PHOENIX, ARIZ., Feb. 2 — Gen. Clark does not seem nervous with fewer than 24 hours left before the Feb. 3 primary. As the press descended from the charter in Phoenix on Monday, Clark stood at the bottom of the stairs saying to each reporter, "Welcome to Tucson." With final stops in New Mexico and Arizona on Monday, Clark seems hopeful on the stump, asking supporters to bring friends to the polls, saying he is "one tough hombre" who can beat Bush, and rallying his troops to what he hopes are some victories on Wednesday.
There's no mention by name of the man whose initials are JFK, but each time The General says he "isn't a Washington politician" or talks of his humble upbringing in his stump, you can guess who Clark's thinking about.
The campaign and the candidate maintain that they're not worried about tomorrow and that they see multiple wins in sight. Before taking off from Tucson to Phoenix on Monday, reporters asked Clark how he feels heading into Wednesday: "Oh, I'm going to win," he said matter of factly.
What states? Asked one reporter.
"Well, I'm not going to name states, but I'll win."
How many? More than one? Reporters shout out.
"I'm going to win. I'm going to win, I'm going to win, let's just leave it at that." Playing it cool, he takes a sip of water.
And the Clark campaign seems to agree that the victories they want are in Arizona, New Mexico, and Oklahoma. In the past few days, Clark has hopped between the three states, seeming to have given up on South Carolina. Clark's communications strategist, Chris Lehane, explains that "there's a big difference between actually being born in South Carolina and spending a couple of years campaigning there and being positioned there as the native son than being from Arkansas which is a couple states away." Lehane attributed Kerry's high poll numbers in South Carolina to the "good bounce out of Iowa and New Hampshire."
Clark will spend the big day Wednesday in Oklahoma City with two public events packed between satellite TV and radio time. After the polls close, the Clark caravan is wheels up for Memphis, Tenn., looking ahead to some Southern support and a little BBQ.
Arizona, Oklahoma, North Dakota, and New Mexico will continue to run "Future" and "Prepared" ads for election day; South Carolina, "Future" and "Believe." In the Feb. 10 states of Tennessee and Virginia, where General Clark and company is scheduled to swing through on a bus tour beginning on Wednesday, the campaign is currently airing "Major" and "Hope" ads in Tennessee and "Secretary" in Virginia.
FLAGSTAFF, Ariz., Feb. 1 — On the weekend before the Feb. 3 primary, the news of the Clark campaign was less about where Gen. Clark was heading and more about how he was getting there. Over the course of three days, Clark and the press had four planes -- the last of the bunch, a 32-seat propeller jet that could only hold The General, his press secretary, his brother-in-law, his trip director, his body man, a campaign press advance staffer, and varying numbers of press. Clark, unhappy with the prop jet and its third day in rotation, got on the plane Sunday and speaking loudly on his cell phone explained why the campaign needed a new plane: "It makes the campaign look second class." Plane number five will rotate in on Tuesday.