House Majority Leader Eric Cantor abruptly cancelled a speech scheduled for today about income equality at the Wharton School of Business after Occupy Philadelphia protesters lined up by the hundreds to attend. Given Wharton's pretty direct line to Wall Street, Cantor probably thought his previous criticisms of the Occupy Wall Street protests would be received by a friendly audience. But his office cancelled the speech when he found out that it wasn't closed to the university community, National Journal's Billy House reports. House quotes Cantor's spokesman: "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." Sounds to us like a pretty narrow escape from what was certain to be a tough crowd.
Update 3:29 p.m.: The Daily Pennsylvanian, The University of Pennsylvania's newspaper, has posted the text of Cantor's planned speech. Among the many things he said that probably wouldn't have met with applause from the protesters who were planning to flood the speech:
Instead of talking about a fair share or spending time trying to push those at the top down, elected leaders in Washington should be trying to ensure that everyone has a fair shot and the opportunity to earn success up the ladder ... It cannot simply be about wealth redistribution. You don't just take from the guy at the top to give to the guy at the bottom and expect our problems to be solved.
Update 4:32 p.m.: UPenn's Under the Button blog reports that the protesters are now protesting their cancelled protest by occupying the Wharton campus. They've got photos of a crowd outside some university buildings here.
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