Sep. 2003 - 8 Dec. 2003

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Sizing up the Wesley Clark effect
KNIGHT OR BLIGHT?
Clark to announce his bid for president
Clark Tied for 2nd in New Hampshire
WES CLARK'S TEN PLEDGES
Front-runner Dean gets major boost with surprise Gore endorsement
More on Wesley Clark's Program:
Turnaround Plan
Families First: Tax Reform Plan
and other

Wesley Clark's official sites:
http://clark04.com
http://americansforclark.com
http://draftwesleyclark.com

MSNBC News

Sizing up the Wesley Clark effect
Is the general’s entry into the race uniformly bad news for his rivals?

By Tom Curry
MSNBC


Wesley K. Clark

Gen. Wesley K. Clark (ret.)

Sept. 16 —  With the cool audacity of a commander who isn’t intimidated by catastrophes that might unfold on the battlefield, retired Gen. Wesley Clark is poised to announce Wednesday that he’ll enter the race for the Democratic nomination. Despite his late leap into a crowded field, Clark should prove a formidable candidate who will have a serious impact on the race, even if he doesn’t win.

       HIS TIMING is a case in point. Clark had the self-confidence to wait to jump in the race, past the point at which the patience of some political pundits had been exhausted.
       “You’re telling me it’s so late?” said one Democratic consultant Tuesday. “Look, if the other Democratic contenders were good, it would be too late. But they invited the Clark candidacy,” he said, by running mediocre campaigns so far.

MSNBC.com's Politics section

       Clark’s delayed entry may prove to have been a shrewd move. The retired general waited long enough that that the attacks on Democratic frontrunner Howard Dean could intensify and Dean himself could stumble his way into some unforced errors, such as his making conflicting statements on whether U.S. troops can be pulled out of Iraq (“ours need to come home” or whether, as he said four days later, “ We have to stay there for the duration….. We need to reduce our troop strength in Iraq, we cannot do that until we get foreign replacements.”
       Dean has a devoted group of followers and, as the third-quarter finance reports will likely indicate at the end of this month, has raised the most money of any Democratic contender.

Fineman: The un-Dean

       But he has had to spend more and more time in recent days on the defensive, clarifying his views and fending off attacks from his rivals. 
       And Dean has appeared starchy and argumentative in some recent appearances. On ABC’s “This Week” with George Stephanopoulos on Sunday, Dean scolded the former White House staffer-turned-newsman who confronted him with evidence of his support for the North American Free Trade Agreement in 1993.
       Clark brings to the race his crisp, no-nonsense television skills honed in many appearances on CNN as a military commentator. His rhetorical style is not trapped in the baroque stylistic excesses of the United States Senate, where several of his competitors hail from.
       Although the full range of his military record has not yet been subjected to detailed scrutiny by the national news media, Clark spent his life in a profession that many Americans admire, especially just two years after the United States was attacked.         Any soldier who can rise to become a four-star general has already proven that he’s an adept politician, even if he has never been elected mayor or county supervisor.
       Clark’s military persona has the potential to help the Democratic Party overcome its chronic deficiency on national defense issues among male voters and married mothers with children. Democratic Leadership Council pollster Mark Penn, reporting in July on a survey of 1,225 likely 2004 voters, said that among married voters with children, Democrats are 41 percentage points behind Republicans when voters are asked, “Who does a better job on this issue?”        One immediate effect of Clark’s entry is that his military credentials will outshine those of Kerry, the Democratic contender who had staked his candidacy on being the only decorated Vietnam veteran in the race.
       A few weeks ago, the Draft Wesley Clark movement asked pollster John Zogby to test Clark’s appeal. Zogby used a “blind biography” method in which a thumbnail of Clark’s career — without his name attached — was read to poll respondents who were then asked whether they’d vote for the unnamed military man or for President Bush.
       The general beat Bush in a trial heat, 49 percent to 40 percent.
       Democratic Party leaders were cautiously respectful in their reaction to the imminent Clark entry into the race. Mark Brewer, executive chairman of the Michigan Democratic Party, said Tuesday, Clark “is a fine candidate who is well-qualified and a good addition to the field.” And Brewer noted that the Democratic race is “very fluid, wide open. A lot of the support (for the declared candidates) is pretty soft.”
      
A GOP SKEPTIC
       But Republican pollster Whit Ayres sounded a note of skepticism. “He is way, way behind in money and in organization.”
       While acknowledging that some Democrats are discontented with the current crop of contenders, Ayres said a late entry by a celebrity candidate only has the chance to work if the candidate is famous. “It can work for someone who is already a national figure such as Hillary Clinton or Al Gore. But nobody outside of political junkies has ever heard of Wesley Clark.”
       Ayres contended that it was “completely irrelevant” how Clark or a blind biography of Clark performed in trial-heat runs against Bush
       “The only relevant question is how well he will perform in the Democratic caucuses in Iowa, the Democratic primary in New Hampshire and the Democratic primary in South Carolina.” Ayres predicted that in six weeks, in polls in Iowa, Clark would be in single digits.
       He said Clark’s dilemma was ideological as well: “If he is a liberal, there’s no more room left in the race for a liberal. If he’s a moderate, there are not enough moderate voters in the Democratic primaries for him to finish first.”
      
EARLY STATES
       The other nine Democratic contenders have been raising funds and placing operatives in the key early states of Iowa and New Hampshire for more than nine months.
       For instance, Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry had a war chest of $11 million as of late June. One Democratic consultant said Clark must raise $4 million in the next month to establish his credibility as a candidate. That’s no easy task; Clark would have to receive maximum $2,000 contributions from 2,000 donors.
       If, however, Clark were to pull off an improbable series of victories in some early primaries, Republicans could face the need to run against a most unusual Democrat, the kind of Democrat that no GOP consultant has experience running against, a four-star general, instead of running against a former governor of one of the nation’s most socially liberal states.

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New York Post

KNIGHT OR BLIGHT?

by Eric Fettman

Великобритания Инфо: Информация и помощь по трудоустройству,
получение визы, юридические услуги, иммиграция, обучение, работа

September 17, 2003 CAN a former general who's largely unknown to the public and has no political experience (as candidate or office-holder) sweep his way into the White House? Wesley Clark thinks so: Today, he'll formally enter the already crowded Democratic presidential field.

That someone like Clark can generate so much attention and speculation from the pundits is less a testament to the former NATO commander's political skills than a case of the never-ending campaign meeting the 24-hour news cycle.

Something's got to fill the time on all those news channels - and Wesley Clark has become the new flavor of the month, now that the novelty of upstart front-runner Howard Dean is starting to wear thin.

Sure, to some Clark is the answer to the Democrats' dreams - a candidate who will be carried ahead by a wave of popular sentiment to sweep George W. Bush back to Texas. But we've heard this one before: Remember all those stories about how first John Edwards and then John Kerry had the nomination sewn up the moment they entered the race?

Actually, Clark's primary political function is to serve as the Democrats' beard on national security (the party's Achilles heel since George McGovern), a candidate-in-shining-armor who can be credibly anti-war thanks to his military career.

Indeed, Clark won conservatives' praise back in 1999 when the Clinton Pentagon cut short his tenure at NATO after he'd publicly questioned the political strategy of the Kosovo war, including the administration's refusal to commit to ground troops.

A Post editorial said: "Wesley Clark's problem is that he did his job too well, felt his responsibility too deeply . . . Clark committed the crime of honesty, and honesty just can't be tolerated in Clinton-land." (Ironically, the ex-president has emerged as a Clark strategist.)

Of course, there were some unsettling signs. For example, Clark reportedly ordered an airborne assault to seize the Kosovo airport in order to block Russian troops. (His British deputy, Gen. Mike Jackson, refused, saying: "I'm not going to start World War III for you.")

Some in Congress also complained of his bellicosity and penchant for abrasive, self-righteous pronouncements. And at times, his behavior has been downright bizarre - as when, last June, he charged that "I got a call at my home" prior to a CNN appearance demanding that he link the 9/11 attacks to Iraq.

Since then, his story has changed - often. The mysterious call came "from the White House." Or from "people around the White House." Or from "all over" or "a fellow in Canada who is part of a Middle Eastern think tank" or someone "connected to Israeli intelligence" or "a man who's the brother of a very close friend of mine in Belgium."

With such Oliver Stone-like charges, it's little surprise that those enthusiastic for his candidacy are people like filmmaker Michael Moore, legislators like Rep. Charles Rangel and publications like The Nation.

Whether the rest of the party will come on board is another story. For one thing, despite insisting "I'm a centrist on most issues," the few positions he's taken on nonmilitary issues are as far left as the most rabidly partisan Democrat could hope for.

And he's moved beyond simply stating that President Bush's war and postwar plans were flawed. Clark now insists, "We went into Iraq under false pretenses," comparing it to "deceptive advertising."

That may be the biggest risk for Democrats. A Clark candidacy would mean a campaign based solely on the war at a time when many in the party believe Bush's biggest weakness is the economy - an area in which, like every other domestic issue, Clark has no track record.

Worse, it may mean challenging the very basis of the Iraq campaign - a military action that, polls show, Americans have consistently and overwhelmingly supported, even if they may have growing doubts about how the peace is being won.

In which case, Wesley Clark may end up copying the career not of Dwight Eisenhower, but of another Little Rock native with a glowing military record: Douglas MacArthur, whose dreams of a political movement that would carry him into the White House vanished in public disinterest and disdain.

The Washington Times
 

Clark to announce his bid for president

By Donald Lambro
THE WASHINGTON TIMES


Wesley K. Clark

Gen. Wesley K. Clark (ret.)

    Retired Gen. Wesley Clark, at the strong urging of former President Bill Clinton, will announce today that he has decided to seek the Democratic presidential nomination.
    The former NATO commander, who graduated first in his class at West Point and became a Rhodes scholar, is a Vietnam War combat veteran and rose through the ranks to lead U.S. forces in the 1999 war in Kosovo, will make the announcement in his hometown of Little Rock, Ark. He is expected to use the backdrop of MacArthur Park, site of the old U.S. Army Arsenal, where Gen. Douglas MacArthur, a hero of World War II, was born in 1880.
    Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York is expected to serve as his campaign co-chairman, Fox News reports. There has been published speculation that if Mrs. Clinton decides later this year to enter the race herself she would choose Mr. Clark as her running mate. She has said emphatically that she will not run in 2004.
    Mr. Clark, who was born in Illinois but grew up in Little Rock, has assembled a growing circle of aides drawn from both the Clinton and Gore campaigns to brief him on issues and set up a campaign organization to replace a draft-Clark group that has been working in his behalf for months.
    That circle includes former Clinton campaign strategist Mark Fabiani, who was Mr. Gore's communications director in his 2000 presidential bid; Ron Klain, Mr. Gore's chief of staff; Washington lawyer Bill Oldaker; Skip Rutherford, a Clinton fund-raiser in Little Rock who has helped raise donations for the Clinton presidential library; Bruce Lindsey, a top Clinton White House aide; George Bruno, a New Hampshire party activist; Vanessa Weaver, a Clinton appointee; and Peter Knight, a Washington lobbyist and Clinton/Gore campaign fund-raiser.
    Mr. Clark, who helped negotiate the Bosnia peace process in 1995, had several meetings with Mr. Clinton about his campaign. The former president has been unusually generous in his praise for Mr. Clark. "He has always exceeded in every endeavor," Mr. Clinton said earlier this summer. "He understands America's security challenges and domestic priorities. I believe he would make a good president."
    Mr. Clark, who has been a CNN analyst, has leveled sharp criticism on Mr. Bush's war policies in Iraq, calling the U.S. military offensive to topple Saddam Hussein a "voluntary, elective, discretionary war."
    "He is putting together a stellar campaign team that knows the political landscape," Democratic strategist Donna Brazile, who managed Vice President Al Gore's 2000 presidential campaign, said last night. "You have other members of Congress who are ready to get on board. It's more than just the Arkansas delegation."
    Although Mr. Clark is a political novice, not well-known in the party at large, and a late entry in the crowded field of nine who have been campaigning for months, some party strategists say he could be the fresh face that Democrats are seeking in a contest that has yet to produce a strong, national front-runner to challenge President Bush in 2004.
    Polls show that two-thirds of Democratic voters cannot name any of their party's candidates and one-third say they want other choices.
    "He is a fresh face and there are many Democratic activists who like what they see in Gen. Clark. He has political juice," Miss Brazile said.
    Other Democratic strategists say that Mr. Clark's opposition to the war in Iraq, together with his four-star military credentials in a party that polls show rates low with voters on issues of national security and fighting terrorism, could draw support away from several top Democratic contenders, including former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean, Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts and Rep. Richard A. Gephardt of Missouri.
    Mr. Dean has surged into the lead in Iowa and New Hampshire as a result of a wave of antiwar anger in the party's liberal base. Some polls show that Mr. Clark could undermine some of Mr. Dean's support and Mr. Kerry's, as well.
    The news of Mr. Clark's long-awaited decision overshadowed the formal announcement yesterday by Sen. John Edwards of North Carolina, whose presidential candidacy had yet to get off the ground. Mr. Edwards remains stuck in the low single digits in most national polls, though he has a slight lead in the South Carolina primary.
    Mr. Clark has four months to raise his profile before the party caucuses and primaries begin in January, and his war chest of no more than $1 million in campaign pledges is far less than the $20 million or more that some of his rivals expect to raise this year.
    "It's not too late to get into the race if I decide to run," he said, still striking a coy note. "We'll make an announcement in Little Rock tomorrow. We're tremendously excited."
    Mr. Clinton did not begin his race for the 1992 presidential nomination until Oct. 1, 1991, although he had been campaigning around the country for two years as chairman of the Democratic Leadership Council.
    Mr. Clark told the Associated Press that he still has "a lot of learning to do," especially on domestic issues where his views are all but unknown. "I'll do my best, but there will be a lot of things that I don't know right away. I want to learn. I've got a whole period of time. I want to talk to people about the issues."

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Press release #107 http://clark04.com/press/release/107/

Press Room

For Immediate Release
Date: December 4, 2003

Clark Tied for 2nd in New Hampshire


See all Clark's press releases on http://clark04.com/press/

As the campaign's days grow longer, Clark grows stronger.

Two polls released on Thursday show General Wesley Clark is in a statistical dead heat for 2nd place in the New Hampshire Democratic Primary.

According to an American Research Group poll, Clark is now polling at 11 percent, up from 7 percent last month. John Kerry is polling at 13 percent, down from 17 percent last month. The margin of error for the poll is +/- 4 percentage points.

In the Zogby Poll, Clark is polling at 9 percent, up from 6 percent in October. John Kerry is polling at 12 percent, down from 17 percent in October. The margin of error for the poll is +/- 4.5 percent.

Read the full polls

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10 Pledges

http://clark04.com/issues/10pledges/


10 Pledges

Dec. 5, 2003

Thursday, at Daniel Webster College in New Hampshire, Wes Clark set forth his guidelines for the use of force in a Clark administration.

Clark pledged, "I will bring our soldiers home with success in Iraq assured and America standing strong."

Clark's success strategy in Iraq calls for ending the American monopoly on the occupation, changing the force mix so our troops can succeed and giving the Iraqis a rising stake in our success.

He also pledged:

Never to ask our troops to risk the ultimate sacrifice or ask their families to pay the ultimate price of patriotism except as an absolute last resort.

Never to send American soldiers into combat without a realistic strategy to win, and without the forces necessary for victory.

The statements and actions of a Clark administration will restore America's moral authority as a leader.

Never to challenge the patriotism of Americans who oppose my policies or aggressively express their disapproval.

America will always have the strongest, best-trained, best-equipped military in the world.

America's military will complement, not replace, diplomacy, law, and enlightened leadership in the conduct of our international affairs.

To use his experience and determination to fight the terrorists who have attacked our country, to defeat them and to prevent them from rising again.

To make America more secure than it is today.

"In less than a year, one Democrat will be facing George Bush for the presidency, and the paramount issue will be security," Clark concluded. "To win in 2004 we need a candidate with the standing and the experience to take the argument right to George W. Bush."

WES CLARK'S TEN PLEDGES

  1. I pledge to all Americans that I will bring our soldiers home, with success in Iraq assured and America standing strong.

    My strategy in Iraq will be guided by the following principles:

    End the American monopoly. From the beginning, the Bush Administration has insisted on exclusive control of the Iraqi reconstruction and occupation. This has cost us the financial and military support of other nations and made America a bigger target for terrorists. Ending the American monopoly will change the way this enterprise is viewed -- in Iraq and throughout the world.

    Change the force mix. The Bush Administration has failed to formulate an effective tactical plan. No such plan will be viable without substantial contributions from military leaders on the ground. Still, I would approach the problem as follows: consider adding troops; adapt to guerrilla war; better use intelligence resources, train Iraqi security forces, free up U.S. troops; engage neighbours for better border security; and secure ammunition.

    Give the Iraqis a rising stake in our success. Iraqis will be more likely to meet the security challenge if we give them a greater stake in our success. That means establishing a sovereign government in Iraq right away. Because Americans chose the current governing council, many Iraqis see it as illegitimate. I believe we cannot transfer full authority to Iraqis before they have the capacity to succeed, but we should help the Iraqis quickly establish their own government to replace the existing council.

  2. I will never ask our troops to risk the ultimate sacrifice or ask their families to pay the ultimate price of patriotism except as an absolute last resort.

    As President, I will rebuild our relationships abroad and the alliances which maintain them. And I will strengthen them, so that we can solve problems together, so that the use of military force is our last resort not our first, and if America must act with force we can call on the military, financial, and moral resources of others.

    Restoring our alliance with Europe is the first essential part of my broader strategy for American national security. President Bush has created a go-it-alone approach and declared the use of preemptive military force as the defining characteristic of his national security strategy. A Clark Administration would place our work with Europe and a reinvigorated NATO as a centerpiece of U.S. policy -- and then seek not to rely on preemptive force, but instead to use diplomatic, political, economic power and international law in support of preventive engagement. We would reserve the use of force for an absolutely last resort and then act together if possible and alone only if we must.

  3. I will never send American soldiers into combat without a realistic plan to win and the forces necessary for victory.

    The Administration failed to plan realistically for post-war Iraq. Instead of listening to the experts at the State Department and throughout the government, who predicted the danger of chaos and looting, the Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and his aides ignored their advice. Instead they relied on hope, hope that the Iraqi exiles would be accepted as legitimate, hope that the Iraqi police and military would provide security, hope that Iraqi oil revenues would finance reconstruction, and hope that we would be treated as liberators. How wrong they were -- you can't build a plan on hope.

    Meanwhile, the President rejected the advice of the uniformed military that we deploy enough troops not only to defeat Saddam's military but also to secure Iraq after Saddam's defeat.

    As a result, we saw chaos, we lost the trust of the Iraqi people -- and the enemy was emboldened.

  4. The statements and actions of a Clark Administration will restore America's moral authority.

    The Bush Administration has squandered in two years the moral authority America spent generations building. It started when President Bush said to the world, "you're either with us or against us." As a result, even some of those who were with us are now against us. And those, like Tony Blair, who are still with us pay a political price for it. America is hurt as well. We are less secure when our friends suffer for standing by our side. With fewer partners, we are left to meet dangers alone.

    Even in Eastern Europe, there is dismay. These were some of the first countries in the world to support the Bush administration in Iraq. And what does this Administration do to its friends? In July, it suspends all U.S. military assistance to Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Slovakia, and Bulgaria because they have not yet promised Americans blanket immunity from the International Criminal Court.

    One after another, American presidents have laid a foundation of moral authority for the United States. That foundation was built through our leadership in containing Communism, in promoting human rights, in helping the poor and the sick, and in promoting international law. That foundation has been splintered in a few short years.

    Also, a key part of my strategy of preventive engagement is to lead the global fight against rising tide of AIDS. Although AIDS is a preventable and treatable disease, in 2003, 5 million people worldwide were newly infected with HIV and a record 3 million people died of AIDS -- more than all the deaths from wars and terrorism in the world combined.

    I have a four-part Global AIDS Security Strategy:

    • Keep the U.S. commitment to combat AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria worldwide - doubling funding to $30 billion by 2008.

    • Dedicate a large majority of U.S. funding to multilateral approaches like the Global Fund to Fight AIDS Tuberculosis and Malaria, while demanding results and additional commitments from our allies.

    • Base prevention and research efforts on the best available science, including overturning the global gag rule.

    My Global AIDS Security Strategy will:

    • Prevent 14 million new HIV infections

    • Provide care and support for 20 million HIV-infected individuals and AIDS orphans

    • Provide treatment for 5 million people living with HIV/AIDS, including supporting the WHO goal of putting 3 million people on treatment by 2005

    • Accelerate the development of vaccines and cost-effective treatments to stop HIV, TB, malaria, and other infectious diseases

  5. The guiding principle of our foreign policy will be to lead, not to bully.

    This Administration has been all bully and no pulpit.

    Simply put, this Administration is wrecking NATO -- and thereby doing incalculable damage to our security and well being. They have alienated our friends, dismissed their concerns, rejected their advice, and left America an isolated nation. I served in NATO twice, last as Supreme Allied Commander, Europe. I know its value, see its promise, and if elected, I won't let it be destroyed.

    General Eisenhower once said leadership is "persuading the other fellow to want to do what you want him to do." When America led the world for the last half century, others followed -- not because we compelled them, but because we convinced them. America needs a President who can lead.

    As President, that's what I will do. I will rebuild our relationships abroad and the alliances which maintain them. And I will strengthen them, so that we can solve problems together, so that the use of military force is our last resort not our first, and if America must act with force we can call on the military, financial, and moral resources of others.

  6. I will never challenge the patriotism of Americans who question my policies or express their disagreement.

    In a recent ad, the Republican National Committee claimed: "Some are now attacking the President for attacking the terrorists."

    The Republicans have tried to monopolize patriotism; I will not permit the Republican Party to steal patriotism.

    I am not critical of President Bush because he is attacking terrorists; I'm critical of the President because he is NOT attacking terrorists.

  7. In a Clark Administration, America will always have the strongest, best-trained, best-equipped military in the world.

    During my 34 years of service in the United States Army, I held numerous staff and command positions - including Commander in Chief of the United States Southern Command and Director for Strategic Plans and Policy for the Joint Chiefs of Staff - rising to the rank of four-star general and NATO Supreme Allied Commander.

    As SACEUR, I led Operation Allied Force, NATO's first major combat action, which saved 1.5 million Albanians from ethnic cleansing in Kosovo and did not result in the loss of a single American soldier.

    I know the utility of a well-prepared U.S. military, and I know what it takes to make sure that the U.S. has the best military in the world.

    As Commander in Chief of the United States, I will carefully examine our defense budget to ensure that we are providing our military the money and support it needs to adapt to the new challenges America faces and to have the strongest, best-trained, best-equipped military in the world.

  8. America's military will be a complement, not substitute, for diplomacy, law, and leadership in the conduct of our international affairs.

    We must reorganize our government so that we can bring to bear the economic, diplomatic and political tools in our arsenal. When we use the power of international law and diplomacy, we can achieve decisive results, even without decisive force.

    A Clark Administration would place our work with Europe and a reinvigorated NATO as a centerpiece of U.S. policy -- and then seek not to rely on preemptive force, but instead to use diplomatic, political, economic power and international law in support of preventive engagement. We would reserve the use of force for an absolutely last resort and then act together if possible and alone only if we must.

    The United States needs a cabinet-level or subcabinet-level agency that is charged with developing plans, programs, and personnel structures to assist in the areas of political and economic development abroad. Call it the Department of International Development. Focusing our humanitarian and developmental efforts through a single, responsible department will help us bring the same kind of sustained attention to alleviating deprivation, misery, ethnic conflict, and poverty that we have brought to the problem of warfare. These efforts will reduce the anger and alienation that gives rise to terrorism, and win us more friends and partners around the world. It will be far easier to gain international support for our concerns when other countries see us helping them on theirs.

  9. I pledge to use all of my experience and determination to fight the terrorists who have attacked our country, to defeat them and to work to prevent them from rising again.

    I will go after terrorists wherever they are - in Afghanistan or any other country. As a result of the Bush Administration's inadequate and misguided efforts, Osama bin Laden and many of the leaders of al Qaeda are still at large and continue to pose a great threat to the United States, our friends and allies, and various other states. I propose the following three-pronged strategy to refocus our energies on hunting down bin Laden and destroying the al Qaeda network.

    Press Saudi Arabia to join U.S. forces in creating a U.S.-Saudi commando force to work the Afghan-Pakistani border where bin Laden is thought to be hiding. It's time for Saudi Arabia to take real action to destroy al Qaeda from the top down. It's not enough for them to pursue terrorism within their own borders. They need to join us in the battle worldwide.

    Fully utilize the assets we already have on hand to hunt down bin Laden and destroy the al Qaeda network. Too many of our intelligence specialists, linguists, and special operations personnel are investing too much time and energy in Iraq in a fruitless search for weapons of mass destruction -- a task that could better be handled by international weapons inspectors. These inspectors are ready, willing, and able to perform this mission. This is a clear case where getting help from the international community to share the burden in Iraq will free up crucial resources to allow us to better fight the most significant threat to our homeland.

    Repair our relationships with our allies and friends, and rely on international and regional institutions, like the United Nations and NATO. These institutions can provide vital support to American diplomacy, bringing in others to share the burdens and risks that we would otherwise carry alone.

  10. And finally, by these pledges and with your support, as President I will make America more secure than it is today.

    As President, I will ensure that we succeed in Iraq, that we focus our intelligence, diplomatic, financial, law enforcement and military resources on defeating al Qaeda, that we restore respect and support for America, and that we re-orient our foreign policy to meet the challenges of terrorism, weapons of mass destruction, international crime, and environment threats. Taken together, all of these steps will make America more secure.

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boston.com/news

Front-runner Dean gets major boost with surprise Gore endorsement

By Ron Fournier, Associated Press, 12/9/2003

NEW YORK -- Former Vice President Al Gore endorsed Howard Dean for the Democratic presidential nomination Tuesday, adding momentum and political prestige to Dean's front-running campaign.

Gore said Dean "really is the only candidate who has been able to inspire at the grassroots level all over the country." He said the former Vermont governor also was the only Democratic candidate who made the correct judgment about the Iraq war.

"Our country has been weakened in its ability to fight the war against terror because of the catastrophic mistake the Bush administration made in taking us to war in Iraq," Gore said.

Dean said it was an honor and a privilege to receive Gore's endorsement.

Five weeks before Iowa's kickoff caucuses, Gore and Dean appeared in Harlem before flying to Cedar Rapids, Iowa, where Dean is locked in a tight race with Rep. Richard Gephardt in the Jan. 19 Democratic caucuses.

Dean will then fly to New Hampshire in time for the final Democratic debate of the year.

Dean told a crowd of several hundred supporters gathered Monday night at New York's Roseland Ballroom that he could "neither confirm nor deny" reports of Gore's endorsement.

Gore won the popular vote by half a million votes in 2000 but conceded to Republican George W. Bush after a tumultuous 36-day recount in Florida and a 5-4 Supreme Court vote against him. The election still rankles Democratic activists, many of whom are still loyal to Gore.

The approval of Bill Clinton's No. 2 bolsters Dean's case that he can carry the party's mantle next November and represents more than an Internet-driven outsider relying on the support of largely white, upscale voters.

Dean hopes the coveted endorsement also eases concerns among party leaders about his lack of foreign policy experience, testy temperament, policy flip-flops, campaign miscues and edgy anti-war, anti-establishment message.

"What this says is that all these Washington insiders who have been gnashing their teeth, wringing their hands and clinging to their cocktail cups can relax now. Dean's been knighted by the ultimate insider," said Democratic consultant Dean Strother of Washington. "It's game, set and match. It's over."

Other Democrats offered more cautious appraisals, but the overwhelming consensus was that Dean's coup makes him the overwhelming favorite to claim the nomination. Even advisers to Dean's rivals conceded they were stunned and disheartened by the news.

"I was caught completely off-guard," Sen. Joe Liberman, Gore's running mate in 2000 and a hopeful for the nomination, said Tuesday on NBC's "Today" show. That many of Gore's positions are opposite to those of Dean made the decision a surprise to him, Lieberman said.

"Al Gore has endorsed someone here who has taken positions diametrically opposite" of the former vice president, Lieberman said. "What really bothers me is that Al is supporting a candidate who is so fundamentally opposed to the basic transformation that Bill Clinton brought to this party in 1992," moving it to a more middle-of-the-road stance on economic policy and other areas, he said.

Asked on "Today" whether he felt betrayed by the former vice president, Lieberman said, "I'm not going to talk about Al Gore's sense of loyalty this morning."

"This sends a clear signal that Dean is bringing together two major forces -- Democratic insiders and outsiders. Gore is the ultimate insider," said Democratic strategist Steve Jarding of Virginia, adding that Dean can still be beaten "but it just got a ton harder."

Jenny Backus, a Democratic strategist from Washington, said Gore will help Dean gain access to "some key constituencies, African-Americans and women and organized labor, and in Iowa."

But while Dean leads in polls in New Hampshire and Iowa, the race has not taken shape beyond the initial voting states and Gore's endorsement will not erase every doubt about the former Vermont governor. Analysts noted that Gore's uneven performance in 2000 alienated many party leaders, thus his endorsement has limited appeal, and they predicted an anti-Dean movement will eventually form behind one of his eight rivals.

In choosing Dean, Gore bypassed his own vice presidential pick in 2000, Sen. Joe Lieberman of Connecticut, who is struggling in his bid to capture the nomination. The Lieberman campaign issued a terse statement Monday, saying, "I was proud to have been chosen by Al Gore in 2000 to be a heartbeat away from the presidency."

Some rank-and-file Democrats were stung by Gore's decision.

"It isn't fair that he turned his back on Lieberman," said Mohammed Islam, a New York taxi driver and longtime Democratic voter. "If he was good enough for him in 2000, why not now?"

In an unusual response, Democratic candidate Wesley Clark issued a statement touting the number of former Gore staffers working on his campaign.

In 1998, Dean considered challenging Gore for the Democratic nomination in 2000 but backed away amid pressure from the vice president's office, and opposition in Vermont. He quietly lobbied to be mentioned as a vice presidential candidate, but did not make Gore's short list.

The pair have differed on many key issues, such as gun control. While Gore fought the National Rifle Association, Dean was embraced by the lobby.

Gore is pre-eminent among the party's establishment, second only to former President Clinton and his wife, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y. Officials close to both Clintons said Monday that they would not endorse in the primary race.

Gore announced Dec. 15, 2002, that he would not make another run for the White House, saying a rematch with Bush would force him to revisit the recount ordeal of 2000.

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