A Newsweek poll finds that, since his announcement, Wesley Clark has pulled to the front of the pack in the race for the Democratic nomination to take on Team W in 2004. Clark leads with 14%, followed by Dean and Lieberman (12% each), Kerry at 10% and Gephardt with 8%.
So how shocking is this?
Well, check out the margin. The difference between the top candidate and the fifth-place candidate is only 6%. Clark is a relatively high-profile name who definitely stands out from the pack, just announced his candidacy, supposedly has the support of many former Clintonites, and has national security/foreign policy credentials that make George W. Bush look like a county commissioner.
Will it last?
It could. Clark has not participated in any debates with the other candidates and is fairly untested on domestic policy issues. Some have criticized him as having framed no domestic stances, but that's not really accurate; he just hasn't had much chance to make them known.
So Clark's got the lead. While I won't go so far as to say that it's his to lose, it's definitely his to nurture and protect. So much for those who said Clark was too late to enter the race, though...
posted by Scott |
| Wednesday, September 17, 2003
We knew yesterday, but today he made it official. Four-star General and former NATO Supreme Allied Commander Wesley Kanne Clark has announced that he will seek the Democratic nomination to run against President Bush in 2004.
In Little Rock, Arkansas, this morning, Clark ended what has been months of speculation as to whether or not he would run. He had been an outspoken critic of both the Iraq war and the Bush administration's domestic policies. Many had been encouraging him to pursue a White House run, but in true military style, he reportedly did not want to get involved in a campaign unless he knew he had a shot at winning.
As I reported almost a month ago, a Zogby poll commissioned by the Draft Clark movement found that in a blind poll, Wesley Clark's resume beat George W. Bush 49-to-40% among all likely voters. The buzz around those poll numbers--and the buzz Clark created by openly meeting with advisors--seemed to indicate that the General was getting close to a run. He announced he was a Democrat, he hinted that he might be running, he met with the Draft Clark movement staff in Los Angeles, and gave himself a deadline by which to announce his intentions.
If nothing else, the fledgling Clark campaign has proven itself very adept in teasing the media and creating hype for its candidate.
During his announcement speech, Clark went after the Bush administration, demanding answers to the questions all Democrats--along with many Republicans and Independents--have been harboring. "Why has America lost 2.7 million jobs? Why has America lost the prosperity of a $5 trillion surplus and turned it into a deficit that deepens every day? Why has our country lost our sense of security and feels the shadow of fear? Why has America lost the respect of so many people around the world?"
Wesley Clark brings an incredible resume, tremendous support, and endless charisma to the table and DemWatch, who has been following him as a possible candidate since early this year, welcomes the addition.
Tomorrow's Washington Post will feature a page 9 (page 9?!?!) story about the General assembling a task force... okay, I'll dispense with the military metaphors... a team of advisors in Little Rock Tuesday to discuss his potential 2004 White House run.
Long story short, it's a lot of Clinton/Gore people (no surprise there), Clinton would like to see him run (again, no surprise), and Clark's announcement will likely come Wednesday or Thursday (no brainer, as it has to be before Friday and today's Tuesday--duh).
I'm on a borrowed computer this evening, bunking down in the City of Angels, so that's all you're going to get out of DemWatch for the time being.
Oh yeah... There's a juicy little bit at the end of the Clark piece about John Kerry firing chief attack dog and Dean hater Chris Lehane for being, well, too much of an attack dog and Dean hater. Lehane's a pro, though, and don't be surprised if Clark picks him up this week as a free agent. Clark has to take on Dean and Kerry and I can't think of anyone more eager to help him do so than Lehane. The General just has to make sure to keep him on a tighter leash than Kerry did.
posted by Scott |