We SUPPORT and ENDORSE JOHN EDWARDS, HILLARY CLINTON , Barack Obama, Joe Biden, Dennis Kucinich, Tom Vilsack, Bill Richardson, Chris Dodd, John Kerry , Wesley Clark and their SUPPORTERS AND OTHER DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATES




Monday, February 05, 2007

Rivals open throttle in 2008 campaign

Rivals open throttle in 2008 campaign
Published: Monday, 5 February, 2007, 08:34 AM Doha Time WASHINGTON: Senator Hillary Clinton and top Democratic presidential rivals are opening the throttle in the 2008 campaign, offering a peek at divergent strategies each hopes will capture the White House.Ten declared and potential candidates took a first chance to road-test 2008 messages with duelling speeches to pumped-up activists at a two-day Democratic National Committee winter meeting here, which ended on Saturday.The field, which could provide America with its first female or first black president, features three clear front-runners: Clinton, fellow Senator Barack Obama and former vice presidential candidate John Edwards.Clinton’s potentially historic campaign touts her polished policy professionalism and the power of the most formidable Democratic election-winning machine in decades.But will Democrats be seduced by the cerebral Obama, who eloquently warns ideals are crippled by a relentlessly pounding media echo chamber which has turned modern politics into a blood sport?Edwards, third of the top-tier hopefuls, hopes to inflame an insurgent campaign with fierce opposition to the Iraq war, an anti-poverty crusade and economic populism.Clinton, 59, atop most national polls more than 11 months out from early nominating contests in states like Iowa and New Hampshire, has launched a charm offensive to soften the calculating image that dogged her as first lady.With chummy Web chats and a call for national conversation, Clinton promises as president to end the Iraq war and overhaul health care and education.“I believe that I can, with my lifetime of experience and qualifications, make it possible for us once again to believe in ourselves,” she told Democrats, drawing implicit comparisons with youthful Obama.“There is another kind of experience that we’re going to need in 2008 – I know a thing or two about winning campaigns,” she said, in a bid to slay the perception her highly polarising character means she cannot win the White House.Obama, 45, son of a Kenyan father, hopes to become America’s first black president.The first-term senator, yet to formally open his campaign – that comes with heavy symbolism in ex-president Abraham Lincoln’s Illinois hometown next Saturday – already drips with disdain for modern politics.“Sometimes you feel like you’re part of a reality TV show. ... Are you going to go to Hollywood? Are you going to be voted off the island?” he said.“Democrats, this is not a game. This can’t be about who digs up more skeletons, ... who makes the fewest slip-ups on the campaign trail,” he said in what was more a sermon than a stump speech, which held a partisan crowd in eerie but rapt silence.“We have always been at our best in this country when we aim high, when our politics aims to match the height of our ideals,” Obama said.But his tone also raised questions: When will he match elevated rhetoric with detailed policy proposals? Will such a tone be enough to fire up hard-core Democrats who decide the nomination? And what happens when Obama has to swap his lofty perch for the political gutter where US elections are fought?Obama frequently recalls his early, public opposition to the Iraq war – in a jab at Clinton, who is being squeezed by rivals for failing to admit her Senate vote for the conflict was wrong.South Carolina-born Edwards, 53, meanwhile, has a stylised, populist tone, taking audiences through a litany of heartbreaking vignettes about America’s dispossessed.“Somewhere in America, an eight-year-old girl goes to sleep hungry. ... It doesn’t have to be that way. ... Somewhere in the world, a five-year-old boy in a refugee camp is bending under the weight of his two-year-old sister. ... It doesn’t have to be that way.”On the road almost non-stop since the 2004 election, Edwards has an early opinion poll lead in Iowa, where he will try to badly wound his rivals.But his tactics also beg the question of whether he is a viable candidate to take on Republicans after moving left of the centre ground where Democrats usually win elections.With fierce national security challenges looming, Edwards must also prove that his perceived lack of depth on foreign policy and dearth of experience after a single Senate term will not be a handicap.Candidates deemed to not have much of a shot at the nomination include Senator Christopher Dodd, Representative Dennis Kucinich, retired general Wesley Clark, Senator Joseph Biden, New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson, ex-governor of Iowa Tom Vilsack and former senator Mike Gravel. – AFP
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