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Tuesday | March 25, 2003

Modified Cattle Call 2004: 1st week of war

This special edition of the Cattle Call 2004 won't rank the candidates. Rather, I wanted to take a look at how their campaigns are handling the war as they all strive to set the right "tone". So here we go, in reverse order.

The most pro-war candidate in the field (he may be to the RIGHT of Bush on the issue), Lieberman is trying to campaign without talking about war. But the party faithful are not playing along. The audiences are polite, but the war looms as a major issue.

Lieberman has softened his rhetoric a bit, and tried to stress differences with Bush. He has been saying for days that while there's not "an inch of difference between us" on the war, there are differences in how Iraq could be rebuilt. He also says it's "regrettable" the United Nations was not able to approve a resolution supporting the war.
Way to differentiate yourself, Joe.

Kerry has maintained a regular campaign schedule. He has criticized Bush's handling of the war, though he remains convinced Saddam had to be disarmed.

"Saddam Hussein needs to be disarmed," Kerry said, "But he needs to be disarmed, in my judgment, by building the strongest coalition possible, by doing the best diplomacy possible, and by exhausting all the remedies available."

Graham, who voted against the Bush war resolution, has come out swinging against Bush:

The Bush administration sold the American public on "the softest scenario" about the difficulty of a U.S. invasion of Iraq, even though military and intelligence officials warned about tough Iraqi resistance, a former chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee said Tuesday.

Sen. Bob Graham, D-Fla., who chaired the Intelligence Committee until January, said military and CIA officials "were appropriately cautious" in developing war plans for several scenarios in Iraq, including "the potential for stiff resistance."

"But the political side of this administration gave a strong sell on the softest scenario, of `flowers on the tanks,' " said Graham, referring to administration expectations that Saddam Hussein's forces would crumble and Iraqis would welcome U.S. forces.

His candidacy was delayed because of heart surgery, and he has yet to hit the campaign trail.

Gephardt is making news for talking war in a fundraising email.

In one of the first fund-raising forays of the war, Democratic presidential hopeful Dick Gephardt sent prospective donors an e-mail opening with his prayers for the U.S. military and closing with a pitch for cash.
Gephardt has continued his regular campaign schedule, spending time in South Carolina. And he's enthusastically endorsed the war:
"I'm a believer that there are weapons of mass destruction and the capacity to make weapons of mass destruction, and I think that's what the facts will show when the time comes."
However, it doesn't appear as though he's beeing shadowed by anti-war protesters like Edwards or Lieberman.

After a one-day pause the first day of the war, Edwards is maintaining a regular campaign schedule, though he's getting shadowed by hostile anti-war protesters. Check out this eyewitness report of one of these protests outside an Edwards fundraiser in North Carolina.

Dean, the harshest war critic amongst the top contenders, has vowed to lay off the "partisan criticism" of Bush during the duration of the war. He continues to campaign, trying to talk about universal health care. But of course, no ones to talk about anything else but war.

Posted March 25, 2003 08:09 PM | Comments (28)


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