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Impromptu Roast

Media conglomerates and other corporations have helped themselves to get in the good of graces of both Democrats and Republicans by sponsoring hundreds of parties at this summer’s conventions.

For the most part, the events are either raucous blowouts or blandly polite wine-and-cheese affairs. Rarely are they political pep rallies. So officials for Comcast and New England Cable News sponsoring a reception honoring Massachusetts lawmakers must have been a little surprised when Rep. Ed Markey, Sen. Ted Kennedy and the other guests of honor turned a polite event into an opportunity to roast the Bush White House.

Shortly after being introduced by Comcast Executive VP David Cohen, Markey vowed that Democratic candidate John Kerry would issue pink slips to top ranks of the Bush Administration come January. "The first person he will show the door is John Ashcroft!" Markey yelled. "Dick Cheney, you’re fired! Donald Rumsfeld, you’re fired! Paul Wolfowitz, you’re fired! Colin Powell, you’re fired! Condoleeza Rice, you’re fired! And especially, George W. Bush, fired!" About a quarter of the crowed joined Markey in the refrain, "You’re fired!"

But most attendees ignored the polemics and continued yakking and sipping drinks. After Markey closed, Zenith spokesman John Taylor quipped to his companions: "I counted six times he will have to pay royalties to Donald Trump."