, were not the hapless New York Knicks, but Senator John McCain, the keynote speaker at the New School graduation, and his host, Bob Kerrey, the university president.
No sooner had Mr. Kerrey welcomed the audience to the university’s 70th commencement than the hoots began to rise through the Theater at Madison Square Garden. Several graduates held up a banner aimed at Mr. McCain, an Arizona Republican and likely 2008 presidential candidate, declaring: “Our commencement is not your platform.” Other students and faculty members waved orange fliers with the same message.
Mr. Kerrey, a former Democratic senator from Nebraska, was unapologetic yesterday about inviting Mr. McCain, his friend and fellow Vietnam War veteran, to speak. He noted early in his welcoming remarks that there had been intense media coverage of Mr. McCain’s graduation speech last week at Liberty University, headed by the Rev. Jerry Falwell, in which Mr. McCain strongly defended the Iraq war.