Dennis Kucinich on the Campaign Trail

The self-proclaimed "live music capital of the world" was abuzz with talk of the candidate's appearance, making it one of the very few cities Kucinich has visited where the majority of people actually know who he is and even actively support him. Scores of local television crews appeared at every event, hardly a regular occurrence for the media-starved Kucinich, and a familiar sight around town was the "Kucinich-mobile," a VW bug belonging to a fuscia-haired local supporter, painted with red and white stripes and blue lettering spelling out Kucinich's key issues and plastered with "We Want the Kooch!" bumper stickers. According to the campaign (but not confirmed by Capitol police), between 800 and 1,000 people turned out to hear the Congressman's fiery anti-war speech on the Capitol steps, which culminated with Kucinich carrying around a small girl waving a rainbow-colored peace banner while the crowd struck up a chorus of "Give Peace a Chance."

Kucinich will continue to press the theme he pounded home in Austin, that this election will be a referendum on Iraq and as the only candidate pledging to get troops out immediately he will emerge victorious, as he spends the next several weeks in Iowa and New Hampshire. He will also tout his most recent fundraising numbers as thrusting him into the stratosphere of the top-tier candidates, which with the approximate 4th quarter earnings of $1.6 million bringing the total to about $5 million, with matching funds eventually pushing the number up to about $9 million.

On the attack

NEW YORK, Dec. 18 — In a speech in Mt. Vernon, Iowa Thursday, Rep. Kucinich beefed up criticism of his fellow candidates for not proposing immediate exit strategies in Iraq, and continued to insist that Saddam Hussein's capture offers the perfect opportunity to get out of Iraq and hand the operation over to the UN.

While he has always singled himself out as the only candidate with a plan to bring U.S. troops home immediately, the speech signifies a new willingness to attack his rivals on the issue. To Kucinich, if it was wrong to go in, it's wrong to stay in, and if the other candidates propose staying in then they're no better than Bush: "Almost all the other presidential candidates are now going along with the Bush Administration's military occupation. That's why I'm here, to tell you there is another voice, and it is a voice that has been consistent and will not be relenting until we get out of Iraq."

Let's give 'em something to talk about

NEW YORK CITY, Dec. 15 — The Kucinich campaign was all aflutter today with the formal announcement that soul/country/rock queen Bonnie Raitt is joining the lineup of a benefit concert on Jan. 3 that already includes "living legend" Willie Nelson, the Dave Matthews Band's Tim Reynolds, and folk singer Michelle Shocked. The concert will take place in hipster music capital of the world Austin, Texas, and is being billed as "an evening of acoustic music" on the countrified poster now dominating the campaign website's homepage.

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