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  • America Votes

    Election news from across the Knight Ridder network and the Web

    Saturday, February 07, 2004

    Clark: No pressure to stop bombing 

    On Saturday, while campaigning in Roanoke, Virginia, retired Gen. Wesley Clark spent part of the morning responding to a Washington Post article.

    The article alleges that some Clinton administration officials wanted to end the Kosovo war because the presidential campaign of then-Vice President Al Gore was about to start.

    "There were those in the White House who said, 'Hey, look, you gotta finish the bombing before the Fourth of July weekend. That's the start of the next presidential campaign season, so stop it. It doesn't matter what you do, just turn it off. You don't have to win this thing, let it lie,'" Clark said in a January 2000 interview with NATO's official historian, four months before leaving the post of supreme allied commander Europe, according to the Washington Post.

    Clark distanced himself from the article Saturday, saying "there was never any politics involved in pressuring me to end the war prematurely or anything else," and urging reporters to read "Waging Modern War," his book on the Kosovo war.

    "Those papers were a stream of consciousness dictation to the SHAPE historian as I tried to assemble all my memories and think about what had actually happened," said Clark, who said that he doesn't recall any disagreements with the White House. "There was never any political pressure. I never had any political pressure to do anything other than succeed. And that's not political pressure, that's called leadership."

    - Dana Hull, San Jose Mercury News

    posted by Jim Van Nostrand at 9:31 AM

    Friday, February 06, 2004

    Back to the 'liquid' diet 

    Soggy sandwiches may be back in Dick Gephardt's future.

    While campaigning in Iowa, the Missouri congressman used to joke with his press corps about the quality of campaign food.

    After endorsing former rival John Kerry in Detroit Friday, Gephardt said "one thing I don't miss are the liquid, squishy turkey sandwiches" - a three-a-day staple of life for reporters, staff and candidate alike on the Gephardt trail.

    Gephardt has been enjoying a warm-weather Florida vacation with wife Jane since ending his presidential bid after the Iowa caucuses, saying he was converting voters in Republican-heavy Naples, Florida: "I'm getting 'em one at a time."

    But play time sounds over - and the trail again beckons.

    "Dick, you may think that you and Jane earned yourselves a vacation, but we've got a lot of work for you to do and you're gonna spend a long period of time with us," Kerry said.
    - Matt Stearns, Kansas City Star

    posted by Ellen Dunkel at 1:47 PM

    General strikes out at two senators 

    Retired Gen. Wesley Clark continued his double-barreled attack on his two main rivals while campaigning in Tennessee Friday.

    During a 7 a.m. interview with a local AM radio station, he took a swipe at Sen. John Edwards of North Carolina. Edwards is the only other southerner in the race, and both men have set their sights on winning Tennessee on Feb. 10.

    "John Edwards has voted against programs to help our veterans,'' said Clark, a retired four-star general who has courted veterans throughout his campaign. "In 1999, Edwards voted against adding $1.3 billion in funding for the Veterans Health Administration. Real leaders don't blink. ... Sen. Edwards voted against veterans when the going got tough.''

    Later, while speaking to supporters at Swett's restaurant in Nashville,
    Clark took issue with Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry's recent comment that Democrats could potentially win the White House without carrying the South.

    "The facts show no Democrat has won the presidency in the last 40 years unless they carried the South,'' said Clark. "Ask Al Gore. He would be president if he'd carried some southern states, including Tennessee.''
    - Dana Hull, San Jose Mercury News

    posted by Ellen Dunkel at 1:24 PM

    The love bus 

    Rain-soaked reporters slowly followed retired Gen. Wesley Clark across Tennessee on Thursday two hours behind schedule. Since Tuesday, the general has been riding in the "love bus," dubbed as such because it has carpet, a flat-screen television and cable channels. Members of the press, who are riding in a plain old bus, are so wet from the heavy rain that they had little interest in attending the campaign's highlight of the day, a women's college basketball game between the Lady Volunteers and the Connecticut Huskies.

    posted by Ellen Dunkel at 10:41 AM

    Diss us then kiss us 

    "You can't diss us in the winter and expect to come back and kiss us in the fall," said the Rev. Wendell Anthony, president of the Detroit branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. He was upset because Howard Dean and the Rev. Al Sharpton were the only candidates planning to attend a town meeting Thursday. John Kerry's commanding lead in polls leading up to Saturday's Michigan caucuses has diminished the state's allure for other candidates.

    posted by Ellen Dunkel at 10:24 AM

    His album is finally worth something 

    "John Kerry, electric bass ... producer of a pulsating rhythm that lends tremendous force to all the members," is printed on the back of an album produced by Kerry's prep-school band, Electra. One of 500 copies of the album is for sale on Ebay. Opening bid: $500.

    posted by Ellen Dunkel at 10:10 AM

    Thursday, February 05, 2004

    Dean gets more pay pals 

    Howard Dean may not have won any primaries, but he still has support where he always has - on the Internet.

    In an e-mail to supporters today, reports Thomas Fitzgerald of the Philadelphia Inquirer, Dean said he would get out of the Democratic presidential race if he did not win Wisconsin's Feb. 17 primary. He asked for donations.

    The Dean campaign said that it had raised $400,000 over the Internet as of mid-afternoon. The message was sent to more than 600,000 supporters.

    posted by Ellen Dunkel at 3:38 PM

    John Edwards on 'Letterman' 

    To gauge the political impact of Tuesday's S.C. primary, forget the polls and check the national barometer of hip: David Letterman's Top Ten list.

    Wednesday night's presenter was N.C. Sen. John Edwards, reports Mark Washburn of the Charlotte Observer. Edwards' topic on CBS's "Late Show" was "Things Never Before Said by a Presidential Candidate":

    10. Vote for me or I'll slash your tires.

    9. Forget universal health care -- I'm buying every American an XBox.

    8. In a crisis, I ask myself, 'What would Tony Danza do?'

    7. I'd give you my plan for economic recovery if I wasn't rip stinkin' drunk.

    6. If your last name begins with 'M' through 'Z,' sorry, your taxes are doubling.

    5. We're gonna cut the deficit by selling North Dakota to Canada.

    4. I have tons of experience from being president of the Burt Reynolds Fan Club.

    3. Lady, that is one ugly baby.

    2. When I'm president, I'm putting Regis on Mount Rushmore.

    1. Read my lips: no new wardrobe malfunctions.

    Howard Dean appeared Jan. 22, to read "Top Ten Ways I, Howard Dean, Can Turn Things Around"

    posted by lk at 11:51 AM

    No vacancy at the Virginia Primary Motel 

    Ellie Caruthers owns Doc's Motel in Colonial Beach, Va., and likes to imagine she can be choosy about who gets to stay there. If any of the Democratic candidates stop by before next week's Virginia primary, she'd like to hang out a sign that says "No vacancy."

    "I don't want to vote for any of them," she said Wednesday. "I want a whole new pool."

    In this beach town on the Potomac River in Virginia's Northern Neck, there is a feeling of discontent in this political season, a sense that expectations are not being met by exclamations, that party politics are broken and old values discarded.

    "I'm leaning towards Edwards, but it's all political rhetoric, not substance," said Kyle Schick, who owns the Colonial Beach Yacht Center. "The only thing the primary system benefits is the advertising agencies. It's all sound bites. You get just as much news listening to Letterman's monologues."

    posted by Ellen Dunkel at 11:37 AM

    Edwards gets football references 

    Why did Sen. John Edwards come so close to victory in Oklahoma? It may be the last-minute addition of former Dallas Cowboys coach Barry Switzer to his campaign.

    "If it helps, it helps. Hell, it may hurt," said Switzer, who also coached the University of Oklahoma Sooners.

    Switzer endorsed Edwards over the weekend through "auto-call" phone messages to the voters. At the same time, the North Carolina senator's numbers began climbing.

    Keith Gaddie, a political science professor at the University of Oklahoma, thinks Switzer's fourth-quarter entry into the campaign helped Edwards. "Barry Switzer is still God up here," Gaddie said.

    posted by Ellen Dunkel at 11:21 AM

    Caucus? What caucus? 

    Just two days left until Michigan's Democratic presidential caucuses, and where are the candidates? Where are the ads? Where is the buzz?

    "Michigan is moot and I hate saying that, because it discourages people from showing up to vote," said Craig Ruff of the Lansing-based Public Sector Consultants. "But it certainly smells like the candidates have ceded Michigan to [John] Kerry."

    Michigan's 154 delegates "are the highest total of this presidential contest so far," said Michigan Democratic Party Chairman Melvin Butch Hollowell. "It's a mistake for [John] Edwards and [Wesley] Clark to skip the state. . . . "

    More than 90 percent of Detroit voters supported the Democratic presidential ticket in 2000.

    posted by Ellen Dunkel at 8:41 AM

    Wednesday, February 04, 2004

    Cable? It's all blather 

    Howard Dean was listening through an earpiece to the on-air chatter of a bunch of half-informed pundits on Fox News Tuesday night as he waited his turn to be called on by host Greta Van Sustern.

    "Jesus, now I know why I don't have cable," he said. "It's all blather. ... I don't mind being at the end, but I just can't stand listening to all this stuff."

    The talk went on even though results were sketchy from the seven states voting, reports Thomas Fitzgerald of the Philadelphia Inquirer.

    "They just fill the air," Dean said, shaking his head. "It's verbal diarrhea."

    posted by Ellen Dunkel at 2:44 PM

    Send 'em all to Ranger School 

    Retired Gen. Wesley Clark is a tireless campaigner, reports Dana Hull of the San Jose Mercury News, one who can nap at the drop of a hat and wake up refreshed. He jokes to exhausted reporters that he likes watching them go through Ranger School. And since the rigors of the campaign trail are new to him, he still seems to enjoy the nuts-and-bolts of retail politics, from flipping pancakes to shaking hands and kissing babies.

    posted by Ellen Dunkel at 2:33 PM

    Can a Southerner take the North? 

    John Edwards chose to stake his Democratic presidential bid on South Carolina, and it paid off: It kept his campaign alive for a least another week.

    Now comes the tough part - showing that he is a viable candidate outside Dixie.

    It will not be easy. Yankeeland is generally unfriendly territory for Southern candidates, noted Charles Dunn, a political scientist at Grove City College in Pennsylvania.

    posted by Ellen Dunkel at 9:48 AM

    Kucinich: We've only just begun 

    Ohio Rep. Dennis Kucinich was out west when the results came in last night, reports Carl Chancellor of the Akron Beacon Journal, and despite his poor showings, Kucinich remained upbeat and vowed to stay in the race.

    "We have now completed nine contests to determine the Democratic nominee for president in 2004.

    "There are 42 more contests to come, in addition to five more in territories like Puerto Rico. In short, we are barely into this primary season.

    "We began this campaign with 10 contenders. Six candidates now remain. As the field continues to narrow, the sharp differences between myself and the acknowledged frontrunners will become more obvious and will clarify why I am still in this race."

    posted by Ellen Dunkel at 8:32 AM

    Tuesday, February 03, 2004

    Kerry jabs Bush's military service 

    Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry had taken the high road in the renewed debate over whether President Bush had fulfilled his National Guard service during the Vietnam era, reports Matt Stearns of the Kansas City Star.

    But he artfully — and subtly — slipped in the shiv Tuesday night when asked about Bush's service record on Fox News, seeming to lump in those who joined the Guard with those who did not serve.

    "I would defend the president's choice with respect to going into the Guard," Kerry, a decorated Vietnam veteran, said. "I've never made any judgments about any choice somebody made about avoiding the draft, about going to Canada, going to jail, being a conscientious objector, going into the National Guard. Those are choices people make."

    posted by Jim Van Nostrand at 11:13 PM

    Big shoes to fill 

    Charles Halloran, campaign manager for the Rev. Al Sharpton, said he was pleased with the South Carolina results and compared Sharpton's showing to Jesse Jackson's 1984 presidential run. Jackson won four states and the District of Columbia that year.

    He did acknowledge that Jackson, a Greenville native, won South Carolina in 1984 and 1988. Sharpton finished third Tuesday behind John Edwards and John Kerry.

    "We'll raise the bar in 2008," Halloran told Carl Chancellor of the Akron Beacon Journal.

    posted by Jim Van Nostrand at 10:57 PM

    Clark's son rips the coverage, campaign 

    Wesley Clark Jr. lambasted the national news media today for the way it has covered his father's presidential campaign, saying the coverage has been "all horse race and no issues" and that politics is "a dirty business filled with a lot of people pretending to be a lot things they are not."

    The son of retired Gen. Wesley Clark, Wesley Jr., a 34-year-old screenwriter who lives in Los Angeles, shared his thoughts on this election cycle in the parking lot of the Oklahoma City campaign office, reports Dana Hull of the San Jose Mercury News.

    Media coverage of his father's choice of clothing - his wearing of an argyle sweater was the subject of much discussion in New Hampshire - greatly annoyed Wesley Jr., as did reports in Oklahoma over the weekend that members of the Clark caravan got $150 speeding tickets as they returned from an event late at night.

    Of the campaign, Wesley Jr. said, "It's been a really disillusionary experience. We sacrificed a hell of a lot for this country for 34 years. We lived in a damn trailer park when I was a freshman in high school."

    posted by Ellen Dunkel at 4:20 PM

    Dean looks ahead to Washington state 

    Howard Dean, adjusting his strategy on the fly, said today in Spokane, Wash., that he is making a stand in Washington state and Michigan, which hold caucuses Saturday, and in Wisconsin, which holds a stand-alone primary on Feb. 17, reports Thomas Fitzgerald of the Philadelphia Inquirer.

    "Washington state is going to be the turning point, if we win, of this campaign," Dean said at a town hall meeting at Sacred Heart Hospital. "We need to win Washington state."

    Sounding like the late Sen. Paul Tsongas in 1992, Dean railed against his rivals for over-promising to pander to voters. "They're promising you a middle-class tax cut, free college, help in special ed, health care for everybody," Dean said. "It's hooey. We need a real change in this country."

    posted by Ellen Dunkel at 3:28 PM

    Second place would still feel like a win 

    Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry said this afternoon that a close second place in South Carolina would be tantamount to victory for him in that closely contested state, reports Matt Stearns of the Kansas City Star.

    "I'd be elated," Kerry said. "I think that would be quite extraordinary given how little I've been able to be there, and where I was a little while ago."

    While Kerry is leading in the polls in many of the seven states voting today, his ability to compete in the South has been questioned.

    posted by Ellen Dunkel at 3:00 PM

    The First State ... for Lieberman? 

    Joe Lieberman spent today the same way he has much of his campaign: telling the few people who would listen that he would make the best president because of his centrist views.

    After an overnight flight from Phoenix, Lieberman awoke at dawn today to greet voters and commuters in Wilmington, Del., the only state where polls showed he was still competitive, reports Oscar Corral of the Miami Herald.

    "The First State is going to be the first state Joe Lieberman carries on the way to the White House," Lieberman told reporters outside a polling precinct in Wilmington.

    posted by Ellen Dunkel at 2:20 PM

    Sharpton expecting more than the polls indicate 

    The Rev. Al Sharpton, while not making any predictions on today's vote, said he expected to do better than some recent polls indicate and that he will continue campaigning with the goal of taking at least 300 delegates to the convention in Boston, reports Carl Chancellor of the Akron Beacon Journal.

    "I would love 2100 to win the nomination," quipped Sharpton, although the exact number of delegates needed is 2161. Sharpton said he expects to win delegates in South Carolina, Missouri and Delaware today and go on to add to that number in several other states. He then ticked off the states of Michigan, Virginia, Wisconsin, Georgia, New York, California and Florida.

    posted by Ellen Dunkel at 11:51 AM

    Wesley Clark: one tough hombre 

    Retired Gen. Wesley Clark had a late day on Monday, reports Dana Hull of the San Jose Mercury News. As today's voting fast approached, he sharpened his attacks on President Bush and began throwing more Spanish into his stump speeches.

    "I'm the best guy in this race to whip George W. Bush," said Clark to supporters in Phoenix Monday evening. "I've forgotten more about national security then he ever learned."

    He went on to say that he was tough enough to go against the "Republican Party mean machine" and added, "Let me put it to you this way: I'm one tough hombre."

    posted by Ellen Dunkel at 10:19 AM

    John Kerry, boyhood hero 

    Sign that your presidential campaign is going well: Teenage boys flock to you like you're a Cy Young-award-winning pitcher.

    At a rally for Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry in Phoenix late Monday night, 15-year-old Matt Conway of Mesa, Ariz., lingered with hundreds of others for an autograph, Matt Stearns of the Kansas City Star reports.

    "After I heard him speak today, it's like, oh my God," a wide-eyed, curly-haired Conway enthused.

    The last celeb Conway had asked for an autograph: Arizona Diamondbacks ace Randy Johnson.

    Matt's father, college instructor Doug Conway, said he didn't think the Kerry and Johnson requests an odd pairing for his son.

    "What's more American than baseball and politics?" Doug Conway asked.

    posted by Ellen Dunkel at 9:39 AM

    A confident Kerry looks past Super Tuesday 

    With aides privately predicting victory in as many as five of the seven states holding primaries or caucuses today, Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry left Arizona this morning for Washington state, where he will hold a rally in Spokane and watch election returns in Seattle. Washington holds its caucuses Feb. 7.

    No matter how many wins or losses he has today, Matt Stearns of the Kansas City Star reports, Kerry plans on taking a redeye flight to Boston tonight and spending Wednesday in his hometown.

    posted by Ellen Dunkel at 9:14 AM

    Small state, small say 

    Delaware voters will have a small say today in the Democratic battle for president - not as much as they might have liked, perhaps, but probably more than voters in bigger adjoining states.

    The First State - its official nickname - can offer only 23 of the 2,159 delegates required to win the Democratic nomination - the second-fewest among the seven states holding primaries or caucuses today (North Dakota has 22).

    With so little at stake, only Sen. Joe Lieberman has spent much time in Delaware. Sen. John Kerry, newly atop the polls since his New Hampshire win, made his first visit Friday night.

    posted by Ellen Dunkel at 8:46 AM

    Monday, February 02, 2004

    Dean: Janet not worst thing on TV 

    If you're going to run for president of the United States, you've got to be able to answer any question without sounding like a boob.

    Howard Dean said the FCC investigation into Janet Jackson's flash of nipple during the Super Bowl halftime show is "pretty silly" and there are far worse things on cable TV, reports Thomas Fitzgerald of the Philadelphia Inquirer.

    "I find that to be a bit of a flap about nothing," Dean told reporters aboard his campaign plane, a BAC 111 christened "Pearl Jam One" because of its most recent famous cargo. "I think the FCC probably has a lot of other things they should be pursuing. Not the least of which is preventing media markets from becoming owned by one or two corporations. If they wanted to be serious and have some serious credibility, they'd look into what's going on, what's happening to our democracy, coagulation of our media ..."

    posted by Jim Van Nostrand at 9:55 PM

    A new assessment 

    The Rev. Al Sharpton kicked off his cross-state bus tour of South Carolina in front of the massive 20-foot-high black iron gates of Charleston's old slave market, Carl Chancellor of the Akron Beacon Journal tells us.

    "From property to the presidency," declared Sharpton, saying that his candidacy is about hope.

    Sharpton said that in the past he would have "been standing on the block being assessed as property. Today I'm standing here being assessed as a presidential candidate."

    posted by Ellen Dunkel at 4:47 PM

    A collective growl for Howard Dean 

    Howard Dean's get-out-the-vote rally in Santa Fe, N.M., today had an elegiac feel, Thomas Fitzgerald of the Philadelphia Inquirer reports, with a couple of hundred enthusiastic supporters saying they were keeping on keeping on, even as their man faced virtually certain defeat in seven states Tuesday. At one point this afternoon, the crowd turned to reporters at the back of a hotel ballroom to boo and hiss when a speaker said Dean had been written off unfairly by the media.

    "Our media, our president, and others are pushing fear in this election," said Patty Boucher, a Santa Fe city council member who is supporting Dean." We're going to have to emit a collective growl for Howard Dean." The crowd obliged.

    posted by Ellen Dunkel at 4:30 PM

    If it's 2:15 a.m., it must be Oklahoma City 

    Retired Gen. Wesley Clark woke up before the sun rose today to greet Oklahoma workers during a shift change at the Dayton Tire Plant, Dana Hull of the San Jose Mercury News reports. He then flew to Albuquerque, N.M., where he addressed a crowd of about 150 people at a Hispanic Cultural Center.

    Clark was then scheduled to fly to Tucson and then Phoenix, where he will address LULAC, or the League of United Latin American Citizens. He will then greet supporters at the Clark '04 Arizona headquarters and then fly to Las Vegas, N.M., for one last event. Time Clark is expected to be back at his Oklahoma City hotel: 2:15 a.m.

    Clark will campaign in Oklahoma City on Tuesday, and is scheduled to fly to Memphis late Tuesday night. He has vowed to stay in the race, but some campaign strategists have said that he must win one or two states - or have a strong showing - to go on. But the campaign is in good financial shape, and has paid for advertising through the Wisconsin primary on Feb. 17.

    posted by Ellen Dunkel at 2:32 PM

    First lady material? 

    Years ago, no one cared about presidential wives, at least not enough to let them influence the vote. This year, though, everyone wondered if the country was "ready" for someone like Teresa Heinz Kerry to be first lady. She's too outspoken, they say. Too frank. Opinionated enough to make Hillary look demure. To boot, she's filthy rich, which might not sit well with voters struggling to pay the mortgage.

    Could the pundits - gasp! the pundits?- be wrong? Heinz Kerry was all over Iowa and New Hampshire and John Kerry won both states.

    "If her husband is elected," says G. Terry Madonna, director of the Center for Politics and Public Affairs at Millersville University, "she'd be one of the most interesting first ladies we've ever had."

    posted by Ellen Dunkel at 11:51 AM

    Breakfast with Sharpton, without waffles 

    They were out of the signature dish at the Waffle House in Orangeburg, S.C., reports Carl Chancellor of the Akron Beacon Journal.

    "No waffles," exclaimed Rev. Al Sharpton, who had to settle for a breakfast of eggs, grits and toast.

    Sharpton shook hands with most of the two dozen diners at the restaurant.

    An elderly black man seated at the counter engaged Sharpton in a brief conversation.

    "He serves a definite purpose. He keeps the others on the important issues," said Robert Hubbard, 83, of Orangeburg.

    posted by Ellen Dunkel at 11:34 AM

    Sharpton vs. a candidate who could win 

    Many black Democrats face an intellectual quandary: Do they vote for a voice to force the conversation that Al Sharpton talks about or for somebody who can actually win the nomination and take on President Bush? And if they want a voice, should it be Sharpton, whose reputation as a civil rights leader is tainted by his controversial history and lingering accusations of race-baiting?

    While Sharpton is not taken seriously as a national candidate, the polls bear out that he is a formidable force in some places. One recent survey put him at 12 percent in South Carolina -- enough to be a factor in the race.

    posted by Ellen Dunkel at 11:17 AM

    Quick on his feet 

    John Kerry didn't just promise to help people during his speech in Fargo, N.D. He took action. Mid-speech, Kerry stopped and walked into the crowd to help a man who had fainted. He got a round of applause when he returned to the stage and announced that the man was OK. "He's a World War II vet, and he has been standing for a while ... and his legs aren't so great," Kerry told the crowd.

    posted by Ellen Dunkel at 10:41 AM

    The face of America? 

    Super Tuesday is less than a day away but the candidates might want to take a closer look at Missouri. Among states with the earliest presidential primaries, Missouri is most like the nation as a whole, a review of key demographics by The Kansas City Star indicates. The Show-Me State shows a composite of the nation's face, shape and social character in urban residents, children, African-Americans, baby boomers and poor people. More politically significant, Missouri has the best record of choosing the winning candidate in November.

    posted by Ellen Dunkel at 9:51 AM

    Sunday, February 01, 2004

    South Carolina a barometer for Bible Belt 

    Polls show voters are not necessarily turned off by the long-taboo mix of politics and spirituality. Voters say open talk about faith often connects them with the candidate and helps fit the candidate's views within the context of their lives. A recently released survey by the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press found 72 percent of Southern Democratic voters surveyed say religion is very important in their lives, compared with 55 percent of Democrats outside the South.
    posted by Jim Van Nostrand at 10:44 PM

    Joking about Botox 

    Howard Dean glanced up at the big-screen television showing the Super Bowl pre-game show Sunday at one of his house parties in a suburb of Detroit. "Is that Willie Nelson?" Dean said. "It looks like he had Botox injections, too." Guests snickered, well aware of the rumors that Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry has had the treatment to smooth wrinkles in his Basset Hound face. Dean caught himself. "I didn't say who the other person was."
    posted by Jim Van Nostrand at 3:15 PM

    Which Democrat has what it takes? 

    What's the word? "Essence"? "Style"? "X-factor"? "It"? Political commentators keep saying "electability," but try finding that one in the dictionary. They jawed on and on about "likability" in the 2000 presidential race, but no, that doesn't cut it today. Here's a quick roundup of each candidate's image from the Kansas City Star.
    posted by Jim Van Nostrand at 12:49 PM

    S.C. voters must vow they are Democrats 

    Voters in South Carolina's presidential primary must declare they are Democrats or they cannot vote. That has observers predicting that some people will stay away, rather than committing to the Democratic Party — even for a day. Democrats say they don't want to keep independents away, but they do hope to deter Republicans from voting in the primary and interfering with the results.
    posted by Jim Van Nostrand at 11:58 AM

    Dean struggles to avoid dot-bomb 

    Is Howard Dean's Internet-based campaign another dot-com flameout? The candidate whose fundraising success on the Web generated enough hype to anoint him the front-runner before a single vote was cast is now trying to revive his campaign. Some are asking whether Dean's success in galvanizing supporters online led to his downfall by insulating him from the broader Democratic electorate.
    posted by Jim Van Nostrand at 10:40 AM

    Bush makes history in Minnesota 

    President Bush has raised more campaign cash in Minnesota than any other presidential candidate in the state's history, including favorite sons Hubert H. Humphrey and Walter Mondale. Voters in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Iowa should expect a blizzard of ads, mailers, phone calls and door-knocking once the general election begins. Bush narrowly lost each state in 2000, and his campaign officials have said they want to win the region this year.
    posted by Jim Van Nostrand at 9:10 AM

    Hidden perils in electronic voting? 

    Counting mishaps have occurred across the country since election officials embraced electronic voting in the wake of the Florida vote-counting debacle of 2000. A report presented to the Maryland Legislature last week says someone could hack an election. Meanwhile, seven states plan to move ahead with the first major test of Internet voting this year, in a federal pilot program aimed at Americans living abroad and military personnel stationed overseas.
    posted by Jim Van Nostrand at 8:27 AM

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