Shrugging off his defeats in Wisconsin and Kansas Tuesday, Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.) today moved his campaign into Pennsylvania with a warning, aimed at big city voters, that the budget cuts made by the Carter administration likely will lead to increased "violence and lawlessness."
Freed from a week in the grip of heightened expectations and creeping "momentum" after victories in New York and Connecticut, Kennedy returned to the role of the candidate who is gracious and determined in the face of defeat.
He waded, relaxed and smiling, into a sea of hardhats and virtually shut down a shipbuilding operation while the workers put down their tools to greet him.
His schedule also included dinner at an Italian restaurant called Palumbo's, where Jimmy Durante appeared regularly for 40 years, and a speech at a town meeting at Martin Luther King High School.
At a hotel news conference, where he picked up the endorsement of the Philadelphia district attorney, Kennedy said, "The budget cuts of the Carter adminstration are going to mean that the rate of crime will most likely increase over the period of this next year.
"People who experience crime . . . happen to be the poor people, happen to be the working people, happen to be the elderly people," he said. "This is again an indication of where the economic crisis that we are facing is being borne."
Philadelphia's district attorney, Edward G. Rendell, in endorsing Kennedy, noted that the Carter budget cuts jeopardize $33 million in revenue sharing for Philadelphia, and he praised Kennedy for his years of work on law enforcement legislation.
Rendell hailed Kennedy as "the number one friend of law enforcement in Washington D.C.," and added that "most people would be surprised to hear about" this side of the liberal senator.
As a member and now chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Kennedy has led a battle to make the U.S. bail and parole systems more "community safety" oriented, to strengthen and standardize the federal sentencing code and to control the sale of handguns.
In less urban areas, such as New Hampshire, Kennedy's stand on gun control has provoked anti-Kennedy venom.
Significantly not present today to endorse Kennedy was Philadelphia Mayor William J. Green, a longtime friend of the senator.
Kennedy said he expects to meet with Green soon, though no meeting is scheduled, and added that he assumed Green "will be making his judgment in his own good time."
Kennedy conceded that he has an uphill battle to make Pennsylvania, with its industrial base and its blocs of Catholics, blacks, and Jews, a rerun of his successful showing in New York.
He plans to campaign hard here for most of the three weeks remaining until the primary, and continue his effort to focus voters' attention on economic issues.
At the Sun Shipyard -- the only yard remaining of those that once lined the Delaware River -- it was not a wildly enthusiastic reception that Kennedy got so much as a "hiya guy," sock-on-the-arm kind of welcome, with probing questions from some of the mostly long-haired workers.
"We need somebody like that who'll take care of us," said worker Marty Six, who said he plans to vote for Kennedy. "Shipbuilding's hurting. We need to get more ships built in the U.S." instead of in foreign countries.
The plant's 4,500 workers are mostly Democrats for whom "Reagan is probably too conservative," said Leo Fine, president of Boiler Makers Union Local 802, which includes most of the shipyard's workers. "The number one issue is whether there's enough dissatisfaction with Carter for people to switch to Kennedy," he said.
Shouts of "Go Ted!" came from Kennedy suporters among the throngs that lined the decks of a towering, nearly finished containership. The men crowded around the candidate, the first ever to visit here, as he walked under jutting prows, under the legs of cranes and construction skletons and through the huge building sheds. They held out their hard-hats for him to autograph. Kennedy was bareheaded. "He has a hard head," joked one of his aides.
Also today, Kennedy picked up the support of Jerry Wurf and his American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employes, a union which is quite active in Pennsylvania.