Wesley Clark

Wesley K. Clark grew up in Little Rock, Arkansas, and attended the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, where he graduated first in his class. He then earned a degree at Oxford University and commanded soldiers in Vietnam, where he was injured three times. Clark continued to move up the military ladder, becoming a four-star general. He was a highly decorated soldier and has received a Purple Heart and a Presidential Media of Freedom. In 1997, President Bill Clinton named Clark the U.S. commander of NATO forces in Europe. In 1999, he was in charge of the victory in Kosovo. He retired in 2000 after 34 years in the Army to become an author, consultant and investment banker. After the terrorist attacks in New York and Washington, D.C., in 2001, Clark was a frequent guest commentator on television. He has criticized President Bush in 2003 for his military policy in the Middle East.

Clark campaign Web site: www.clark04.com

Issues, Strategies and Key Quotes

Top three issues:
Iraq: Clark wants to end the American monopoly by reincorporating America's allies and creating a new international authority. He would create a new international structure to govern Iraq, similar  to one formed in Bosnia, emphasizing that this is not an American occupation but an international effort to stabilize Iraq.
Jobs: He would create a state and local tax rebate fund that would provide $20 billion a year to create jobs. Another $20 billion would be provided in business tax incentives, including in the manufacturing sector. He wants to ensure manufacturing jobs in the United States by giving firms incentives to create new jobs.
Health care: His plan would cost $695 billion over 10 years. Clark would guarantee universal health care for children. He also wants to provide tax credits to reduce premiums for Americans who are struggling to pay their premiums, in addition to making health care more affordable to all families, especially those who are now uninsured.

Official strategy statement: "His vision addresses the real problems that face real people every day. His strategies for national and economic security invest in people while returning the country to a path of long-term fiscal discipline. Clark believes that, together, we can build a safer, stronger America for our children." -- Official Clark campaign site

Campaign's assessment of its own strength: "And when I say we're going to bring people together, I mean all people, not just Democrats but Independents and Republicans, too. And especially those who have never participated before. You'll come with us." -- Clark's candidacy declaration speech, October 2003

Quotes from Clark: "This $87 billion is the first we've heard from this administration of anything like a reasonable estimate of what the down payment [for reconstruction in Iraq] is. ... The president needs to tell us how he's going to pay for it. This can't be an addition to the deficit. We want to see where the money's coming from." -- Debate at Pace University in Lower Manhattan, 09/25/03

"I don't know whether I'd sign that bill or not. I'm not into that detail on partial-birth abortion. In general, I'm pro-life -- excuse me, I'm pro-abortion rights." -- CNN's "Crossfire," 08/01/03

"[The Bush tax changes] were not efficient in terms of stimulating the kind of demand we need to move the economy back into a recovery mode, a strong recovery and a recovery that provides jobs." -- NBC's "Meet The Press," as reported on DraftWesleyClark.com, 09/15/03

Potential Vulnerabilities

Critiques from others: "In the two weeks since retired Army General Wesley Clark entered the Democratic presidential race, Democrats have learned that Clark voted for Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan, praised President Bush and raised money for Arkansas Republicans in 2001, and is still registered as an independent in Arkansas. Some party leaders wonder whether he's Democratic enough to be their nominee. -- Jill Lawrence, USA TODAY, 10/01/03

"The roughly 100,000 activists who will show up are spoiled; they usually have to meet a candidate in person before making a decision. Key local players get to meet all the candidates multiple times. Almost all of the nine-member field of Democrats have spent months courting those activists in person, and there just isn't time to make up that lost ground before the Jan. 19 caucuses." -- Mike Glover, Associated Press, 09/22/03

Our own assessment of Clark's vulnerability: The biggest vulnerability that Wesley Clark will face is bypassing the Iowa caucuses; he announced October 19 that he will start focusing on New Hampshire. No Democratic candidate who has totally ignored Iowa has ever won the Democratic nomination.

Iowa Campaign Information

Wesley Clark has no Iowa campaign office or staff. He is not currently running any campaign ads in the state.
National Campaign Information
National campaign manager:
Eli Segal
National press secretary:
Kim Spell
(501) 748-3530
[email protected]
National media consultant:
Matt Bennett
National pollster:
Campaign fundraising to date:
$6.9 million as of Oct. 17, 2003
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