ABCNEWS' Deborah Apton is on the trail with retired Gen. Wesley Clark as he runs for president. For the latest report, scroll down.
It's All In The Family
Nov. 14 —
For the past two and a half weeks there's been a new face on the road traveling with the Clark campaign. It's a member of General Clark's family and it's not his wife or his son. Gene Caulfield is The General's brother-in-law, the "Senior Brother-in-Law" of the Clark '04 campaign.
Caulfield is married to Gert Clark's eldest sister. The General's wife, Gert, is the second oldest, followed by three more sisters and a brother. A Brooklyn and New Jersey native, Caulfield worked for the American Stock Exchange on the trading floor, later moving to Reuters, from where he retired in December, 2002. Following his retirement, he took up consulting on Wall Street again until he got a phone call from Little Rock a month or so ago asking him to help out on his brother-in-law's fledgling campaign.
I'm "the family relative that is indeed working with Wes both at the organizational headquarters and also on the road." And he can literally choose where and when he wants to work. "I will be on the road with him," he explains, "and then all of a sudden I'll decide to go home and rake leaves."
So why leave a career behind to work pro bono in the early days of the campaign? Caulfield joked, because, "I'm the best brother-in-law!" He then went on to explain his bond with Wes Clark. "He has no brother and sisters and I have no brothers and sisters. In effect, I've probably known him longer than anyone else. I've known him since he was a cadet at West Point." In fact, the non-political extended family is all very close — gathering once a year for a reunion with family members coming from as far as Hawaii and New York.
On the road, Caulfield offers some advice, usually about the tie Clark's wearing rather than advice on policy. "I always give him a lot of advice, but usually he's a man of his own conviction."
So after time on the road, the proud brother-in-law made a positive assessment of presidential candidate Wesley Clark — "he's doing amazingly well. He likes getting out, dealing with the people, listening to the people."
And, as for the one moment on the trail that sticks out, Caulfield recalls a moment in New Hampshire when "somebody came up to him and literally started holding his hand and started talking about her problems that she had and wondering if he could correct them at all, almost to the point where he was so emotional, there were tears in his eyes. Like, that's how dedicated his passion is … .and that really impressed me. Impressed me, but didn't surprise me."
Caulfield will continue to come on and drop off the campaign here and there. But his "Senior Brother-in-Law" campaign staff title sticks. As he says, "I've always had that [title] … he just picked up candidate, I've always been that!"
Clark endorses Adams … Sam Adams
Nov. 12 —
It was an unusual sight on the campaign trail: General Clark buying a round of beers for fellow veterans. And not just any beer …
When General Clark arrived at the VFW Post 1698 in Franklin, New Hampshire on a Veteran's Day campaign stop, he was greeted by the Color Guard and posed with them for a photo. One gentleman asked, "Can I buy you a drink, General?"
"I'd love a drink," Clark said. "Actually, a Sam Adams, that's what I drink." But the Color Guard folks were setting him up.
"Got your coin on ya?" they asked Clark. Every American military service member has a coin they carry around with them at all times — a tradition explained by one veteran as a practice that started after World War II when an Army Air Force pilot was "shot down and the only thing he had was a coin that separated him from the enemy. And everyone who saw it knew that he was American."
From that point on, it became a tradition to carry the coin "at all times." Seems General Clark forgot that tradition or perhaps he just forgot his coin. Either way, as the custom goes, if challenged to show your coin and you are without it, you buy a round of drinks.
Sam Adams for all — Clark dished out $30 for 10 beers and passed them around. One veteran made the toast: "To the best beer in America, to the best General in the world."
But The General made his own toast: "What I learned from the Russians was the third toast is always the special toast. They always toast to their fallen comrades and I'd like to propose that toast, to our fallen comrades." Klink.
And while Clark seemed to endorse Sam Adams (the beer, not the patriot) he was also careful to amend his statement about it being his favorite: "I also like Corona."
From ABC News' Gephardt campaign reporter Sally Hawkins:
Congressman Gephardt campaign is broadening his punching bag horizons, adding Senator Kerry to the attack list. Those rumors that the Gephardt and Kerry camps were joining forces to attack Dean may now be squashed forever. Gephardt campaign manager Steve Murphy took jabs at the Dean and Kerry camps on Tuesday when he spoke to ABC News about the new playing field since Kerry's behind-the-scenes turmoil became public.
On a cable program, Murphy declared that Kerry would be the next candidate to drop out of the race. Not Moseley Braun, not Kucinich, or perhaps Sharpton, but Kerry? Later he told ABC News, "the Clark campaign, the Lieberman campaign, and the Edwards campaign are not working, but they all have some sort of plausible scenario for February 3. We totally disagree with that strategy since nobody's ever been able to wait that long and win. History is prologue here."
"John Kerry is an example of this. Dean is way ahead in New Hampshire, Dick has a significant lead in Iowa, but Kerry is way behind in both states. Kerry's put a lot of money and staff in those early states, but there's no support base. Kerry is far from the support among labor households and support of African American voters that we have. His message, or lack thereof, isn't working better in any of those states. He's got no February 3rd backup plan."
On Howard Dean, Murphy drew a similar conclusion that Dean could also be a one trick pony. "Howard Dean is a candidate who is demonstratively ahead in one early state. That February 3rd lineup in states like Oklahoma, Missouri, North Dakota, Missouri, and South Carolina is a bad lineup for Dean. He runs the risk of winning in New Hampshire and having nowhere to go."
And while we're talking about February 3rd, the Gephardt office announced today the opening of their offices in Oklahoma, one of which is housed in their friends, the Teamsters', office. They also received their fourth endorsement from a local trade council today, getting the nod from the 10,000 member Oklahoma Building and Construction Trades Council.
Clark strategizes military experience
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."
Senior staffers told ABC News that Dean plays to the hearts of only partisan Democrats and, in the end, Dean's essentially "negative" and "a disaster waiting to happen." While Dean has the popularity in the North, Clark plays well in the South — the Clark campaign's peace of mind comes in thinking that if Dean wins New Hampshire and even Iowa, Clark could come in first in the February 3 states, making this a two-man, Dean/Clark, race to the finish.
On a charter flight from Atlanta to Columbia, South Carolina on Friday, General Clark told a small group of reporters that he didn't know how the endorsements by SEIU and AFSCME for Dean would affect his campaign, saying that "the real impact is on other people, not me." Two Clark staffers said on background that while the campaign never thought Clark had a chance of winning the SEIU endorsement, they can say that their decision to pull out of Iowa lost them the AFSCME nod.
At the end of the day, it comes down to plenty of money. Something Howard Dean has, and Wes Clark wants. With almost daily fundraising events, the Clark staffers seem assured they will raise over $6 million at the end of the fourth quarter. A campaign source said the campaign could "live in New York and never do fundraisers" — a sign that the Clark campaign is feeling a'o.k. about their fundraising situation. And one Clark staffer told ABC News a decision about whether or not Clark will take matching funds could come as early as this week …
The campaign is also often quick to note that they have not spent money on advertising yet — although, presumably, the money is being teed up as we write. Last week in New Hampshire Joe Slade White was on the road with a photographer and staffers getting together the first ad for the Clark campaign. White was also in Little Rock this weekend — ABC News has been told to watch New Hampshire as the first market.
The Clark campaign will announce on a conference call today their newest Internet endeavor, The Clark Community Network, that will assign personal 'forclark.com' blogs to every registered user
A success strategy proposal
Nov. 6 — General Clark is set to deliver a policy speech this afternoon in South Carolina outlining his plan to protect American troops and bring peace to Iraq. He appeared live today on "Good Morning America," to preview the address, in which he'll say that the reconstruction of Iraq should be turned over to a non-American. ABC's Charlie Gibson asked, Do you want Paul Bremer fired? "Yes," Clark said, "he should come home."
An excerpt: "Every American should understand: early exit means retreat or defeat. There can be neither. We need a 'Success Strategy' — for it is only success that can honor the sacrifice of so many American men and women; it is only success that will allow Iraq to stand on its own; and it is only success that will allow our soldiers to come home."
Clark outlines his four-point "Success Strategy":
1) End sole American responsibility for the country by, among other ideas, creating an Iraqi Reconstruction Council to replace the Coalition Provisional Authority.
2) Provide better border protection, more intelligence sources, formidable Iraqi security forces, and secure ammunition.
3) Give Iraqis a stake in the country's success by transferring authority on an ongoing basis and by naming an interim Iraqi government with a constitution written by Iraqis.
4) Creating a New Atlantic Charter to "reinvigorate our security partnership with Europe."
The Clark campaign is planning what seems like the biggest fundraiser to date on November 16 in Los Angeles at Morton's Steak House. The event chairs — producers Irving Azoff, Norman Lear, and Jordan Kerner, as well as hotelier and restaurateur Peter Morton — have just sent out the invitations.
Sources tell ABC News that the highlight of the evening will be a performance by members of the The Eagles, who are also named as co-chairs. Tickets are pricey — $500 if you're only there to catch the concert. Throw in dinner and cocktails and you're giving $2,000 to The General's campaign.
Clark hits spin room for the first time
Nov. 5 — ABC News has learned that the Clark campaign will soon announce the addition of Political Director Lara Bergthold. The Los Angeles native relocated to Little Rock as of Tuesday night to work in the Clark '04 campaign offices, reporting to Campaign Chair Eli Segal. Bergthold has been traveling with General Clark and his "road team" as an adviser since the first week in October, but has had no formal title until now. Before joining the Clark campaign, Bergthold was the co-chair of the Board of People for the American Way and the former executive director of Hollywood Women's Political Committee.
Last night marked The General's first time in the spin room following a presidential debate. And sticking with his "I won't criticize other Democratic candidates" mantra, Clark downplayed the Dean/Confederate flag issue.
Clark said: "I think it's very important we bring Southern voters to an understanding of differences between the two parties. And that the real differences are not on the sort of culture wars of litmus test issues like guns — I've got a lot of guns in my house, I've been shooting my whole life. The issue is, how do we work together to improve the lives of ordinary Americans." And then he added. "I'm against the divisiveness of the Confederate flag."
Clark communication director Matt Bennett, however, did not hold back on attacking Dean. During the debate, a Bennett statement was circulated in the press room that said Howard Dean, "was wrong when he refused to condemn the Confederate flag."
And Tuesday was all about The General being … well, hip. He raps, in fact, though his body man, Amad, says it sounds more like Sinatra than Tupac. At a closed press appearance yesterday, staffers say that The General rapped for a larger-than-usual crowd. When ABC News asked Clark's son, Wes Jr., if he has heard his father rap he answered, "yes, unfortunately."
A woman asked Clark last night if he's really an Outkast fan, like his 30-second spot suggested. His answer? "I can shake it like a Polaroid picture."
Clark imitates Rangel, gets ready to ski
Nov. 4 — We know about Clark the General and Clark the candidate, Clark the husband, and Clark the father. But did you know about Clark the impersonator? At a "Conversations with Clark" event in Keene, New Hampshire last night, Clark ended the event like any other — with the story of why he decided to run. But he added a new line while talking about the draft movement, saying Congressman Charlie Rangel was one of the many who called upon him to run.
In Rangel's deep, raspy voice Clark imitated the Congressman calling: "This is Sergeant Rangel. Where's my General?"
The General's son, Wes Jr., introduced his father at the event and did not seem surprised by his dad's comedic bit. Wes told ABC News that his dad does many impersonations including Slobodan Milosevic, President George H.W. Bush, and FOX newsman Bill O'Reilly.
Now that Clark is spending 50 percent of his time in New Hampshire until the January primary, he seems eager to hit the slopes. The General told a group of first responders at a dinner last night that he's looking forward to the snow and going up North to ski.
"I got my parabolic skis," he said. "I would consider it a duty day … going down the slope, shaking hands." But Clark may have to wait until after January — his campaign staff may not be too eager for their candidate to go downhill before the 27th.
Clark loses voice on Rock the Vote shoot
Nov. 3 — The "Rock the Vote" spots being done by each Democratic presidential candidate will actually run on CNN, not MTV as reported last week. Each candidate was asked to submit a 30-second spot to air during the CNN forum and since Clark didn't have any ads, his campaign produced something specifically for "Rock the Vote."
A music producer shot Clark's ad in downtown New York City last week. The spot shows Clark sitting around a table with a group of young folks, sleeves rolled up in a Dean-esque manner. He leans inward, talking to the group about foreign and domestic policy issues and … well, rock bands.
One campaign source at the taping told ABC News that The General was surprised by how many takes he had to do. At a campaign stop in New Hampshire the next day, Clark told a woman he lost his voice after shooting the ad.
In an another effort to appeal to the young voters, the spot ends with Clark bumping fists with one of the young men in acknowledgement of support.
Well, to answer your questions, no I would not have voted for an Iraq war. I didn't see an imminent threat with Saddam Hussein. I don't believe we should be using force unless it's an absolute last resort. I am pro-choice and I'm a strong believer in affirmative action-it's the right thing to do, it works. It's about the American idea of equal opportunity. And I don't care what the other candidates say-I don't think Outkast is really breaking up. Andre 3000 and Big Boi just cut solo records, that's all. (Bumping Fists with young man) I'm Wes Clark and I approve of this message.
You can see the ABC News advance copy of the General's spot at: LINK
Blackberrying from London
Oct. 31 — The Clark campaign's new senior foreign policy adviser, Jamie Rubin, is huddling with The General and his campaign to prepare for next week's foreign policy speech in South Carolina. Rubin told ABC News that he will now divide his time between London and the Clark campaign — 10 days on the campaign physically in Little Rock or on the road with Clark; 10 days off and back in London.
But while Rubin will never be fully off the campaign at any time (thanks to the wonders of the Blackberry and the conference call), he still doesn't consider himself a full-time staffer; he's accepting the campaign position pro bono. Rubin says he got to know Clark during the "Bosnia/Kosovo issue."
Asked about The General's position on Iraq, it took Rubin about four minutes straight to get through it, telling ABC News that it's not an answer that "lends itself to quick sound bites."
ABC News has learned that beginning Monday, MTV will begin running promos featuring all nine Democratic presidential hopefuls for its joint "Rock the Vote" forum in Boston Tuesday. Clark shot his segment in New York City Wednesday morning in what we're told is an entertaining spot — described by one source who saw it as "a General Clark you may not expect."
Clark dances and sings (praises)
Oct. 30 — So what did Ron Klain, Mickey Kantor, and Bill Oldaker miss at the red, white, and blue themed evening fundraiser for the General (yes, their name tags were still on the reception table at the end of the evening, unclaimed … )? Well, most importantly, they missed The General's general, wife Gert, dancing to some Rusted Root on stage following her husband's remarks. Her arms were up in the air, her feet were moving, and she was grooving. After watching The General in an African American Methodist Church service this past Sunday, it's now evident which one of this couple has rhythm.
The General also sung praises for the Reverend Al Sharpton. After reiterating his harsh feelings for Bush, Clark said he's done criticizing Bush for the evening because all the Democratic candidates are "doing it." But he did go on to say that nobody criticizes Bush as well as Al Sharpton does, "I love Al Sharpton. He really knows how to put the point on it."
And, like all the candidates, General Clark is always trying out some new lines for his stump speech and last night was no different. He chose this fundraiser to preview a new one: Many in the Bush administration say, "it's better to be feared than liked. Well that may work on the frontier in Texas in the 1850s … " Insert giggles from audience.
And some Clark campaign staffers in Little Rock are waking up this week to find out they're being re-assigned to Oklahoma, South Carolina, and Virginia.
Clark adds Rubin as foreign policy advisor
Oct. 29 — On Today today, The General reiterated his stump criticisms of President Bush to Katie Couric, placing responsibility for the intelligence failures of September 11 squarely on the White House. Asked about the need for more troops in Iraq, Clark first said, 'I'd love to have more international troops' in Iraq, then shifted a bit: "I wouldn't support putting Turkish troops in there."
In staffing news, the Clark campaign on Tuesday snagged another high-profile Clinton administration commodity: Jamie Rubin is offering his services pro bono as senior foreign policy adviser.
The General taped a speech on national security in the 21st century Tuesday, which was beamed to a D.C. conference sponsored by The American Prospect and two research groups. Reporters from ABC News, the New York Times , and the Arkansas Democratic Gazette sat in the room in New Hampshire where Clark participated in the live broadcast.
After fumbling a bit while reading off the teleprompter, Clark's address picked up considerable speed. On 9/11, Clark said: "The losses we suffered on 9/11 — as tragic and horrible and as devastating as they were — have been magnified by the losses we've suffered since. We've lost allied support; we've lost our moral authority as the world's pre-eminent democracy; we've lost the respect, admiration, and esteem of millions in the word — especially in the Islamic world."
Kramer makes an entrance
Oct. 28 — Michael Kramer, formerly of the New York Daily News, left the paper and the "column-izing business" two weeks ago and was set to continue work on his books and a play when he received a call to join The General's staff.
"Wes asked me to do this," Kramer told ABC News. "This" is traveling with The General on the campaign trail, advising him on day-to-day issues from campaign strategy to media relations to speech preparations. Kramer has been on the trail now for about five days.
Clark and Kramer have been friends for years and it seems that the veteran campaign press reporter could not refuse a job as an insider campaign adviser. According to campaign sources, no specific position has yet been announced for Kramer.
ABC News got a "sneak peek" of Clark's health care policy speech, which he is set to deliver in New Hampshire today. It's The General's third New American Patriotism address, and will contain a plan to cover the uninsured and control costs, with an emphasis on children and preventive care.
"In recent weeks, as part of my New American Patriotism speech tour, I've laid out the type of choices we need to make to get our country moving forward when it comes to jobs, the deficit, and national service. However, I approach this as more than just the right choices — I approach this as someone who served in the U.S. Army for 34 years and got things done. I am not a career politician but someone who believes you must set goals and objectives and put a plan in place to reach those goals. In the Army, I had to make decisions every day about the welfare, safety and security of those who served with me. You couldn't pass the buck — you had to get the job done. No delays. No excuses. No apologies. We need to bring this "can do" approach and attitude to Washington, DC. Today, I want to speak about an issue that is one of the biggest challenges American families face today: the challenge of paying for decent health care."
"My plan for health reform addresses the daunting challenges faced by America's families. It provides real leadership and shifts the focus of the health care debate by insisting that any commitment to expanding health insurance be accompanied with a requirement to improve as well as expand coverage. It would improve health care by emphasizing prevention, medical outcomes accountability, and cost effectiveness, all the while guaranteeing universal coverage for children and access for all Americans."
The plan's three main components: focusing on prevention and management; universal coverage for children and universal access to insurance for all Americans; extra assistance for low-income adults, the unemployed, military reservists and their families, veterans and small businesses.
Students give Clark a pop quiz during dinner
Oct. 27 — General Clark may not be a career politician, but he acted like one this weekend.
At a private dinner in downtown Manchester Friday evening, the waitress came by The General's table to tell him that some students from a local prep school (and their parents) were in the back room wanting to meet him.
Clark put down his salad fork and headed to the back of the room, where a spontaneous town hall meeting broke out. When his curious dinner guests went into the back room to see where Clark had gone for so long, students were heard quizzing The General on topics like the Middle East.
And, before the forum ended and before Clark headed back to his table to eat his entrée, he remembered he had a Clark04 pin in his pocket. He took it out to pin it on one woman whom he later referred to as a "Republican for Clark."
General listens while his voice recovers
Oct. 24 — General Clark went on a listening tour Thursday in New Hampshire after a relapse of laryngitis rendered him barely audible on the campaign trail. It seemed to be all anybody could talk about: "Is The General taking medicine?" "How did he re-lose his voice?" "Is the campaign frustrated that the candidate cannot speak?"
The answers to the above quiz: Clark is drinking lots of hot water with honey; he told a small group of reporters he lost his voice after speaking at a fundraiser Wednesday evening at the Sheraton hotel in New York City (but campaign staff on the road say The General's voice was going out during interviews following his economic policy address); and as for frustrations, the traveling staff did not seem too bothered by The General's condition — they just reminded him to stop whispering.
Clark attended the New Hampshire State Democratic Party's Jefferson-Jackson Day Dinner in Manchester last night. He was the only Democratic presidential candidate to attend, although Lieberman's son attended, as did Gephardt's daughter and supporters and regional staff for Dean and Lieberman.
Sitting at a table next to The General was Dick Swett, sans wife, Katrina. Swett wore a Lieberman sticker (Katrina is an outspoken supporter of Lieberman) but told ABC News he respected General Clark and wished his friend well in the race. Democratic National Committee Chair Terry McAuliffe and Governor Jeanne Shaheen both spoke.
The General is reluctant to mount an offensive
Oct. 23 —
For now, General Clark is staying above the fray and holding back on attacking any of the other Democratic candidates. At the Phoenix debate, Clark said, "I am not going to attack a fellow Democrat, because I think everybody on this stage shares the same goal."
And, Clark has even gone so far to commend some of his opponents--most recently this week in Nashua he spoke of John Kerry's decision not to vote for the $87 billion saying: "I'm proud of the fact that John Kerry didn't vote for it."
Unlike the other Democratic campaigns, the Clark '04 campaign has not put out any negative releases. This is not to say the campaign staff will never attack. In fact, in reaction to the AP's Lieberman story yesterday where Lieberman implies Clark is "Bush lite" to his "lifelong Democrat," Clark spokeswoman Kym Spell responded by saying: "The reason that most Democrats and most Americans see Joe Lieberman as aligned with George Bush is because many of his positions are Republican and conservative positions."
One of the first comments amongst the press after General Clark concluded his economic policy speech yesterday was how passionately he spoke at his economic speech, often times yelling to get his point across. One reporter said, "For a guy with laryngitis, he sure yelled a lot."
But alas, the use of his loud voice was a brief respite for Clark. Late last night members of the press were contacted by the campaign with news that the General has again lost his voice. His Concord, New Hampshire, event has been officially postponed and New Hampshire Political Director Steve Bouchard told ABC News he was looking to schedule a replacement campaign stop for Clark where he wouldn't have to use his voice. Clark told his staff he still wanted to campaign today in New Hampshire as scheduled.
The Clark campaign is also announcing some staff assignments beginning today. Amongst those, Chris Lehane, formerly of the Kerry campaign, will be joining the Clark campaign officially as a part-time advisor. Lehane could not be reached for comment on his new staff position. And Bill Buck who has been serving as spokesman and traveling press secretary for the campaign is now officially with new title--Deputy Communications Director. Buck will serve as the Communications Director and primary spokesperson for the New Hampshire campaign.
And speaking of New Hampshire, the biggest news this morning would have to be the snow everybody is waking up to that makes one think, if it's snowing in October it has to be really cold and snowy by January. Also, buy boots.
Clark Campaign Previews Economic Speech in New Hampshire
Oct. 22 — The Clark campaign told ABCNEWS that in Manchester, N.H., at the site of a converted mill, Clark will release his plan to save more than $2 trillion over the next decade and cut the deficit in each and every year. The core of the Clark "Saving for America's Future" plan calls for saving money in four major areas:
1) A tax plan that asks Americans making more than $200,000 to give back the windfall they received under the Bush tax cuts.
2) Cutting Washington spending: "On defense, The general will support every dime we need to keep America strong but he will not tolerate billions of dollars of waste or inefficiency just because it has a military label on it," the campaign said.
3) Getting rid of corporate tax loopholes.
4) Changing the distribution of costs to rebuild and do business in Iraq so the United States is not the lone funder.
Tuesday's theme for the Clark campaign could be something like — "say what?" Clark's slow recovery from laryngitis had him speaking to local business people in Nashua at nothing higher than a whisper. And the image of the day became reporters cocking their heads to catch one soundbite from the quiet general.
Perhaps to make up for the hard-to-hear campaigning, Clark did hold a mini press conference at the end of his Nashua stop. On New Hampshire, he said, "I'll be here about half the time between now and the elections."
Later, when a reporter asked why he would spend so much time in New Hampshire knowing of Dean and Kerry's head starts, Clark said: "I think you have to be realistic about what your expectations are. But hey look, I spent my life working to win, OK? I'm not conceding anything."
Clark Teams Strategizes for the Granite State
Oct. 20 — In their first conference call today, communications director Matt Bennett and New Hampshire State director Steve Bouchard gave some insight into the campaign's approach in New Hampshire now that they're bagging Iowa.
"I think if we can finish in the top four we're competitive and moving on," Bennett said.
The Clark campaign clearly appears wary of New England candidates like Dean and Kerry who have been campaigning heavily in New Hampshire, both physically and over the airwaves.
Bennett also said Clark and the campaign "want to pick their battles and not their campaigns in the best terrain they got," focusing on New Hampshire and talking again about what one senior adviser called the "MacArthur strategy."
The general's campaign is now officially in New Hampshire, kicking off the week with a campaign stop in Nashua to talk with local business leaders and citizens about the economy and preview his second of four policy speeches.
While the campaign was reluctant to release Clark's doctor's name, several campaign staffers said Clark is getting over a very bad viral throat infection and laryngitis, but that he is definitely on the road to recovery. Clark hasn't ever had laryngitis, so ABCNEWS contacted some doctors in the ear, nose, and throat field to see what they thought about this sickness that has kept him off the campaign trail for four days. The response was overwhelmingly the same: He shall be fine.
One doctor added, "I would guess he has been talking a lot more than usual and shaking lots of hands which can result in self-inoculation with viruses. President Clinton commonly had hoarseness for long periods due to his allergies and need to talk for long periods. Regular public speakers should learn proper vocal technique to avoid injuring their vocal apparatus, but often they do not do so."
As for Mrs. Clark — you won't see her on the campaign trail this week. Aside from numerous volunteer commitments, Mrs. Clark told ABCNEWS that she will be traveling to California for her daughter-in-law's baby shower.
Clark's Cold Causes Schedule Changes
Oct. 17 — General Clark has been sick and it's gotten worse. His scratchy voice and cold seemed to have become the flu or a throat infection.
So, in a last minute decision yesterday, Clark took his charter plane back home to Little Rock, Ark., rather than continue onto Michigan for the Arab American League Conference as scheduled.
The campaign has not formally announced that the general has had to cancel. Traveling press secretary to the campaign, Jamal Simmons, is in Detroit as a possible surrogate for the campaign.