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The Democrat Candidates

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John Kerry

excerpts from the Iowa Daily Report

March 2003

Biden, Hillary, Edwards, Kerry, Lieberman – voted the party line yesterday in opposing cloture motion to cut off filibuster on the judicial nomination of Miguel Estrada. That’s not surprising, but Iowa Pres Watch wanted to get it on the record. (Only one senator missed the vote – Dem candidate Graham, who’s recovering from surgery.) (3/7/2003)

…Bad news for the Dem aspirants if Hillary runs. The Quinnipiac poll says she would get 37% in the Democrat field with Gephardt a distant second 13%, Lieberman 12% and Kerry at 8%. Without Hillary, Lieberman gets 21%, Gephardt 17%, Kerry 12%, Edwards 8%. Moseley (No Hyphen) Braun 7%, Graham 6%, Sharpton 5%, Dean 4% and Kucinich 2%. (3/7/2003)

… Senate roll call vote this week – a resolution expressing support for the Pledge of Allegiance. It passed 94-0 (with Graham absent due to medical recovery), but among the other five “not voting” were two Dem presidential wannabes – Edwards and Kerry…Missing the Senate vote on the Pledge of Allegiance resolution may be the least of Kerry’s problems, especially among Irish voters as he sorts out his own ancestry. Despite Kerry’s insistence (after it was reported he had a Jewish grandfather) he never claimed to have Irish ancestors, the Boston Globe reported yesterday the Congressional Record – 3/18/86 – quoted Kerry as telling his Senate colleagues, “For those of us who are fortunate to share an Irish ancestory, we take great pride in the contributions that Irish-Americans…have made to building a strong and vibrant nation.” (3/7/2003)

…Several media outlets indicate five Dem presidential candidates – the five low-rung candidates: Dean, Edwards, Kucinich, Moseley (no hyphen) Braun and Sharpton – will accept public campaign financing (taxpayer dollars) for their campaigns. John Kerry, the richest Dem prospect, will delay decision on public funding for a couple months – or possibly tap into wife Teresa Heinz Kerry’s fortune. 3/8/2003

Kerry in Des Moines. DSM Sunday Register headline: “Kerry: Bush should bend on Iraq…The senator says president has not allowed diplomacy to work while trying to build support from other nations.” More than 30 Iowa Republicans staged a protest where Kerry was scheduled to speak, supporting the Estrada judicial nomination. (3/9/2003)

… Although family patriarch Ted is supporting Kerry, Congressman Patrick Kennedy, Rhode Island, was in Davenport yesterday to boost Gephardt’s candidacy. Quad-City Times report says Kennedy addressed group of 70, telling them he stands behind Gephardt’s plans on health care, education, jobs and the economy. He also said he supports the troops overseas and that U. S. must disarm Saddam before he can make nuclear weapons or supply international terrorists with weapons of mass destruction. (3/9/2003)

Political Plagiarism 101: Which Dem candidate is stealing ideas, issues and concepts from the other? On Friday, two candidates – Kerry in New Hampshire and Kucinich in Iowa – made similar statements about the nation’s energy policy: Both said the U. S. should have the same kind of commitment to energy independence that JFK (John F. Kennedy, not John F. Kerry) made in the 1960s to put an American on the moon. (Iowa Presidential Watch, 3/10/2003)

… The hospital ward roll call for Dem presidential candidates and prospects grows again. WDEL Radio (Dover, Delaware) reports Biden is “on the mend after having his gall bladder removed.” Report says surgery was Sunday and Biden is expected to remain in Florida, where he was spending weekend with wife and daughter, for “a day or two” to rest and recover. Biden, who’s still a prospective Dem candidate, is third to experience surgery in recent weeks – Kerry has returned to campaign trail (including DSM stop last weekend) and Graham is awaiting medical clearance to begin active campaigning. (3/11/2003)

…In this week’s U. S. News & World Report, Paul Bedard reports in “Washington Whispers” column Sharpton’s strong showing in polls is scaring Dems to the point that the draft Hillary movement may pick up steam. Bedard reports Sharpton “could actually score big in, of all places, the South.” He adds: “If a favorite other than Sharpton doesn’t become obvious by late fall, look for a strong effort to draft Sen. Hillary Clinton. The Iowa Democratic Party is already thinking that. We hear it wants Clinton as the featured speaker at an annual fall dinner – an invite that’s irked Sen. John Kerry.” (3/12/2003)

Hillary, Edwards and Lieberman voted for a provision to make contraceptives more available as Senate Dems continued efforts to whittle away at the “partial abortion” bill. Kerry did not vote on the amendment. Graham and Biden – both recovering from recent surgeries – were absent. The vote was 49-47. (3/13/2003)

… Under the headline “Kerry is the Granite in New Hampshire Democratic Primary Poll,” a Suffolk University news release reports the Mass. Sen “holds a commanding lead.” A survey of 496 likely Dem voters – in an exclusive 7NEWS-Suffolk University poll – gave Kerry 32% with Lieberman 17 %.  Dean, the former VT gov earlier assumed to be a regional favorite, had 10%, followed by Gephardt 6% and Edwards 2%. Three others each got 1%. That leaves 30% undecided…Also from the 7NEWS-Suffolk poll, about one-third (32%) of the likely Dem voters expect GWB to win a second term, 45% are undecided. (Yes, the poll identifies these folks as “likely Democratic voters.) Eleven percent expect Kerry to be the next president, while Dean and Lieberman each register 3% support when it comes to naming the ultimate 2004 winner. (3/14/2003)

Kerry’s “granite” showing in New Hampshire is wimpish when matched against Graham’s stronghold on Florida. The Orlando Sentinel reports a poll by Lauderdale-based Florida Voter indicates Graham is favored by 45% of the state’s likely Dem voters. Lieberman, who’s continued to campaign in FL since being Gore’s 2000 running mate, gets 10% while “several other contenders are sharing single-digit ratings,” according to the Sentinel report. On issues, 60% oppose Iraq war (29% support one) and more than half (54%) expect nation’s economy will “worsen.” …(3/14/2003)

… Only two announced Dem presidential candidates – Lieberman and Graham, who just returned to the Senate on Wednesday after surgery – showed for the Senate partial-birth abortion final vote. They, along with Hillary, joined 30 others in opposing the partial-birth ban. With a 64-33 (64 supporters included 48 GOPs, 16 Dems) vote, only three senators AWOL – Biden, Edwards, Kerry. (3/14/2003)

… Boston Globe reporter Glen Johnson wrote in yesterday’s editions Kerry is “pushing a financial vacuum cleaner across the country this week, collecting hundreds of thousands of dollars for his presidential campaign at major fund-raisers in New York, San Francisco and Boston. A fund-raiser [Wednesday] night at the Sheraton Boston Hotel grossed more than $2 million, according to organizers, which the campaign said was a record amount raised in a single night from donations by individuals.”  More than 650 attended a New York event Tuesday night and today a San Francisco fundraiser is planned. At the Boston event, Globe reporter Johnson quoted Kerry as saying: “This campaign is about which party has the ideas to make America safer, stronger and more secure in the 21st century. And if that is the test, then back up the U-Haul, because George Bush is moving out. Just because the Supreme Court of the United States made the wrong decision in 2000 doesn’t mean we have to live with it for another six years, my friends.” Kerry also called the Bush administration’s handling of Iraq the “weakest diplomacy in our history.” (3/14/2003)

… Survey conducted by Research 2000 for KCCI-TV 3/10-3/12 indicates Gephardt (22%), Kerry (20%) and Lieberman (16%) are bunched together at head of Dem presidential pack. Edwards was fourth with 8%, followed by Dean (6%) and Sharpton (1%). KCCI said Graham, Clark, Moseley Braun and Kucinich all registered less than 1%. Twenty-seven percent were undecided.  (3/15/2003)

… They haven’t been in Iowa for a week, but Kerry and Dean haven’t lost their touch for irresponsible, reckless rhetoric. They are probably feeling more at home on the Left Coast, however, since – according to the San Francisco Chronicle – they both “ramped up criticism” of GWB and called “the president an inept diplomat who has bungled the nation’s foreign policy” during California appearances. Edwards was also in the state for fundraising events with – whom else? – trial lawyers in San Francisco and L. A. (Iowa Presidential Watch, 3/15/2003)

… A Los Angeles Times online headline: “State Supporters Line Democratic War Chests” Times report says “none of the candidates has established a firm advantage in California” – but that “Kerry staked his ground Thursday with a tough speech in San Francisco defending [CA] Gov. Gray Davis and blaming President Bush for California’s hard economic times.” The Times report said, however, the main goal is money – not for their CA efforts yet, but to fuel campaign operations in New Hampshire and Iowa. Times also reports on Dem Hollywood derby: Dean has Rob Reiner and Martin Sheen. Gephardt has Michael Douglas (3/15/2003)

… During a fundraising visit to New York during the week, Kerry picked up early endorsement from former NYC mayoral candidate Mark Green. Green, according to Boston Globe, said of Kerry, “He’s among the top Jewish candidates running for president,” jokingly referring to the senator’s recently discovered Jewish roots. On a more serious note, Green said: “To beat a team as ruthless as Bush and Rove requires someone of his [Kerry’s] toughness.”3/15/2003

… Things turned a bit nasty yesterday at California Dem state convention as Dean named opponents by name. L. A. Times coverage reports Dean criticized Edwards and Kerry – by name – for supporting Congressional resolution authorizing military force against Iraq. Quotes Dean as saying, “I don’t think we can win the White House if we vote for the president’s unilateral attack on Iraq and then come to California and say we’re against the war.” Never fear, however, cuz Dean pledged to support Edwards or Kerry if either gets the Dem nomination. (3/16/2003)

Kerry continued his relentlessalbeit inaccurate, inexcusable  criticisms of the president, continuing to blame GWB (rather than Gov. Gray Davis) for state’s multiple woes. He charged GWB treats California as “foreign territory,” adding: “Over and over again he [Bush] has stood in the way of this state’s progress, choosing special interests over California’s interests.” Kerry said GWB’s economic policies have increased unemployment and kept incomes down. (Iowa Presidential Watch, 3/16/2003)

Hillary continues to overshadow Dem field. CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll also shows she would get 28% if in the field – but without her Gephardt (20%) leads Kerry (16%) and Lieberman (15%). Call them the Big Three – or Big Four if Hillary’s included – because best any of the other Dem wannabes can do is 8%. (3/18/2003)

… From yesterday’s Boston Globe online – “Late arrival Kerry is star of show” – report: Kerry, after indicating he’d miss the annual St. Patrick’s Day breakfast in South Boston on Sunday, made surprise appearance. Earlier reports indicated Kerry, who had been considered an Irish-American until it was discovered his grandfather was Jewish, would skip event, but he surfaced saying, “Who said I didn’t have the matzo balls to be here?” Kerry explained he had intended to rest up as part of recovery from surgery, but he made a brief appearance, shook some hands and left. Prior to Kerry’s arrival, others offered jokes – Gov. Mitt Romney, “I’m disappointed Senator Kerry is not here today. I wasn’t surprised he threw his yarmulke into the ring. If he were here he’d be eating his corned beef on a bagel.” (3/18/2003)

… Speaking at the International Association of Firefighters gathering in D. C., Kerry said the “federal government has provided too little support, provided too little leadership and provided too little vision for the common defense of our homeland.” Kerry, who urged more reliance on National Guard and AmeriCorps to help with post-attack operations, said administration has created a “huge bureaucracy” and “a run on duct tape.” (3/19/2003)

Lieberman – who is rapidly becoming, with Kerry, the most visible Dem candidate – surfaced on CNN’s “Inside Politics” yesterday to reaffirm his anti-Saddam stance, saying the “blame for war is Saddam Hussein.” He added Saddam was givenevery chanceover the past 12 years to shape up and comply with U. N. resolutions (3/19/2003)

… From AP’s Will Lester, “Homeland security is President Bush’s issue, but his Democratic rivals are determined to take it back.” Lester noted that yesterday both Kerry and Lieberman criticized the Bush administration for “a budget they say inadequately funds first responders and other responsible for the nation’s defense.” Kerry addressed the firefighters association meeting in Washington yesterday while Lieberman, who issued another statement yesterday about homeland security, also criticized the Bush homeland security approach during a speech before the firefighters on Monday. (3/19/2003)

… Four senator-candidatesEdwards, Graham, Kerry, Lieberman -- were on deck and voted against the latest cloture motion to end filibuster of the Estrada judicial nomination. Edwards, was AWOL for the votes. Also opposing the effort to proceed with debate on nomination – potential presidential draftee Hillary and prospective candidate Biden. The motion was approved 55-45 – with four Dem sens joining GOP – but needed 60 to end filibuster. (3/20/2003)

Kerry had minor surgery on Monday to remove a wart from his eyelid, which has left him with a black eye. Two wannabes – Kerry and Graham – along with prospective candidate Biden have had surgeries in recent weeks. All have returned to the Senate, but Graham awaiting medical clearance (and probably end of war) to begin active campaigning. (Iowa Presidential Watch, 3/20/2003

… The Senate rejected a proposal yesterday to allow drilling for oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR), but prior to the vote Kerry – apparently never seeing an issue (or opportunity to disagree with the Bush administration) he could resist – described ANWR as “a national treasure.” Kerry said the refuge’s oil would only reduce imports by 2% -- “God only gave us 3% of the world’s oil. The Middle East has about 65%…the destruction of the wilderness does not solve America’s problem.” The amendment, sponsored by CA Dem Boxer, to prohibit drilling was approved 52-48 with eight GOPs voting with most Dems to oppose drilling, while five Dems supported drilling. Among co-sponsors on the Boxer amendment: Kerry, Lieberman, Edwards (3/20/2003)

…From yesterday’s Washington Post: Headline – “GOP to Hammer Democratic War Critics” Relevant Excerpt: “Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mass.), who is running for president, has come under heavy criticism within his own party for backing Bush on war. This week, however, he sharply criticized the president’s diplomacy before the start of the war. “The administration’s handling of the run-up to war with Iraq could not possibly have been more inept or self-defeating,” Kerry said. His Democratic opponents privately accused him of trying to win support among the party’s antiwar base.” (3/21/2003)

latest New Hampshire survey showing Dean’s virtually tied with Kerry in battle of regional favorite sons. American Research Survey poll, conducted 3/16-3/19, indicates Dean gained 6 points over past month – although Kerry still leads with 23% to Dean’s 22%. Gephardt third (15%), Lieberman fourth (12%), 20% still undecided. Other Dem candidates in lowvery lowsingle digits with Edwards leading that group with 3%. (That’s right 3% -- but it’s better than the 0% received by Kucinich, Sharpton and Clark, who’s doubtlessly getting better numbers for his current gig as CNN military analyst.) Interesting sidebar: 99% of respondents wereawareof Hart, but he received only 2% on the ballot support question. (Iowa Presidential Watch, 3/22/2003)

… The U. S. senators seeking Dem nomination further reinforced their anti-taxpayer credentials Friday by supporting efforts to reduce the proposed tax cut from $726 million to $350 million. The amendment (to the 2004 budget resolution) was defeated on a 62-38 margin with the four announced DemsEdwards, Graham, Kerry, Liebermansupporting it. Prospective Dem candidate Biden also voted for it, but Grassley, Harkin and Hillary joined 59 other senators to defeat the effort. (Iowa Presidential Watch, 3/23/2003)

… From this morning’s Des Moines Register: Thomas Beaumont reports, headline “Candidates tangle over Iraq…John Edwards and John Kerry dispute deception accusations by Dean” Beaumont coverage of Dean campaigning in Des Moines yesterday, “Former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean on Monday accused rivals John Edwards and John Kerry of being intentionally deceptive about their positions supporting the Bush administration’s war in Iraq.” (3/25/2003)

Kerry rolled through several New Hampshire communities -- and media markets -- Sunday to produce some interesting media website coverage. WMUR reports Kerry told a Manchester crowd: “Remember that we do not make the mistake that was made in Vietnam. Do not confuse the war with the warriors.” From the WMUR online report: “Speaking to activists still looking for a candidate, Kerry took apart the Bush domestic agenda. He compared Bush to Franklin Roosevelt, saying that even while he fought World War II, F. D. R. still lived up to the promises of the New Deal. Kerry said Bush needs to have the same enthusiasm for solving the problems of health care, energy, and the economy, that he has for the war on terror.” From the Manchester Union Leader coverage: Kerry said, “If we can find $6 billion to get Turkey to join the war, we can find money to fund Manchester schools.” (Iowa Presidential Watch, 3/25/2003)

Gore supporters do everybody a favor – highlight poll numbers indicating Gore isstill the strongest challenger” against GWB, but he’d still lose if election held now and besides he’s not even running. (Iowa Pres Watch Note: So, where does that leave the other Dem wannabes?) – slogan: “Now More Than Ever” – says mid-March Zogby International poll shows Bush would get 51% with Gore at 42% and, “All other Democrats lag behind Bush by 12 points or more.” The 1,129 respondents were “asked to indicate a preference between George Bush and each of several likely Democratic contenders.” Gore was preferred over Bush by 42% of respondents, followed by Hillary Clinton (39%), Richard Gephardt and Joe Lieberman (38%), John Kerry (36%) and John Edwards (32%). In addition, said: Gore also “enjoys the greatest support” among Democratic voters (74%), followed by Clinton (70%), Gephardt (70%) and Kerry (65%) (3/26/2003)

Dean opens two-day Sioux City visit by saying Kerry continues to “wobble around” on his Iraq war position. Dean quote: “To this day, I don’t know what John Kerry’s position is. It’s still hard to figure out, reading his statements, which way he’s going to come down on it, and I think you all ought to ask him.” Dean made his comments before a couple dozen activists – the Truman Club. (Iowa Presidential Watch, 3/28/2003)

… Wall Street Journal’s Al Hunt – in “Politics & People” column yesterday – indicates “party insiders see four candidates with a realistic shot to win” the Dem nomination: Gephardt, Lieberman, Edwards and Kerry. Hunt notes the four all supported Iraq authorizing resolution last fall and weighs their respective strengths based on “the three critical Cs:” Credentials, Cash and Calendar. On credentials, Hunt writes the “two most conformable here are Sens. Lieberman and Kerry.” On cash, he says Kerryremains ahead of the pack” with Gephardt and Edwards “closely competing” for second in early fundraising. On calendar, he says – despite other states trying to move up on nominating schedule – “the initial test almost surely will remain the Hawkeye and Granite States.” Key excerpt: “any candidate who doesn’t finish first or second in one of those states is dead. In the modern nominating system, the only candidate to substantially jumpstart a primary campaign was Ronald Reagan in 1976 against President Ford; that was a two-way race and ideologically driven. So forget all the scenarios of John Edwards scoring his first big triumph in South Carolina or Joe Lieberman in Arizona. If they don’t win or place in New Hampshire or Iowa, they’re done. Conversely, the two favorites in those states, Dick Gephardt in Iowa and John Kerry in New Hampshire, would be dealt a lethal blow if they failed to meet those expectations.” (Iowa Presidential Watch, 3/28/2003)

Dean has sent a handwritten letter to Edwards apologizing for a statement he made charging Edwards has been avoiding discussion of his support for the Iraq invasion when appearing before anti-war audiences. Dean told delegates at the CA Dem state convention earlier this month that Edwards and Kerry – both supporters of the Senate Iraq resolution last fall – were not standing by their votes for the resolution. Edwards, however, reaffirmed his support for military action – and was booed by delegates – during his convention remarks. Meanwhile, Kerry told reporters he had been “100 percent consistent” in his position that Saddam must be disarmed, adding: “I have no response to Howard Dean.” (Iowa Presidential Watch, 3/28/2003)

…When Kerry wasn’t consumed repelling Dean’s criticisms yesterday, he apparently was busy assuring Southern Democrats he plans to mount serious campaign efforts in their states. Several media outlets indicate Kerry has been distributing the text of remarks he made in CA earlier in March about his determination to compete in the South. His actions were probably prompted by a headline – “Kerry might have written off the South” – in The State newspaper in Columbia, S. C., earlier this week. Kerry quote: “I intend to campaign and talk to folks and think that we can win a number of states there, Florida, Louisiana, Arkansas and a number of others.” (3/28/2003)

… Des Moines Register reports this morning four Dem aspirants – Dean, Edwards, Kerry, Gephardt – have spent the $65,000 each to secure Iowa Democratic Party’s voter information database. Also indicates Lieberman is “expected” to buy the list in April and Kucinich has “expressed interest” in getting the file. Moines Register’s Thomas Beaumont writes that Hart is expected to visit IA during April and he also has inquired about purchasing the state Dem party’s voter database. (3/29/2003)

Three senators – including two of the Dem presidential aspirants – were missing when legislation providing tax relief for American troops was approved on a 97-0 vote earlier this week. Recorded as “not voting” were Kerry, Lieberman and GA Sen. Miller. The same trio – Kerry, Lieberman, Miller – also missed Thursday votes (both 97-0) on a resolution “to commend and express gratitude of the United States to the nations participating in the Coalition to Disarm Iraq” and to approve the nomination of James V. Seina as a district judge for the Central District of California (Iowa Presidential Watch, 3/29/2003)

Kerry has been working money players in DC, Philadelphia, Rhode Island and New Jersey over recent days and is scheduled to hit NYC Monday night. (Iowa Presidential Watch, 3/30/2003)

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