Norman Transcript

Sunday, February 1, 2004

Editorial: Gen. Clark best qualified to turn America around
Before this presidential election year, Oklahomans really had little influence on the selection of the party's nominees. By the time we voted in March, many of the candidates had pulled out of the race after poor showings in early caucuses and primary votes.

This year, mostly because of the efforts of the late State Sen. Keith Leftwich, Oklahoma voters can actually influence the nominee's selection. It is early in the process and only one of the nine candidates printed on Oklahoma's ballot has dropped from the race.

Many of the candidates are stumping in the state this weekend, hoping to emerge as the leader in Tuesday's contest. Recent polls show many Oklahoma voters remain undecided on the Democratic nominee.

Although there are several qualified and formidable candidates in this race, our leanings are toward Retired Gen. Wesley Clark, a relative newcomer to the arena of elected leadership but no stranger to executive leadership and foreign policy.

Gen. Clark graduated first in his class at West Point, studied politics, philosophy and economics at Oxford University as a Rhodes Scholar. Thirty-four years ago this month, his unit came under small arms fire and he was wounded. He served as a White House Fellow, in the Office of Management and Budget, commanded battalions and brigades and ended his 34-year military career as Supreme Allied Commander, Europe.

Gen. Clark's proposal to turn America around has five, measureable initiatives. They include family income growth, preventing deaths and illness caused by a polluted nation, one million more students enrolled in higher education, two million children lifted out of poverty and health insurance for the 30 million Americans who are uninsured.

Gen. Clark has roots in middle America. He returned to Little Rock and launched his presidential campaign only four months ago. He told a Tulsa audience Wednesday that he couldn't stand by and watch the country he fought for unravel before his eyes.

He believes that Saddam Hussein was a possible threat but the war in Iraq was ill timed and conceived poorly. If elected, his 34 years of military service will strengthen America's resolve to exit Iraq and restore our nation's credibility among world leaders.
Copyright © 2004 The Norman Transcript.  Reprinted with permission.  (Andy Reiger, 02/11/04)

The endorsement was published the Sunday before the primary.  The Transcript editorial board consists of Publisher David Stringer, Managing Editor Andy Rieger, and City Editor Linda Henley.  Some of the candidates visited Norman, although none of the active candidates met with the ed board (Sen. Bob Graham stopped in before he withdrew).