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From the Primary Season
-Americans for Health Care--This project of the SEIU seeks to build coalitions and find  solutions that will lead to affordable, quality health care for all.  A major focus is campaigns in New Hampshire and Iowa "to make affordable, quality health care the central issue in the upcoming presidential election." The "purple people" have become a familiar sight on the campaign trail in these key states (>, >)  Modest resources are being put into a number of other states, such as Maine and Oregon.

-Coalition for the Advancement of Medical Research, formed in 2001 and comprising over 80 patient organizations, universities, scientific societies, foundations, and other entities, seeks candidates' views on stem cell research and therepeutic cloning (Sept. 9, 2003 press release).

-Marijuana Policy Project's Granite Staters for Medical Marijuana


-The League of Conservation Voters is "the political voice of the national environmental and conservation community."  LCV/CLCV held a Presidential Candidate Environmental Forum in Los Angeles, CA on June 26, 2003.  LCV also prepared an extensive presidential questionnaire which was due by Aug. 4, 2003.   On December 8, 2003 LCV released its "2004 Presidential Candidate Profiles."  On January 24, 2004 LCV endorsed Sen. Kerry for President, and it has since waged an independent expenditure campaign on his behalf in a number of states.

-The Sierra Club "authorized actions short of endorsement" and "made minor tweaks of presidential guidelines" during its June 19, 2003 Board of Directors meeting in Bozeman, Mt.

Here is an excerpt from a letter by the Sierra Club's Carl Pope to a Kerry supporter (posted on the Kerry campaign's blog on Oct. 9, 2003):

"The Sierra Club has asked each of the Democratic Presidential nominees to participate in our candidate review process, including a questionnaire and an interview. We are carrying out educational activities with our membership with regard to all of those who, so far, have completed that process -- John Kerry, Howard Dean, Dennis Kucinich, and Joe Lieberman. 

"We are hopeful that the other Democratic candidates will join these four in completing this process.

"The Club has never made an endorsement in a Presidential primary.  We are still open, this time, to that option, but we definitely want to wait and see how the race, and the candidates evolve."

-The Carbon Coalition has engaged in an active effort to raise the issue of global warming during the New Hampshire primary campaign.

-The Apollo Alliance, a joint project of the Institute for America's Future, Center on Wisconsin Strategy,
Common Assets Defense Fund, Americans for Energy Freedom, and Carol/Trevelyan Strategy Group, is advancing a "Ten-Point Plan for Good Jobs and Energy Independence."  To promote the plan, the Alliance had small groups of young people dressed in orange astronaut suits appear at many candidate events in Iowa and New Hampshire.

-People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals' Chris P. Carrot for President campaign promotes vegetarianism.

S O C I A L   S E C U R I T Y

The For Our Grandchildren Social Security Education Project--a project of the American Institute for Full Employment, a 501(c)(3) organization.  This initiative seeks to "educate the American people concerning the urgent need for Social Security  reform and the reform choices available, and to ensure an honest and open debate of the facts."  It has gained some attention with activists dressed up in ostrich costumes at several of the Democratic debates.  (A flyer asserts that the nine Democratic candidates "have their heads in the sand about the need for Social Security Reform!")  Michael Foudy is executive director, Leanne Abdnor is president, and Denison Smith is chairman.

-National Center for Policy Analysis--Team NCPA Candidate's Corner


The Every Child Matters Education Fund, a 501(c)(3) established in January 2002, is running campaigns with small offices  in Iowa and New Hampshire.  This group seeks to "promote the adoption of smart policies for children and families by making children's needs a national political priority."   Michael Petit, who served as commissioner of Maine's human services department and as deputy director at the Child Welfare League of America, is founder and president. 

Starting in the latter part of October 2003 The Every Child Matters Education Fund organized a series of forums at UNH "to discuss issues critical to children, youth and families;" most of the presidential candidate participated.  WMUR-TV produced a one-hour program out of the forums that it broadcast several times.  The Every Child Matters Education Fund is also planning a series of similar forums in Iowa in January 2004, at the Drake University Law School with the NPR affiliate at Northern Iowa University as the broadcast partner.  Every Child Matters Education Fund has also run billboards and newspaper ads


-Arab American Institute

-The Planned Parenthood Action Fund is making efforts to raise the issue of access to birth control and abortion in the Iowa caucuses and New Hampshire primary campaigns.   Additionally, the Planned Parenthood Federation of America Planned Parenthood of Northern New England hosted a Presidential Candidates Forum on Women's Issues in Manchester, NH on November 5, 2003.

-Human Rights Campaign's Campaign 2004 page includes questionnaire responses and a transcript of the Presidential Forum: Speaking of Equality hosted by HRC on July 15, 2003.

-National Gay and Lesbian Task Force (NGLTF) Policy Institute --report: The 2004 Democratic Presidential Candidates on Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Issues (May 28, 2003).

N A T I O N A L   S E C U R I T Y

-The Nuclear Threat Initiative, a group founded by Ted Turner and Sam Nunn in January 2001, ran a Safer World project in advance of the Iowa and New Hampshire first in the nation contests.  It launched an ad campaign on September 17, 2003 that continued until the day before the caucuses/primary in January 2004.  NTI placed two paid organizers in each state who coordinated visibility efforts and additional activities.

B U D G E T / F I S C A L

-The National Taxpayers Union Foundation released a report on January 19, 2004 that found that "EVERY Democrat Presidential Candidate's Platform Would Raise, Not Lower, Federal Budget Deficits."  NTUF Policy Paper 148, "The Return of Fuzzy Math and Risky Schemes: How Presidential Hopefuls Would Deepen Deficits."

G O O D   G O V E R N M E N T

-Judicial Watch--the public interest group filed a lawsuit in Superior Court in Montpelier on December 3, 2003 seeking access to some 400,000 records from Dean's gubernatorial years.  Upon leaving office Dean negotiated an arrangement with the state archivist to have the papers sealed for 10 years.  The suit charges that Dean's secrecy was motivated by "future political considerations."  Further, the lawsuit states, "This is not a legitimate basis for refusing to release public documents."

-National Taxpayers Union --letters (2) sent to members of Congress who are candidates for President or other offices on unexcused absences and pay (June 2, 2003).

-American Conservative Union --complaint against the Edwards campaign (May 30, 2003).


-Americans for Jobs, Health Care and & Progressive Values --a Section 527 organization, former Congressman Edward Feighan, President.  "Our mission is to inform and educate citizens as to the various presidential candidates' stands on critical issues facing American families related to jobs, healthcare and progressive values." Ran several controversial ads against Gov. Dean during the early primary campaign.

-Committee for a Unified Independent Party--Choosing an Independent President 2004 (Questionnaire)

-Association of Performing Arts Presenters --Pledge for the Arts (January 2004).

-The Leadership Council of Aging Organizations developed a survey questionnaire to solicit the views of presidential candidates from the two major political parties.  The survey addressed six issue areas--health, income security, long-term care, community services, federal rights, and taxes--and had a deadline of December 15, 2003.


Copyright © 2002, 2003, 2004 Eric M. Appleman/Democracy in Action.