But the campaign knows this is not the same race. Come Tuesday, it's a four-man race as Kerry, Edwards, and Dean join Clark in New Hampshire. And, as for the Clark campaign, they're not sure of: a) how The General will handle opposition attacks; and 2) how Clark will deal with the press' spotlight and constant attention. Clark's communication director Matt Bennett describes Dean saying: "He's from next-door, he's got a ton of dough, he's just put another $160,000 bucks on Boston TV, and, you know, he's got a smart, aggressive campaign staff. He's proved to be a formidable candidate." As for Kerry, staffers acknowledge that New Hampshire will be comfortable turf, but Clark is ready to put up the fight.
Life outside of New Hampshire
DILLON, S.C., Jan. 15 - Twelve days left until New Hampshire and Clark is determined to show that he's running strong in the Granite State while continuing to run a national campaign. On Thursday Clark spent over four hours round-trip traveling to one Feb 3 state just to conduct a "Conversation with Clark."
Clark's South Carolina state political director, Scott Anderson, told reporters that the state now has 40 paid full-time staffers and ten volunteers with more coming this week. The Clark04 campaign has opened five offices in the last forty-five days: Florence, Charleston, Orangeburg, Greenville, and Columbia.
It's a new operation down South, but Anderson says that in the last 30 days the campaign has doubled its effort in the state and, more recently, he's noticed the shift toward potential voter interest in the presidential hopefuls. For Clark, South Carolina is important for the veteran vote. The campaign has a statewide veteran's coordinator and an operation that calls veterans directly to ask for their vote. "Democratic voters in this state respond better to a General running than maybe some of the other primary states just because there is such a strong military history here and that cuts across racial, economic, class lines," says Anderson.
As for the African American and women vote, the campaign has been airing radio ads heavily since early December on African American gospel radio as well as urban stations. On Monday, Clark returns to South Carolina to celebrate Martin Luther King Day in Columbia and Greenville.
And this morning, back in New Hampshire, General Clark will announce the creation of the "Reading Room"-a place where the press and public can come to find out about Clark's personal and financial track record. In a room at the Sheraton Four Points Hotel in Manchester, the campaign will make available Clark's past five years' income tax returns, his public financial disclosure report, his complete military records, his complete documentation of speaking fees, his voter registration form, his House Armed Services Committee Testimony, and his Senate Armed Services Committee Testimony. The documents should be scanned and up on the website in the next few days.
Senior communications strategist Chris Lehane explained the reasons behind this announcement to reporters in the lobby of the Four Points hotel Thursday night, labeling it a "very explicit way to draw distinctions with George W. Bush" and calling the Bush administration "inaccessible." The subtle subtext? A poke at Dean, who sealed his records as Vermont Governor.
Withstanding the Attacks