The Christian Science Monitor writes, "By virtue of his background and early positioning, General Clark has effectively established the war in Iraq as the campaign's predominant issue — even while inadvertently highlighting the pitfalls it continues to present for Democratic contenders." LINK
The issue: Trade. The candidate: John Kerry. The back-and-forth: Kerry-Dean. The New York Times on John Kerry's swing before the Detroit Economic Club for free trade and against angry candidates who would restrict it. (Ahem, Burlington, anyone up there think that means your guy?) LINK
"'Anger and attacks are all well and good,' Mr. Kerry said. 'But when it comes to our jobs, we need a president who can build a barn, and not just kick it down.'
And Erik Smith gets in on this one-on-one game:
"'Congressman Gephardt,' Mr. Smith said, 'knows the difference between a good trade treaty and a bad trade treaty. Kerry has been a knee-jerk supporter for any free-trade treaty that comes down the pike, although recently he hasn't sounded like that on the stump.'"
The Boston Globe 's Patrick Healy reports on Kerry's Monday speech to the Detroit Economic Club, in which he "briefly attacked Dean and Gephardt by name, accusing them of protectionist views that would damage America's strengths in the global economy." LINK
The Boston Globe 's Joan Vennochi writes that Kerry is where "he has always been in Massachusetts, at Kennedy's side and in his shadow. The two are scheduled to campaign together on Saturday in Iowa, where liberal activists will no doubt welcome Kennedy and his strong anti-Bush message. Kennedy can energize the liberal party base in a way that Kerry has so far failed to accomplish. But does Kennedy-inspired energy automatically translate into Kerry caucus votes?" LINK
ABC News' Kerry campaign reporter Ed O'Keefe on the Senator's speech:
"Some of Kerry's sharpest criticism took aim at the campaign's 'Big Three' political foes."
"Though not explicitly stated, it's increasingly clear that candidate Kerry sees (or would like to see) the Democratic presidential nomination contest as one between himself and the 'big three' potential spoilers: former Governor Howard Dean, retired military General Wesley Clark, and Rep. Richard Gephardt."
"If judging by stump speech reference alone, the 'big three' battle primarily exists between himself and two main foes: Dean and Clark; Rep. Richard Gephardt receives special mention only in relation to his 'agreement' with Dean on taxes and trade and/or when Kerry appears before a strong labor crowd."
"During his speech before the Detroit Economic Club, for instance, Kerry blasted Dean and Gephardt, but took two additional paragraphs to hone in on Dean."
"Speaking on trade, Kerry stated, ' … I won't pander and claim that America can retreat from the global economy. We can't. Unfortunately, some in my party-like Howard Dean and Dick Gephardt-are telling people just that. Anyone who tells voters they're going to build a fence high enough to keep out foreign competition isn't offering an economic strategy-he's selling a bill of goods.'"