The following article is brought to you by Ben Smith at Politico.Com.
Eric Cantor’s decision to cancel a speech at the University of Pennsylvania today came in the wake of plans for a major protest on the college campus.
The House Majority Leader, who committed to speak at a Wharton Leadership Lecture at Penn several months ago, informed the school this afternoon that he would no longer be coming, Wharton spokeswoman Phyllis Stevenson said.
The speech was slated for 4:30 p.m. this afternoon.
Groups like Occupy Philly, the Center for American Progress and Keystone Progress, in addition to Penn students, planned a protest outside the event with an expected crowd of 500 to 1,000. Campus police had begun taking safety precautions and issuing traffic advisories in advance of the protests.
Cantor spokesman Brad Dayspring said the decision to cancel was made as a result of the increased attendance.
“The Office of the Majority Leader was informed last night by Capitol Police that the University of Pennsylvania was unable to ensure that the attendance policy previously agreed to could be met,” he said. “Wharton is a educational leader in innovation and entrepreneurship, and the Majority Leader appreciated the invitation to speak with the students, faculty, alumni, and other members of the UPENN community.”
Groups slated to attend immediately blasted Cantor for avoiding the public.
“Eric Cantor cancelled today’s speech at the University of Pennsylvania because he’s afraid to face the public – including the hundreds of folks who were going to hold a peaceful march and rally to welcome him to Wharton,” said a release from the Center for American Progress Action Fund.
You can read Cantor’s slated speech here at The Daily Pennsylvanian:
Political Big Business Puppet Eric Cantor’s Drivel Speech, If Anyone Cares?
WHAT A VICTORY FOR THE OCCUPY CAMPAIGN! CONGRATULATIONS! THANK YOU ERIC CANTOR FOR DUCKING AND RUNNING SHOWING YOU ARE A PUPPET OF BIG BUSINESS AND NOT A LEADER OF THE PEOPLE!