The Grits Circuit

The Sun Herald | 12/30/2003 | President ‘didn’t do job,’ Clark tells ‘Grits’ circuit
This’ll work. Waltz into Mississippi, tell the people that President Bush didn’t do his job prior to 9/11, provide no specifics as to what you would have done differently and waltz out expecting to win votes. It might work in the Democratic primary but it’s a sure loser in the general election, and not just in Mississippi.

I’m really beginning to wonder why Wesley Clark is running, other than maybe the Clintons want him to. The original rationale was that he was a General and Supreme Commander of NATO. You would think that’s worth something, but NATO is pretty far removed from the American people. If the Democrats really wanted to get behind someone with military credentials and political experience they could have helped clear the field — as the Republican Party does — and turned it into a two or three man race between Dean, Kerry & Lieberman. That would have given primary voters a clear choice between left, center and right — for the Democrats.

Clark’s doing well with fundraising — he’s right behind Dean according to the news — but it’s hard to listen to anything he says without rolling your eyes. He’s failing in most of the polls — losing to Dean in South Carolina, a state he should do well in (via Chris) — and isn’t even competitive in most of the early primaries.

Why is he running and why is he doing it in such a ham-handed fashion?

Democratic presidential candidate Wesley Clark, trying to attract Southern support in a region dominated by Republicans, said Monday that his Arkansas upbringing taught him to value faith, family and patriotism.

The retired Army general also criticized President Bush’s record.

“Our president, before 9/11, didn’t do his job. He didn’t do everything he could to keep our country safe from terrorism and then he sent our troops over to Iraq to distract us from the fact that he doesn’t have Osama bin Laden yet,” Clark said.

Clark, the first Democratic presidential candidate to stump in Mississippi in months, spoke to about 100 people in Jackson’s War Memorial building. The shoulder-to-shoulder crowd was packed into a room housing an exhibition on American citizenship.

Clark said he never would have sent troops to Iraq, but now that Americans are there, “we’re going to do the right thing, we’re going to make it a success.”

“It’s going to take a little bit of time and a little bit of patience to do it right,” he said.

Clark will be one of nine Democrats on Mississippi ballots during the March 9 presidential primary. Bush is the only Republican.

Lindsey Taylor, spokeswoman for the Republican National Committee, said that before Clark became a presidential candidate, he had praised the president and Bush’s national security team.

“Ever since he has launched his campaign, all we hear from him is criticism and inconsistencies and baseless rhetoric,” Taylor said. “The president has been steadfast and forthright in waging the war on terrorism, and Americans appreciate his leadership.”

He’s already killed himself with his own words prior to entering the race by praising the Bush Administration and then having his character questioned by General Shelton. What is he doing in the race?

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