In his January 4 nationally syndicated column about how Democrats who oppose abortion rights might vote on upcoming stem cell research legislation, Robert D. Novak echoed the oft-repeated myth that "the late [Pennsylvania] Gov. Robert Casey" was "[d]enied the podium at the 1992 Democratic national convention because of his anti-abortion views."
In fact, as Media Matters for America has noted, several Democrats who opposed abortion rights spoke at the 1992 convention and at every subsequent convention. Moreover, in a 1996 article in The New Republic, Michael Crowley wrote that, "[a]ccording to those who actually doled out the 1992 convention speaking slots," Casey was denied a speaking slot at the 1992 convention because he refused to endorse the Clinton-Gore presidential ticket, not because of his stance on abortion, as Media Matters has also noted.
From Crowley's 1996 article in The New Republic:
According to those who actually doled out the 1992 convention speaking slots, Casey was denied a turn for one simple reason: his refusal to endorse the Clinton-Gore ticket. "It's [Casey's claim that he was denied a convention speech because of his pro-life views] just not factual!" stammers James Carville, apoplectic over Casey's claims. "You'd have to be idiotic to give a speaking role to a person who hadn't even endorsed you." "Why are you doing this to me?" moans Paul Begala, who, with Carville, managed two Casey campaigns before joining Clinton's team in 1992. "I love Bob Casey, but my understanding was that the dispute was not about his right-to-life views, it was about the Clinton-Gore ticket."
Furthermore, a slew of pro-life Democrats, including Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley Jr., Senators John Breaux and Howell Heflin, and five governors, did address the delegates in 1992. Though the speakers didn't dwell on abortion, party officials say they weren't barred from mentioning the issue.
From Novak's January 4 nationally syndicated column:
Near the top of the new Democratic congressional majority's agenda is passage of federal embryonic stem cell research legislation vetoed last year by President Bush, a measure that will answer a major question. There is no doubt the new bill will pass both houses of Congress. What remains in doubt are the votes to be cast by newly elected Democrats who campaigned as pro-life advocates, particularly Sen. Bob Casey Jr.
Outside the boundaries of his state of Pennsylvania, Casey is best known as the son of the Democrat most revered in the pro-life movement: the late Gov. Robert Casey. Denied the podium at the 1992 Democratic national convention because of anti-abortion views, the elder Casey planned a serious independent campaign for president before being stopped by poor health. But will the son, less ardent a pro-lifer than the father, vote against the stem cell research bill as he once promised during the campaign? Will seven self-described pro-life Democrats newly elected to the House do the same?