[eDebate] NYT ans coop: "clark poised for NUMBER ONE"

Jack Stroube stroube
Sat Sep 13 11:08:04 CDT 2003

it's gonna be a "foreign policy election" and a governor w ZERO foreign policy 
EXPERIENCE and a lot of ideas won't cut the mustard...dean no.2 under clark...watch 
them clintons make millions cum out of nowhere at the drop of a rabbit hat...rove is 
going down and the democrats are going to win....


September 12, 2003

Clark Poised for 2004 Presidential Race

Filed at 2:07 a.m. ET

WASHINGTON (AP) -- By all appearances, retired Army Gen. Wesley Clark is poised to 
enter the presidential race as the 10th Democratic candidate.

He's told friends he's leaning strongly toward entering the contest, he's contacted 
potential campaign advisers, and he's asked for political advice from many party 
veterans. The 58-year-old former NATO commander could shake up the crowded field.

Supporters say they've gotten pledges for more than $1 million if Clark enters. With just 
four months before the first votes are cast, though, Clark would be far behind some of 
the other candidates in organizing his campaign, raising money and building support in 
the early states. His earliest allies would be from former President Clinton's Arkansas-
based political network.

``He's all potential and upside,'' said Democratic strategist Donna Brazile. ``The 
question will be whether he could put together the organization so late.''

Clark confirmed Thursday he has been putting a campaign plan together but chalked it 
up to the type of ``parallel planning'' common in the military. ``If you want to find out 
whether you're going to go ahead, you have to have financial resources and you have to 
have staff available,'' he told The Associated Press.

While mulling his options, Clark has met with several presidential contenders who covet 
his endorsement and might consider him for a vice presidential slot. He met Saturday 
with former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean, who said it is too soon to talk about political 
``There is a lot of vetting that would have to be done before you would have those 
kinds of discussions,'' Dean said when asked whether he had discussed the vice 
presidency with Clark.

If Clark were to enter the race, it would be to win the nomination and not simply 
position himself for the No. 2 slot, friends said.

Clark has a resume that unnerves potential rivals -- Rhodes scholar, first in his 1966 
class at West Point, White House fellow, head of the U.S. Southern Command and NATO 
commander during the 1999 campaign in Kosovo.

Dean's effort to solidify his front-runner status might suffer from the distraction of a 
Clark candidacy. Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts would no longer be the race's only 
decorated combat veteran. Sens. John Edwards of North Carolina and Bob Graham of 
Florida would face another Southerner.

Senior party leaders say Clark or his advisers have contacted several prominent 
Democrats in the last few days about jobs in the campaign. Among them are Mark 
Fabiani, who ran Al Gore's communications team in the 2000 campaign.

If he enters the race, Clark would benefit from the support of a legion of Arkansas 
Democrats who helped Clinton get to the White House, including Skip Rutherford and 
Bruce Lindsey. Clinton has not taken sides in the nomination fight, but his glowing 
assessment of Clark in private talks has been noted by his oldest allies.

``There are a lot of people from Arkansas who will back Clark,'' said Bob Nash, who 
worked for Clinton in Arkansas and at the White House. ``Part of it is he's our homeboy, 
and because he's an impressive man.''

Clark also talked to John Weaver, a top strategist in the 2000 presidential campaign of 
Republican Sen. John McCain of Arizona, but Weaver is not joining the campaign 
because of health problems.

Clark believes his four-star military service would counter Bush's political advantage as 
a wartime commander in chief, friends say. The retired general has been critical of the 
Iraq war and Bush's postwar efforts, positions that would put him alongside Dean, 
Graham and Rep. Dennis Kucinich of Ohio as the most vocal anti-war candidates.

Clark is scheduled to deliver a speech at the University of Iowa on Sept. 19, but is 
expected to make his decision before that, with an announcement likely in Little Rock, 

AP Political Writer Ron Fournier contributed to this report.


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