ABCNEWS' Deborah Apton was on the trail with retired Gen. Wesley Clark as he ran for president. For all of her reports, scroll down.
There are days and there are days …
MEMPHIS, TENN., Feb. 10 — Gen.Clark's presidential campaign ended on Tuesday night just one week short of the five-month mark, making it the shortest run of all the Democratic hopefuls. And, just as Clark left press and supporters guessing last September whether he would or wouldn't run, he kept people guessing whether he would or wouldn't drop out. After delivering a "neither here nor there" speech to a group consisting mostly of Little Rock, Ark., staffers and supporters who migrated into Memphis, Tenn., Clark shook a few hands and headed for the door. Confused by the situation I asked Clark, "Are we still going to Wisconsin tomorrow?" His answer said what we'd later confirm was true: "We'll talk about everything tomorrow."
And tomorrow it is. At 3:00 pm ET, Clark will speak at the Peabody Hotel in Little Rock, Ark. and say what staffers confirmed the night before — that his stint in this race has ended.
While Clark spent the morning of his last day on the trail campaigning around Memphis, stopping cars in the street to yell, "I need your help," Clark's traveling staff spent the last day with cameras in hand, snapping last-minute shots. And then there was the press, who spent the day guessing whether the next stop on the Wes Express was The Rock or Wisconsin.
The Clark communications staff spent most of the day under wraps, leaving press without a chaperone for a three-hour bus ride, as well as before and after Clark's speech. To find out what was going on after a blasé speech by Clark, reporters decided to congregate outside the hotel suite where communications staff sat. At least 20 journalists, including those from CBS, CNN, the New York Times , the Boston Globe , Newsweek, and the Washington Post , stood waiting for somebody to tell them something. Twenty-five minutes later they got communications director Matt Bennett, who ultimately broke the news.
For Clark, who spent late Tuesday evening at dinner in Memphis with his wife, Gert, and son, Wes II, the experience has been one he surely won't forget. But while Clark became schooled the ways of politics and the stump speech, there are some things he never learn, like facing the cameras in press avails. Whether he comes back as a running mate is still unknown, according to Bennett.
On Wednesday at 8:30am The General, his family, staff and press will drive to Little Rock, Ark. Clark is not scheduled for any television or radio before the concession speech.
To Win or Not to Win …
RACINE, Wis., Feb. 8 — Flying to and from Wisconsin on Sunday there are less press and less staff with The General. A smaller plane forced some staffers to fly ahead to Nashville, leaving only Clark's trip director and press secretary to fly alongside him. Some traveling press have taken off for the weekend and will be meeting up come Monday. All in all, it's quiet and somewhat calm in the face of the packed schedule. Clark is laughing, eating popcorn and drinking grape juice — all the while seeming relaxed in the face of questions about his future. It seems he's not backing down from the "fight."
There seem to be three possible scenarios for Clark come Feb. 10 (Virginia doesn't play a part in any of them because even Clark discounts Virginia when talking about "winning") — three possibilities that the press like to bounce off one another throughout the day.
1. Clark comes wins Tennessee. He goes on to Madison, Wis. on Wednesday.
2. Clark comes in second behind Kerry, but beats Edwards in Tennessee. As the "new Southern favorite," Clark campaigns in Madison, Wis. on Wednesday.
3. Clark comes in third behind Kerry, behind Edwards. The Clark family and Clark campaign must decide if they want to head to Wisconsin …
Standing next to Wisconsin Gov. Jim Doyle on Sunday, Clark spoke with confidence that he'd be in Wisconsin to campaign next week. Here's how the exchange went:
--Will you campaign no matter what the result in Tennessee?
--"Well I intend to win Tennessee and be campaigning here next week, absolutely. That's my expectation."
--But if you don't win, will you still come to Wisconsin?
--"Absolutely. That's exactly right."
But for now, the Clark campaign has not run ads in Wisconsin since Feb. 3. And, according Matt Bennett, the campaign has not decided yet which ads will go up when. But Bennett says with confidence that after Feb. 10 the campaign will have ads up in Wisconsin in time for the Feb. 17 primary.
Clark will spend Monday and Tuesday campaigning around Tennessee. The final push, one-state strategy, is the same one the campaign used in Oklahoma — an outcome which the Clark campaign would happily repeat.
A Little More Competition
OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla., Feb. 3— Oooooklahoma. The slight win in the state allowed Clark to declare victory Tuesday evening throwing out the pun to supporters in his victory speech: "Oklahoma is OK by me." The one-state-win also allowed The General a reason to stay in the race and a chance to compete in the Feb. 10 primary states and perhaps even beyond.
Following the victory speech, the staff on hand spoke about the three states where Clark came in second. And earlier in the night on the way to the party site, Mrs. Clark told her husband, "You got to look at the seconds in all the other states, you can't just look at one state." One senior campaign staffer said that the campaign plans to be competitive in Tennessee this week, a move that would pin Clark against Edwards for the Southern vote.
Beginning Wednesday morning, the Clark campaign begins a bus tour — the first two days in Tennessee, then two days in Virginia beginning Friday. Reporters received the Wednesday public schedule after midnight on Wednesday, leaving them to speculate that schedulers in Clark's Little Rock office were waiting to hear the results out of Oklahoma before locking in the schedule. Other possible stops on Clark's schedule this week include Detroit, Michigan and Wisconsin.
Clark's advertising in Tennessee, Virginia, and Wisconsin all expired on Tuesday, Feb. 3. Clark's press secretary, Bill Buck, tells ABC News that the campaign will continue to run ads in Tennessee beginning Wednesday, Feb. 4, but no details were available on that buy. Two advertisements, "Major" and "Hope," had both been in rotation in that state. As for the other states' advertising, the campaign has said they have not made any final decisions as of primary night as to how they'll proceed with buys.
Tomorrow. Tomorrow. You're only a day away.
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.
There are no plans on the schedule to go to South Carolina anymore and at this point, Clark will never go to Missouri to campaign for that primary. Instead it seems clear that the campaign is focusing on wins in Oklahoma and New Mexico on Wednesday, having also announced they will be spending the evening of the primary in Oklahoma City, Okla. before heading out late in the evening for Memphis, Tenn.
The Clark campaign is not conducting internal polls in the Feb. 3 states, according to Matt Bennett, because of the cost; they are relying on public polls instead. Bennett says once this primary is done, they will evaluate where to poll next.
And in this time of uncertainty, there is talk of the future of the Clark campaign and no signs that it is slowing down. With a packed campaign schedule and no down days, Clark's traveling press secretary, Jamal Simmons, is talking to press about possible campaign stops in Feb. 10 and 17 primary states. And Clark told one supporter in Lawton, Okla. on Sunday, "I will win Super Tuesday because people in New York and California like me a lot. And they know I'm the best person to beat Bush. You know, it's just the way it's gonna work."
A 'Lehanism': "As the days grow longer, we become stronger."
OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla., Jan. 28—New Hampshire seems like ages ago as Clark, staff, and press hop around to Oklahoma, New Mexico, and Arizona on the day after the primary. Campaign advance staff once trekking through snow to pound CLARK04 signs into frozen ground are now devoid of hats and scarves and on-hand to meet-and-greet in respective (and warmer) February 3rd states. And while New Hampshire days seemed long, they only get longer--campaign staff and press arrive in Oklahoma at 1:30am local time hoping to catch a couple of hours of sleep before the multi-state touring begins again.
For Clark, campaigning in the February 3rd states allows him to change his message and try new lines. Clark focuses on being an outsider in this race and on his values. In Tulsa on Wednesday morning, The General tries a more conservative message--he doesn't berate the POTUS as much as usual or talk about sexual orientation as a discriminating factor where it normally rolls off his tongue. Clark instead adds lines like--At nine years old "I accepted the Lord as my savior;" and "We are a nation that is a nation under God, we're the most religious country in the world." And finally, Clark has a new ending on the stump as he explains that "we need somebody from the heartlands" to bring the country together--"If you are happy with the direction of our country, you should support the politicians who are running it. But if you think we can build a better America, and you want someone who is part of the solution, then I am your candidate."
But even though there's a fast pace forward, there was some reflection on Tuesday's primary. Clark opened many of his rallies on Wednesday by saying that he "came in first in the non-New England, non-favorite son" primary. And Chris Lehane, Clark's communications strategist now back on the campaign trail swapping out communications director Matt Bennett, spoke about Clark's slight third place finish in Tuesday's primary he said: "You know, George Bush won by less than that and he's President today."
And on Thursday new ads named "Future" and "Believe" begin airing in 50/50 rotation in Arizona, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma and Wisconsin. "Future" is running 100 percent rotation in Feb. 17th State of WI. "Future" focuses on The General's Family's First tax reform plan. In the ad, Clark speaks to the camera, moving towards the camera as he "speaks. The ad focuses on Clark as a Washington outsider and begins: "Families are struggling. Every night Moms and Dads worry about their children and how they'll make it. Everyone talks about families, but what's Washington done?" "Believe" focuses on being an outsider and true values. Clark does not appear on camera in this ad.
Chaos Trumps 3rd Place Victory
TULSA, Okla., Jan. 28, 5:40 am local time—A night of confusion is how press will remember the 2004 New Hampshire primary with General Wesley Clark; beginning at 6:30pm, when some of the staff "lost" their candidate.
Clark turned up in Derry, NH shaking hands with voters, right up until the polls closed. Traveling press secretary,Jamal Simmons, tells press that it was The General's decision and instead of getting into the car to go with press back to the hotel, they "just kept going."
Eli Segal, one of those unable to find Clark right away, tells the press he will be back by 8:30pm to watch polling results from his hotel room. At 7:47 pm, communications director Matt Bennett tells the press who sit anxiously in the hotel's Nutfield bar, that Clark is on his way back to the hotel where he will shower and watch results as press rotate in to cover. Clark comes through the hotel's front doors at 8:17 pm and goes into the elevators to floor three saying out loud, "We're going to work."
Press gather in lobby again-over twenty people wait to go upstairs when Simmons comes down frantically yelling for press to load-up in the bus as in order to make TSA screening deadlines for the airport--we must be at the airport at 10pm. It's now 8:50 pm as the press load to head to C.R. Sparks restaurant in Bedford, NH where Clark will address the crowd.
By 9:54 pm, Clark has finished speaking to the crowd of people, pom poms, and signs. He tells supporters that today he leaves "New Hampshire in the top four." The press realizes that the numbers are still not final. People chant "all patriot no act" and Mrs. Clark dances to the rhythm on stage next to her husband. Before Clark can finish his last few lines, nervous press staff runs after traveling press telling them to load-up immediately for the airport. We head to the FBO and have to u-turn for the main Manchester airport.
It's a scene out of a movie as a sea of press try to get cameras, bags, and boots through security screeners and on board. By 10:20pm, we are somehow airborne. Going down the runway, Clark and Mrs. Clark cheer with their staffers--they have just heard that The General pulled ahead ever-so-slightly in the final count and New Hampshire press staff confirmed with the Secretary of State that Clark has held on to a tight third spot in the primary.
Clark, all smiles, heads back to talk with press:
"I loved being out there tonight, welcoming the voters as they came into the polls in the darkness and the cold weather because that's what democracy is really all about. I mean, in my greatest dreams I never would have thought I'd have the chance to do that."
It's now midnight. We're about ten minutes from landing in Charleston when press is told "breaking news." Due to FAA regulations, the crew can't overnight in South Carolina and then fly tomorrow morning to Tulsa, Oklahoma. Instead, Matt Bennett tells the plane of press that we're landing in Greenville, S.C. to re-fuel and then fly over two more hours to Tulsa, OK. Morning events have been cancelled in South Carolina. Mrs. Clark has made it clear-she is not happy.
We're down on the ground, then we're back up in the air-two people shy who forgo their luggage, opting to stay in South Carolina for a scheduled live shot on the network in the early morning. While everybody tries to sleep on board, General Clark searches anxiously for a blanket to keep him warm so he too can sleep.
It's 4:30am local time when the plane lands in Tulsa, Oklahoma. There is very little talking-there are no morning show tapings-we meet for a 12pm local time event before heading off to three other February 3rd states for events. We're back in Oklahoma later in the evening to overnight.
Coming out of New Hampshire, it's also time to focus on advertising in the Feb. 3rd states. Clark told press tonight that the campaign is "coming up on air in Missouri." Jamal Simmons adds--"you're making news" with this information.
Chanting "U-Wes-A, U-Wes-A"
DIXVILLE NOTCH, N.H., Jan. 27— "Make way for the future first family," yelled Mo Elleithee of the Clark campaign as he cleared press and on-lookers to the side in the ballot room of The Balsams Grand Resort Hotel to form a path for General and Mrs. Clark. At a quarter past midnight, General Wesley Clark was enjoying his first victory lap having won the first town in the state and the nation to cast ballots and announce the results in the New Hampshire presidential primary — Dixville Notch.
Men in bow ties and women in sequins crammed themselves in with press to watch as about twenty of the twenty-six eligible voters in the town (11 Republicans, 15 Independents) cast their votes in the ballot box, beginning with Mr. Rick Irwin. And within thirty minutes from the first ballot cast, town moderator Tom Tillotson stood reading the outcome of the Democrats: Howard Dean and Joe Lieberman, one; John Edwards, two; John Kerry, three; and Wesley Clark, eight.
"I'm looking forward to tomorrow," Clark said in a short statement to the press after his win up north. While clearly happy about is win, his mood seemed that of hesitancy. Tomorrow is actually today and Clark's fight for third place could be tough. And as the Wes Express rolls into Manchester at 4:30 am, everyone knows that in one hour, the long day truly begins. Even at the last minute, the campaign is changing the "post-New Hampshire" strategy announcing Monday afternoon that instead of flying to Columbia, S.C., at 8:45 pm on Tuesday, they are flying to Charleston, South Carolina. They say inclement weather is the reason, but doubts are cast. It's all up in the air until The General's mark is made in New Hampshire.
There will be no last minute advertising in the Granite State on Tuesday. Clark's "What If" and "Families" commercials will play out their run. Over this past weekend, Clark's media consultant Joe Slade White was up with crews shooting a Clark ad that will run in February 3rd states. At a Portsmouth rally, one of White's staffers spoke to audience members from the Palace Theatre stage asking them to kindly remove their overcoats, scarves and hats as to not confuse the "warm weather folks" in Arizona and New Mexico who will be seeing the ad.
MANCHESTER, N.H., Jan. 22— With only four full days of campaigning left before the primary, the Clark campaign continues to search for a message for their candidate. On Friday, the campaign will put up a new ad in the New Hampshire market to run through the New Hampshire primary, called "Families." The television ad focuses on Clark's electability as President and will air in Manchester, Boston, Portland, and Burlington.
The ad script: "I'm Wes Clark and I approve this message because I want to tell you why I'm running for president. I'm not from Washington DC. My mom was a secretary and I understand the challenges that families face. I've spent my life keeping America safe. I'm a doer, not a talker. I'm a leader, not a politician. And I would like your support on Tuesday, because we need to focus on the next generation - not the next election."
And along the same theme, the campaign will hold an "electability rally" on Sunday in New Hampshire where former Florida Attorney General Bob Butterworth will formally endorse General Clark for President. Butterworth chaired Al Gore's Florida state campaign in 2000.
Also on hand to rally behind Clark this weekend will be steadfast Clark supporters: Wisconsin Lt. Governor Lawton, South Carolina's Governor Hodges, and close family friend Mary Steenburgen whose husband, Ted Danson, will introduce Clark at a rally in Derry, New Hampshire Friday night.
MANCHESTER, NH, Jan. 21--On the eve of the last debate before the New Hampshire primary, the Clark campaign did not show any signs that they in anyway expect the debate to be as fiery as the one they missed in Iowa. With moment-to-moment tracking polls, and Dean, Kerry, and Clark hovering over spots one, two, and three, the million dollar question is--will anybody go on the attack?
For two hours in the late afternoon, Gen. Clark will head into debate prep in Manchester. Among those expected to attend in-person: Ron Klain, Matt Bennett, Eli Segal, Josh Gottheimer (Clark's speechwriter), Jason Furman (Clark's policy director), and Ben Holzer (Clark's research director). But beyond the prep, the staff's main concern is what Clark will say in the debate, especially if he is attacked. Often running on the platform--"I'm not a politician"--a trait that appeals to many voters may spur not-so-good opinions. At least two campaign sources acknowledge that candidate Clark's answers in the debate situation are unpredictable.
MANCHESTER, NH, Jan. 20--It seems like every time The General opens his mouth to speak these days, he sounds like a preacher speaking to his masses. Clark's halted deliveries have become more fluid. His once lack of passion on the stump has turned into a fire in the belly. It's less about the crowds as it is the candidate poised to want to win support. And the crowds are reacting with more standing ovations and more "uh huhs" and "you go Wes'."
Clark is mixing more retail politics into his schedule this week, stopping at local lunch places, hoping to connect to voters. His schedule has on it roll-outs of endorsements--most Notably, former Mayor David Dinkins of New York City, set to endorse Clark via conference call on Wednesday.
It's all about New Hampshire for the campaign--surrogates like Jamie Rubin and Wes Clark Jr. will campaign in other primary states, but advance staff and Little Rock "big wigs" remain perched by The General's side. And as new Kerry signs pop up along South Willow Street in Manchester (one's like "Doubting Dean? Vote Kerry."), it is clear that there is no "Dean alternative" to speak of in New Hampshire. Rather, a group of three candidates hovering around three top spots. Among the other big challenges for the campaign? Not letting Clark lose his voice again as it becomes raspier with each campaign stop.
But Clark continues to stay on-message saying he's running a campaign where it's a two man race between him and Bush, not his Democratic opponents. At a State of the Union town hall Tuesday night at the Palace Theater, Clark addressed the crowd speaking vehemently about Bush before retiring to the side of the stage to watch the State of the Union. In the dark you could see Clark giggle at one point, yawn at another--but all the while, taking Notes ferociously on what the President had to say. Later in the evening, Clark went so far as to call the President a "divisive and polarizing character."
The New Race: The General vs. The Lieutenant
MANCHESTER, N.H., Jan. 19 - Wes Clark stopped by a local pizza place to pick-up pies for staffers before heading to the Manchester Clark '04 headquarters to make calls to supporters, go live with Larry King, and hold a presser about the news of the day - a.k.a. Kerry's first place finish. Press crowded into one of the offices watching about five television monitors as networks predicted the outcome of the Iowa caucus. In the main room, volunteers pretended to work on campaign mailings. For most of the evening, Clark sat with staffers in an office as press and volunteers mulled around, looking at pagers and blackberries and yelling out numbers. But when it was time for Clark to speak, he made it clear: It seems the two-man race Clark spoke of just last week between him and Dean has shifted to a two-man race between him and Kerry…so Clark thinks.
Eli Segal and other Clark staffers seemed perplexed by the Kerry, Edwards, Dean finish and the Gephardt pull-out as they floated around the office, listening to TVs report the latest numbers. "I think it's the same race," Clark told press just before 10:00 pm in a press availability. "I've got to go out and communicate with voters in New Hampshire whether it was Dean or Edwards or Kerry."
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
MANCHESTER, N.H., Jan. 14 - Clark is in the line of fire, but trying to ignore the graze of the bullets. His suit of armor? His curt giggle accompanied by the line, "it's conventional politics." But how will this so-called unconventional General deal with the continuing attacks while also soaking up the positive political trends in New Hampshire?
On Wednesday morning he spoke to ABC News about the other Democratic candidates' attacks, saying that it's "not the right way to run a primary election campaign for any of the candidates." But that doesn't mean he won't eventually fight back. "Obviously, you have to tell the truth," Clark said. "And if people say things about you that aren't true, you have to have an answer for it."
The press awaits the first attack. More literature is being distributed at Clark events by opposition candidates' campaigns; on Wednesday John Kerry's New Hampshire campaign office handed out literature boasting Kerry's "foreign policy vision," saying that he's the "best Democratic candidate to take on George Bush." Then Kerry supporters from the Nashua office stood out in the cold yelling, "JK All the Way"-neither negative attacks, but blatant plants to sway voters from Clark.
As for the Braun endorsement of Dean, Clark was not available for comment. Senior communications strategist Chris Lehane, played it down to ABC News last night saying, "Senator Braun is a great American but our focus is on getting the endorsements of everyday voters in NH - with each passing day it is clear for all the world to see that Wes Clark is the true outsider and the true non-politician." Gen. Clark has evoked Amb. Moseley Braun's name as one of the many women he would consider for his cabinet when posed with the question at a "Conversations with Clark" earlier this month.
Win or Lose. It's how you play the game…
Jan. 13 - Clark says his campaign is about looking forward to the future. And so, with some help from Clark's campaign chairman, Eli Segal…a look forward. A group of traveling vagabonds (a.k.a. "the press") had a rare forty minutes with Segal aboard a flight from Dallas. to Manchester, N,H, on Tuesday to probe, challenge, and ask Segal to quasi-predict the future of the Clark 2004 campaign.
It's apparent that Segal's thirty-something year-old friendship with Clinton is helping The General's campaign. President Clinton and Segal talk regularly; with Clinton giving advice to Segal and the campaign and Segal keeping Clinton "abreast of what is going on." "He knows the polling data, he knows where we're going and what we're planning to say," Segal said about Clinton. "And we ask for advice and he's prepared to give it."
In fact, it seems he's on the mind of Segal so much so that when asked about candidate attacks on Clark, Segal said, without flinching, "We're going to do something about it this weekend in New Hampshire with President Clinton." Clearly, he meant "Clinton associates" -- names like Mickey Kantor and Rahm Emanuel -- who are joining other politicians to canvas and campaign for Clark in New Hampshire on Saturday. But when asked to clarify whether or not Clinton himself would come out, Segal said emphatically, "no, no, no" and qualified that by saying that "many people from the Clinton administration and the campaign believe that Wes Clark is the best representation of the views, the substance and the style of President Clinton," but, again, no chance of Clinton in person.
And standing by their man…we end with a few Notable supporters for Clark 2004. ABC News has learned of two more Clark endorsements out of Hollywood. Rhoda -- I mean, Valerie Harper -- endorsed Clark on Tuesday as did writer/director Michael Moore who first wrote a letter to Clark on September 12, 2003, asking him to "take the plunge" and run for President, but hadn't formally endorsed until now. Moore will be part of the group in the Granite State this weekend campaigning for Clark.
With all this said, can Segal see into his crystal ball to say Clark will win New Hampshire? "I think it would be one of the most stunning things that ever happened in American politics," said Segal on a first place win for Clark on the 27th. "I say we just have to do well."
Read more from the trail with Clark on abcnews.com: Field Notes .