November 19, 2016
Vice President-elect Mike Pence got heartily booed during a production of the hit musical "Hamilton" in New York Friday, and also got an earful from one of the cast members (not before exiting the building, of course).
While the audience's vocal disapproval of Pence made headlines Saturday morning, politicians get jeered for various reasons pretty often. And in Philly, where we are known to sometimes boo our teams when they don't perform up to our expectations, we occasionally give our government leaders a piece of our minds when they come to town.
Here's a few times that's happened:
Obama was receiving all love while rallying Hillary Clinton supporters near the Art Museum earlier this year. The cheers only got louder when he brought up Vice President Joe Biden telling him he needed to get on the "Wentz Wagon," referring to Eagles rookie quarterback Carson Wentz.
But then Obama reminded the crowd that he was a fan of the Chicago Bears, a team the Eagles were playing that coming Monday night:
Barack Obama says he came to Philadelphia to scout Carson Wentz. Joe Biden told him to “get on the Wentz Wagon.” pic.twitter.com/c5YCpy9qVr— Dan McQuade (@dhm) September 13, 2016
The 2016 Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia was a contentious affair, mainly because of irate supporters of Bernie Sanders. Those supporters booed Hillary Clinton, DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz and even Sanders himself when he asked his followers to get behind Clinton.
Running for president in 2012, Republican nominee Mitt Romney went to go visit a charter school in West Philadelphia. It didn't go very well. Per the Washington post:
Seeking to broaden his appeal heading into the general election, Romney was venturing for his first time in this campaign into an impoverished black neighborhood to hear the concerns of local educators and community leaders. But here in the streets of West Philadelphia, the emotion surrounding his contest with the nation’s first black president was raw, as dozens of neighborhood residents shouted, “Get out, Romney, get out!”
Romney arrived at Universal Bluford Charter School aboard his logo-emblazoned campaign bus and began his morning visit by meeting school and civic leaders at a formal roundtable session. “I come to learn, obviously, from people who are having experiences that are unique and instructive,” he said.
Outside, meanwhile, some brick row houses across from the school were boarded up. Police had cordoned off a full city block to protect Romney and his entourage. Residents, some of them organized by Obama’s campaign, stood on their porches and gathered at a sidewalk corner to shout angrily at Romney. Some held signs saying, “We are the 99%.” One man’s placard trumpeted an often-referenced Romney gaffe: “I am not concerned about the very poor.”
Then-Mayor Michael Nutter went on to joke that Romney had “suddenly somehow found West Philadelphia," according to the Post.
Former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, while running for vice president with Republican nominee John McCain in 2008, dropped the first puck at a Flyers game against the Rangers in Philly. Palin, who was famously mocked by Upper Darby native Tina Fey on "Saturday Night Live" that election year, was not well received by the crowd:
Herbert Hoover’s surprise appearance at Game 5 of the Philadelphia Athletics vs. the Cubs in Philadelphia, in October 1929, was one of the last happy moments of his presidency, occurring two weeks before the stock market collapse that ushered in the Great Depression.
Two years later, when the Athletics confronted the Cardinals in Philadelphia, Hoover decided that his presence at the Series “might be a gesture of reassurance” to the shaken, suffering American people. But angry spectators booed the president and shouted at him — knowing that Hoover backed Prohibition, which was still the law of the land — “We want beer!”
Then, running for re-election during the country's worst economic crisis in history, Hoover visited Philly in the fall of 1932. Thanks to local Republican power broker William S. Vare, there were about 30,000 supporters who came out to see him speak, according to The Philly History Blog.
Yet those who didn't like Hoover made themselves heard. Per the blog:
Proof positive that “William S. Vare, the…still powerful leader of the Philadelphia Republican organization, really had determined…to send his machine all the way down for the President.”
“It was Mr. Vare’s show,” wrote The (New York) Times. “His political henchmen were there in person and had enough support to throng Reyburn and City Hall Plazas and nearby streets.” The crowd cheered Vare when he rose to introduce the President. Then “boos” echoed across the plazas as Hoover rose to speak and continued throughout his very brief remarks. (Hoover “took no notice” of the “boos” and the next morning they were explained away as the handiwork of Communists.)
Hoover went on to take Pennsylvania, but only five other states, as New York Governor Franklin Delano Roosevelt crushed him in the general election.