Despite the absence of colorful Boston City Councilor Albert L. "Dapper" O'Neil, last night's Eighth Congressional District debate in Arlington had its share of lively moments.
O'Neil has scheduled a press conference for this morning to announce his withdrawal from the race. He has said he plans to run for Suffolk County Sheriff.
Addressing an audience of 300, most of the 10 Democratic candidates for Thomas P. "Tip" O'Neill's seat offered standard political fare. A few, however, competed for the audience's attention with eccentric approaches to the debate.
James Roosevelt, Jr. '68 displayed a written pledge to vote against income tax increases, while a campaign aide distributed copies of the oath to the other candidates. When he asked them to sign it as well, the debate's moderator ordered Roosevelt to remove the pledges or leave the debate. After some hesitation, Roosevelt asked the aide to collect the papers.
Richard Black, area coordinator for ultra-conservative former Presidential candidate Lyndon LaRouche, joined the panelists. He said the United States should invest $40 billion in laser beam technology.
Black also implied that the Merrill Lynch Corporation and the Bank of Boston provided funds to illegal narcotics dealers. A position paper distributed by his supporters claimed AIDS would eliminate the U.S. population in five years. Among other accusations, Lyndon LaRouche--whose statements Black quoted repeatedly--has in the past called former President Richard M. Nixon a Chinese agent.
Following last month's unexpected appearance of two LaRouche candidates on the Illinois Democratic gubernatorial ticket, members of the group have gained publicity in races for state offices across the country.