— -- ABCNEWS' Monica Ackerman traveled with former Illinois Sen. Carol Moseley Braun as she campaigned for the presidency. Scroll down for her reports.
"Nine, Ten, Nine, Now Eight"
Jan. 15 - It's the end of the road or perhaps just the beginning for Ambassador Carol Moseley Braun. Democratic sources say the Ambassador has dropped out of the presidential race. But she's not leaving quietly. Sources say Moseley Braun will endorse Howard Dean today as she exits the race.
News of her departure broke soon after Moseley Braun appeared as a guest on the Daily Show with John Stewart. During the show she gave no clue of her decision. John Stewart asked the Ambassador how she reacts to people calling her a long shot. Moseley Braun replied, "I ignore it." Throughout the show, Moseley Braun maintained her signature smile as she joked about Bush, Mars and the Iowa Caucus.
The Moseley Braun campaign is not commenting on the decision. However, both Howard Dean and the Ambassador will make an appearance tomorrow in Carroll, Iowa.A source close to the National Organization for Women tells ABC News that Howard Dean made a "good appearance at a NOW conference back in July." At the conference, Dean noted that it was a politician's worst nightmare having to speak after Moseley Braun at a NOW meeting. Whether or not NOW will pass along their endorsement to Dean is something the Political Action Committee will have to decide.
According to the Moseley Braun campaign, they will continue with their travel plans to South Carolina this weekend.
Moseley Braun misses Iowa event
NEW YORK CITY, Jan. 13 — Ambassador Carol Moseley Braun missed her only public event of the day in Iowa yesterday. According to the Director of the Iowa/Nebraska Primary Health Care Association, Ted Boesen, they had been planning the event for a week. A staffer at the Primary Health Care center decided to pull the plug when the campaign called late Friday to confirm their attendance. Mr. Boesen said the staffer cancelled because of the late confirmation.
Yet, for some reason, physicians and patients were awaiting the Ambassador's arrival yesterday. Campaign Manager Patricia Ireland says she's "horrified" by the whole situation. Mr. Boesen says it was a matter of miscommunication. He went on to say that he admires the Ambassador's run for presidency. He also would have liked the publicity. Senator Kerry spoke to the association at their Waterloo site. Rep. Kucinich was scheduled to speak at another site this Friday, but cancelled.
The misunderstanding should not affect Moseley Braun's standing in Iowa. Ireland has already said "they're not playing" in the Hawkeye State. Moseley Braun won't even be in Iowa for the Caucus. Instead, the Ambassador will spend Martin Luther King Day in South Carolina.
Banking on the South
NEW YORK CITY, Jan. 6 —South Carolina, that's where Ambassador Carol Moseley Braun's campaign manager, Patricia Ireland, believes the campaign will do their best. Moseley Braun often says she is doing better than other better funded candidates. The latest South Carolina Pew Research Center poll has the Ambassador tied with Sen. John Kerry at 3 percent. Moseley Braun recently opened up an office in the Feb. 3 primary state. It's the campaign's only field office. Ireland says they were able to gather 6,000 signatures in South Carolina in six days, all with the help of volunteers.
In New Hampshire, Ireland says she doesn't have much of a read. As far as Iowa is concerned, she doesn't think they'll play well.
Ireland says they can't afford to pay the accountants enough to both file for the 4th quarter and do the matching funds paperwork. Instead, campaigner Jessie Washington, has been put in charge of the "tedious" matching funds work.
As far as 4th quarter funds are concerned, Ireland estimates that they took in between 150-200 thousand dollars.
"I didn't sign onto the campaign to beat my head up against a wall; I think this campaign can do something," Patricia Irelands says optimistically.
Va. out of the equation, Xanthopoulo back to Fla.
NEW YORK, Dec. 17 —Moseley Braun's campaign got a wake-up call last Friday. The campaign was 700 signatures short of making the Virginia Democratic primary ballot. Campaign manager Patricia Ireland said that although Virginia is a fairly conservative state, the campaign was hoping to do all right there. Each of the other eight Democratic candidates got the 10,000 names required by the State Board of Elections. In Ireland's words, not getting on was "a messed up task that we didn't get." Campaign officials also feel that now they will have more time to focus on New Hampshire and South Carolina.
The campaign's deputy manager, Paula Xanthopoulou, who had just recently relocated to Chicago to work out of the campaign's headquarters, is now moving back to Florida. Xanthopoulou will return to her home state to focus on campaign filing, according to Ireland.
Moseley Braun continues call for international help
NEW YORK, Dec. 14 — News of Saddam Hussein's capture was broken to Ambassador Moseley Braun by phone early yesterday morning in Chicago. According to a campaign spokesperson, her first response was "Hurray." Hussein's capture does not change anything on the campaign, Moseley Braun's spokesperson, Loretta Kane, said. Kane also said that they will continue to stress the need to build a coalition with countries around the world to restore peace in Iraq.
Moseley Braun makes primary plans
CONCORD, N.H., Dec. 10 — Ambassador Carol Moseley Braun still does not have a field office in either New Hampshire or Iowa. When she was asked about her rare appearances in New Hampshire, she said she has plans to campaign more in the Granite State. Where exactly? She named a few cities, but the name of one escaped her. "It's somewhere up north," she said.
Rep. Clyburn's endorsement for Rep. Gephardt was no surprise to the ambassador. "It doesn't affect us one way or the other."
Moseley Braun pays homage to Simon
DURHAM, N.H., Dec. 10 — In the spin room After the debate, Ambassador Carol Moseley Braun, still recovering from bronchitis, finally commented on Al Gore's endorsement. "I was as surprised by it as everyone else. He didn't owe me a phone call, but I was a little surprised he didn't call Joe Lieberman. He has made his own decisions."
Yet another endorsement question. Moseley Braun's campaign was quick to send out a statement on Former Senator Paul Simon's death. The Ambassador called Simon a "dear friend". When Ted Koppel asked her about the possibility of Al Gore transferring some of his African-American allegiance to Howard Dean, the Ambassador defaulted by discussing Paul Simon.
"I just spoke with Paul on Sunday before he died today, and we had a conversation because he had endorsed Governor Dean in Iowa. And he was going to great lengths to explain to me that he liked you, Governor Dean, he loved me, and that it didn't mean that he was detracting from his endorsement of my candidacy at all."
Moseley Braun focuses on recovering voice
PORTSMOUTH, N.H., Dec. 8 —Campaign manager Patricia Ireland called the Gore-Dean news "an interesting development." Ambassador Moseley Braun declined to issue a statement.
Bronchitis will not stop Moseley Braun from participating in today's debate. She'll focus on the latest spending bill and its impact in New Hampshire. She will also push the issue of disability acts because of what the campaign regards as a large number of people with disabilities in the state.
An Uphill Battle
WASHINGTON, D.C., Dec. 4 — In yet another non-political stump speech, Ambassador Carol Moseley Braun addressed students from the Women's Leadership Program at George Washington University. Moseley Braun, however, was able to get around the non-political speech aspect when the Q&A started. One student asked her why she's running for president. "Can I answer that question?" the Ambassador asked the event's host. "Please do!" That led Moseley Braun to talk about her candidacy and platform. But, before the questions had even begun, Moseley Braun paused, trying to make out what Campaign Manager Patricia Ireland, was silently mouthing to her from the back of the room. Finally, Ireland yelled out, "The steel tariffs have been lifted." After the speech, the Ambassador told ABC, "After the WTO ruling, it was inevitable that the tariffs would be lifted or we'd suffer on international sanctions; it's a good thing, and it will help us with our trade positions across the board."
"Ambassador, what are your strengths and weaknesses?" another student asked. Moseley Braun said her strengths as a presidential candidate are her credentials. She believes she has more experience than most of the other candidates. Her weaknesses, she explained are three: lack of funding, having been out of politics for the past three years and the problems she faced during her Senate reelection campaign. "It has been an uphill battle," Moseley Braun told the students.
Due to sickness, Ambassador Carol Moseley Braun will not be attending the Florida Democratic Party Convention this weekend. Her campaign wants her well rested for Tuesday's debate in New Hampshire.
Gay Marriage Backlash
ROCKFORD, ILL., Dec. 2 — Before a room full of Rock Valley College students and staff, an African-American man in the audience disrupted what had been a low-key campaign stop when he told Ambassador Carol Moseley Braun that she and Rev. Sharpton had betrayed voters.
"Both you and Sharpton strongly support gay marriage and partial birth abortion," he said. "You two have betrayed voters like myself who have always supported you. I know for a fact that if you make gay marriage legal, there won't be a single African-American church that will marry them."
Moseley Braun and Sharpton have both called gay marriage a civil rights issue, likening it to interracial marriages that used to be illegal. Moseley Braun responded that for her, the issue is guided by the same kind of philosophy that freed African-Americans from slavery. Before handlers asked him to step aside, the man stood up with a picture of his family, pointing out that his wife is white and saying he was offended that she would compare his family to a homosexual union.
CHICAGO, DEC. 1 — As I sat in one of Ambassador Carol Moseley Braun's campaign office rooms waiting to hear where I will be venturing off to next, I noticed calendars posted all over the walls. Filing dates, debates, primaries and fundraisers were all written on post-its and stuck on the calendars. The phone rang every so often on one of the campaign's five lines. "Carol Moseley Braun for President," someone would answer. A couple of newspaper clips were piled on top of each other, the most visible one featuring Reverend Al Sharpton. Staffers kept on coming into the room and checking the calendars. The Media Coordinator wandered by, checking to see if the schedule was out yet. "Almost," Chris Drew, the scheduler replied. The campaign was bustling, preparing for what I'm told will be a busy week.
An optimistic Patricia Ireland, Moseley Braun's new campaign manager, says the campaign is working on raising enough money to qualify for matching funds. So far, they have qualified in eleven states. Ireland says they're very close to qualifying in Georgia, Colorado and Texas. Ireland seemed confident that her ties with the National Organization for Women will help bring in the needed amount. She said that while the campaign did not meet the matching funds' goal it had set for itself, it will still have enough money to continue. And while some of the frontrunners are buying spots on television, Moseley Braun's campaign is working on radio ads in South Carolina.
Moseley Braun praises diversity
Nov. 20 — Ambassador Carol Moseley Braun gave one "non-political" and "one political" speech on a very wet D.C. Wednesday. The latter was at the American University's College of Law, where she said that 50 years ago the room would have been filled with people who all looked alike. Now "I see the world," she said describing all the different cultures and backgrounds of those listening.
Moseley Braun even used some French on the students. "Le plus ca change. Le plus ca reste le meme," meaning each generation gets to make the previous generations' mistakes. She appeared to have struck a cord with the crowd — one student was especially impressed when Moseley Braun signed her petition for oral contraceptives to be included in student health care coverage.
The "political speech" was to of mostly African-American students at the University of the District of Columbia. Here Moseley Braun was able to distribute "Vote for Carol" signs and sure urged students to support her. "I fought for the statehood of D.C.," Moseley Braun said, drawing a considerable amount of cheers. Nobody seemed to notice when the president of UDC thanked "Ms. Brown" instead of Ms. Braun.
Moseley Braun's campaign says even if she comes in second in the D.C. primary, she'll still be a winner.
Nov. 18 — Her house was crumbling down, but Ambassador Carol Moseley Braun is hoping a new addition to her team will help rebuild what little remains standing. Over the past couple of days the Ambassador lost two consultants and a treasurer. Former Treasurer Billie Paige, a longtime friend, has not answered phone calls regarding her resignation. She has already been replaced. And Moseley Braun is also "in negotiations" to bring on two new consultants.
The changes appear not to bother Moseley Braun in the slightest. Could it be because she has managed to draft the former president of the National Organization for Women as her new campaign manager? Patricia Ireland spent her first day on Team Braun yesterday. "I see it as a very exciting time to help change the course of politics in this country." Ireland compared her future contributions to a tree that falls in the forest when nobody's there. "I have the ability to amplify and organize."
The apparent problem suffocating Moseley Braun's campaign is money. On "Hardball" last night with Chris Matthews, Moseley Braun said her campaign has spent half a million dollars so far.
Moseley Braun also Noted that she spent 10 times that amount when she ran for Senate. Ireland says she knows "how to pick pockets. When I worked at NOW, I started with a million dollars negative net worth, brought it in to solvency and then passed that."
Moseley Braun finds support in Ireland
Nov. 17 — Former President of the National Organization for Women Patricia Ireland is taking over as Ambassador Carol Moseley Braun's campaign manager. Ireland was the longest serving NOW president (1991-2001). The Ambassador says she believes the change "will make a huge difference." In 1992, when Carol Moseley Braun ran for Senate, Patricia Ireland helped gather support for her. Moseley Braun's campaign has already received NOW and the National Women's Political Caucus' endorsement. The endorsements, which occurred over two months ago, have yet to show financial rewards for the campaign. The 3rd quarter brought in only $125,000, leaving her far behind most of the other candidates. Moseley Braun says she has no idea what to expect from the fourth quarter. The change in management is all part of what Carol Moseley Braun calls, "going into the final stretch."
In other staffing news, over the weekend two of Moseley Braun's consultants quit. The husband and wife team, Kevin Lampe and Kitty Kurth, played a major role in the campaign. Kevin Lampe served as both political consultant and press secretary. He was also the most accessible person on the campaign. The duo said they quit for personal reasons. The ambassador already has two replacement consultants.
"Stay Tuned" is what Ambassador Moseley Braun kept on repeating to reporters over the weekend. "What is happening to your campaign?" Who's coming in?" "Are you dropping out?" we asked. "Stay Tuned!" she would say again. "The changes will be good." Perhaps that is why the ambassador appeared not the least bit worried at the Jefferson Jackson Dinner. Despite losing two key figures to her campaign, entering the auditorium after Governor Howard Dean and before Senator Hillary Clinton, and not only being the last speaker, but also having to follow Howard Dean's energetic speech, the ambassador did what she came to do. Her speech drew a decent amount of applause and cheers. A cheerful Ambassador Moseley Braun ended her night twirling around the stage with Governor Howard Dean.
Nov. 14 — Can we expect anything new from Ambassador Carol Moseley Braun this Saturday at the Jefferson Jackson dinner? According to her campaign consultant, "no." She will stick to her same economy and war in Iraq issues. It'll be interesting to watch the Ambassador's interaction with Senator Hillary Clinton. In a last effort to help Moseley Braun get re-elected to the Senate in 1998, then-First Lady Hillary Clinton campaigned and helped her fundraise in Chicago. Mrs. Clinton also appeared in a television commercial asking voters to support the Moseley Braun that she had seen in the Senate.
Moseley Braun visits with veterans
Nov. 12 — "By the way Ambassador Carol Moseley Braun, how's your campaign going?" reporters asked the ambassador yesterday while she visited veterans at a Chicago VA Hospital. Moseley Braun repeatedly cited the most recent Newsweek poll, in which she and Sen. John Kerry are tied at 7 percent. This poll has her campaign on a natural high. But the numbers probably don't have the same effect on Sen. Kerry. The ambassador quickly commented on how the poll probably has John Kerry wanting to "slit his wrists."
Veterans knew exactly who Carol Moseley Braun was as she walked through the in-patient ward. Even those who could barely move recognized her. One patient pulled the ambassador close to his bed giving her a huge hug. "Carol, How ya doing?" he asked. "Isn't this a joy?" another veteran said. He then asked which public office was her favorite. "Ambassador to New Zealand," she replied. Moseley Braun often refers to her tenure in New Zealand as being "ambassador to paradise." Another veteran even gave Moseley Braun a demonstration on the proper way to hold a lady's hand. "You've held so many public offices and often men grab your hand like football players do; I grab your hand with my right and then caress it with my left hand."
Moseley Braun moves (literally), new staffer moves in (to the campaign that is)
Nov. 10 — Ambassador Carol Moseley Braun was out of the public's eye this weekend, reportedly moving in her hometown, Chicago. And speaking of moving, the Ambassador has someone new "managing the operation": Paula Xanthopoulou, the Florida president of the National Women's Political Caucus, has temporarily moved to Chicago to, in her words, "manage the operation," but not necessarily to be the campaign's manager.
An endorsement with less fanfare
Nov. 7 — "Which endorsement is that?" Michael Fitzgerald replied when asked for his opinion on Howard Dean's SEIU endorsement. Talk about raining on Ambassador Carol Moseley Braun's parade. Moseley Braun stood in a small Chicago conference room yesterday while Fitzgerald, Business Manager of IBEW's local 134, read his personal endorsement statement in front of four journalists and four of Moseley Braun's campaign staff.
"Word spreads quickly," Moseley Braun's consultant, Kevin Lampe, said in hope that others will follow Fitzgerald's lead. Fitzgerald is going to head up the "Fitzgerald's for Moseley Braun committee."