Nov. 11 — How will Clark's military experience shape his campaign? That's a question that is "probably too soon to answer," Clark told reporters Friday. The only retired four-star general in the race, Clark's 34 years in military service have defined his campaign from its early days. At almost every campaign event, General Clark will stop, sometimes with jarring awkwardness in the midst of talking about Iraq, to ask the audience if any veterans are present and for them to please raise their hands so they can be recognized.
The General is in New Hampshire today through Friday with scheduled stops in honor of Veteran's Day. Clark Communications Director Matt Bennett told ABC News that Clark "feels like there's just not enough deference placed to people who served their country" and he "hopes to provide them with respect."
One staffer spoke about the strategy behind setting up the Veteran's Day stops: "We do things that put this guy in places where he can be passionate," and "he feels really passionate about veteran's affairs." Other campaign staffers pointed out that Clark is "the only Democratic candidate campaigning on Veteran's Day who's won a war" and anything related distinguishes The General from the candidates who "chose not to serve [in the military] for whatever reason."
Clark was recently asked if a military background is important to have as a candidate. "I think first-hand, practical leadership experience is important for the commander in chief," Clark answered. "And I think if you have that experience in foreign affairs, then it's even better. So I've been lucky, I have a lot of high-level, first-hand experience in foreign affairs."
Clark, however, is not being honored as of late by some other high-profile generals. What does he think about comments by Generals Shelton and Schwarzkopf that he would not make a good President? Clark said Friday: "I think it doesn't matter if you're generals or not, I think if you're going to speak about another person, you have an obligation to know something about the situation." He added that he didn't believe Shelton's comments have, or will, weigh heavily on his campaign.
"I don't think most Americans even know who General Shelton is," Clark said. "But I happen to like Hugh Shelton — I'm sorry he said that, because there wasn't a basis for it. If he has any specifics, I've invited him before to please discuss it, he hasn't. So, I have to assume there's nothing there. He may not have meant to say it, I don't know."
The General makes his first appearance on the late-night talk show circuit since announcing his candidacy, appearing on "The Late Show with David Letterman" November 20.
Clark dismisses Dean support, thinks about matching funds
Nov. 10 — It seems like a positive break for the Clark campaign may take some time, but in the interim, The General's staff remains hopeful that by arguing union endorsements and money don't win the nomination or equal votes, they can convince their supporters that while Dean has the passion at the moment, "passion can't get you over the finish line."