General Wesley Clark, a liberal advocate who eventually endorsed Barack Obama in the 2008 presidential election, praised the Republican candidates for an "excellent debate" in an appearance on MSNBC this morning:
“From the perspective of the democracy,” General Clark says, “I thought this was an excellent debate. I thought people around the world who would have see this would have looked at this and said, boy, those Americans, they know what they're doing.”
WHEN WESLEY CLARK formally bows out of the race later today, it's won't be because, as his son has recently charged, the media did him in. It will be because the man, by some accounts a decent fellow who served his country well, was not ready for prime time.
PRESIDENTIAL DEBATES are often downright boring. They frequently disappoint journalists because the candidates don't fight among themselves. More often than not, debates are marked by the relentless avoidance of candid answers. But presidential debates always have two things: winners and losers.
Here's how the seven Democratic presidential candidates fared in last night's debate, the final one before the New Hampshire primary next Tuesday:
Bedford, New Hampshire WESLEY CLARK CELEBRATED the 31st anniversary of Roe v. Wade today by appearing at a breakfast fundraiser sponsored by the Planned Parenthood of Northern New England Action Fund. During a brief set of remarks he declared that "no one has a right to come between a woman, her doctor, her family, and her God."
HOWARD DEAN'S BELLOWING the roll call of the states on Monday night may capture the weird sweepstakes this election season, but Wesley Clark can't be counted out just yet. Most of the cameras were in Iowa while the general tromped around the Granite State, but the record he left is promising when it comes to snap potential.
Rick Lowry had a tape recorder on when Clark delivered some choice words on faith and the president's patriotism, and was kind enough to send the tape along to me for broadcast. Here are the money quotes:
DOES GEN. WESLEY CLARK SUBSCRIBE TO THE WEEKLY STANDARD? Commentary, maybe? Because he seems to know a lot about, as he puts it, the "neoconservative press." Yesterday on CNN's "Late Edition," for example, Clark said--not for the first time--that the Bush administration's war plans extend far beyond Iraq.
AT THE CONGRESIONAL BLACK CAUCUS presidential debate on Sunday, Huel Perkins, an anchor at WJBK TV in Detroit, asked General Wesley Clark a pointed question. How, Perkins wanted to know, can Clark run as a national security candidate when his position on the Iraq war changes so frequently?
"I think I've been very consistent from the beginning," Clark said. "I've been against this war from the beginning. I was against it last summer, I was against it in the fall, I was against it in the winter, I was against it in the spring.
WHEN WILL Wesley Clark stop telling tall tales? In the current issue of Newsweek, Howard Fineman reports Clark told Colorado Gov. Bill Owens and University of Denver president Mark Holtzman that "I would have been a Republican if Karl Rove had returned my phone calls."
Unfortunately for Clark, the White House has logged every incoming phone call since the beginning of the Bush administration in January 2001.
From the September 29, 2003 issue: Tidbits on the General, and Dave Barry takes on the telemarketers.
Sep 29, 2003, Vol. 9, No. 03 • By
Tomorrow's Opposition Research Today
Memo to all the Democratic party presidential candidates who aren't retired Gen. Wesley Clark:
On August 27, 1994, representing the Joint Chiefs of Staff during a fact-finding mission to Bosnia, Clark "ignored State Department warnings not to meet with Serb officials suspected of ordering deaths of civilians in a campaign known as ethnic cleansing" and paid a courtesy call on Serbian army commander Ratko Mladic. Mladic was already the subject of multiple U.S.
LET'S SAY you're a former supreme allied commander of NATO. You want to be the 44th president of the United States. You've never held political office--not even as secretary of your high school student council. There are only four months left before the first Democratic presidential primary, and you discovered you're a Democrat only two weeks ago. The cards you're holding aren't the strongest in the deck. You might even be tempted to think that your dream of global leadership is a fantasy.