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WP: Clark's Bid Makes Dean Supporters Reconsider [View All]

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DrFunkenstein Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-29-03 11:55 PM
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WP: Clark's Bid Makes Dean Supporters Reconsider
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DOVER, N.H., Sept. 27 -- New Hampshire Democrat Larry Taylor was leaning toward supporting former Vermont governor Howard Dean for president until he turned out on a damp Friday night at New England College in Henniker, N.H., to see retired Army Gen. Wesley K. Clark. By the time Clark had finished his town hall meeting, Taylor was ready to change his allegiance.

"I think Clark can win," Taylor said. "I don't think Dean can win. I think Dean's going to be pegged as too liberal. He doesn't have the kind of military background and some of the strength that Clark seems to have."

Whatever else Clark's late entry into the battle for the Democratic presidential nomination has done, it has forced the issue of electability back to the top of the agenda for many Democratic and independent voters.

Peter Lehmen and his wife, Theresa, of Keene, N.H., attended Clark's town hall meeting late Friday. Lehmen has given money to Dean and credits the scrappy Vermonter with having the courage to take on Bush and start a dialogue among the Democrats that has shaped both the tone and the substance of the debate. "He was talking about things that other people were afraid to talk about," Lehmen said.

Lately, however, both Lehmens have begun to question whether Dean is the best Democrat to beat Bush. Peter said he finds Dean inconsistent in some of his views. Theresa said Dean is "coming across as a little more abrasive" and appears to let his ego get in his way. Clark, she said, impressed her as someone who could successfully negotiate with foreign leaders. "He certainly presented himself in a very diplomatic but forceful way that I would call presidential," she said.

Lesley Gaita of Melrose, Mass., joined a big group of New England veterans of the Draft Clark movement in Dover today at a rally for Clark. Asked to compare Dean and Clark, she said, "Clark puts a positive spin on things. Dean is very forceful, he's very dramatic and I agree with what he says. But sometimes he's trying to find a negative too much. I think this gentleman thinks more intently than Dean does. Dean tends to shoot from the hip a bit much."

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A10547-20...

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