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Patrick Ruffini's 2008 Presidential Wire: Stories on Wesley Clark  |  Daily KOS: Wesley Clark
In Brief - Sought the 2004 Democratic presidential nomination, announcing his candidacy on September 17, 2003 and dropping out of the race on February 11, 2004.  Chairman and CEO of Wesley K. Clark & Associates, a strategic advisory and consulting firm.  Managing director for the Stephens Group, Inc., 2000-03.  Served 34 years in the U.S. Army, rising to the rank of 4-star general and NATO Supreme Allied Commander.  Served in Vietnam as an infantry officer and company commander and was wounded in action.  A Rhodes Scholar, Clark earned a Master's degree in Philosophy, Politics and Economics from Oxford University.  Graduated first in his class from the United States Military Academy at West Point, 1966.  Born in Dec. 1944 in Chicago, IL.   [Timeline].

On February 11, 2004 General Wesley Clark (ret.) ended his campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination declaring that "this old soldier will not fade away."  "I'll be in the field and out in front, working the issues, supporting our candidates, and doing all I can to contribute to building a new and better America," Clark said.  Clark has indeed continued his efforts.  In April 2004 he formed WesPAC, in July he delivered a well received speech at the Democratic National Convention, and he campaigned in twenty states for the Kerry-Edwards ticket and in a number of states for House and Senate candidates.  Again in 2006 Clark is supporting and campaigning for Democrats around the country.

If Clark does decide to run he will be able to avoid two mistakes he made in his 2004 run: his late entry into the race and his decision to bypass the Iowa caucuses.  Although speculation about a possible Clark run first appeared in November 2002 he did not enter the race until September 2003.  Clark acknowledged that skipping Iowa was a mistake in a May 2006 interview with the Associated Press' Mike Glover.  "I wish I had competed here in 2003, because I was very comfortable here," he told Glover.  Clark should be able to count on a degree of continued support from the netroots that sparked his 2004 presidential campaign.  The Clark Community Network on the WesPAC website hosts active discussions and supporters weigh in with frequent comments; there is also a blog and podcasts.  Clark is also reaching out to a wider audience through his role as a military and foreign affairs analyst for Fox News Channel; he joined the network in mid-June 2005.

Clark has emerged as an advisor to congressional Democrats on national security.  In February 2005 he spoke at a House Democratic retreat in Williamsburg, Virginia.  He served as part of the National Security Advisory Group formed by Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid and House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi on March 15, 2005; this group, chaired by former Defense Secretary William Perry produced a report several months later in July.  Clark has addressed House and Senate Democrats and staffers on other occasions.  On March 29, 2006 he joined House and Senate Democrats in unveiling their Real Security agenda in an event at Union Station in Washington, DC.

At a time when instability threatens a number of areas around the world, including Iraq, Afghanistan, North Korea, and Iran, Clark's military experience gives him solid credentials to be commander in chief.  In 1995 he played a key role in negotiating the Dayton Peace Accords that ended the war in Bosnia.  In Spring 1999, as  Supreme Allied Commander of NATO, Clark led NATO's 78-day bombing campaign to stop Slobodan Milosevic's campaign of ethnic cleansing in Kosovo.  He later wrote, "This was an example of how we CAN do it right: diplomacy first, strong leadership, working with others, and using force only as a last resort.  We had a plan for what to do after the operation before we began air strikes."  Clark discusses that campaign in his book Waging Modern War.  In May 2006 Clark made a three-day visit to Kosovo at the invitation of Prime Minister Agim Çeku; he was warmly received and a street was named after him in the capital Pristina.

Clark has been a consistent critic of President Bush's approach to Iraq since before the war.  One only need read his testimony before the House Armed Services Committee on September 26, 2002.  He stated for example that, "Force should not be used until the personnel and organizations to be involved in post-conflict Iraq are identified and readied to assume their responsibilities."  Clark stated further that, "Force should be used as the last resort; after all diplomatic means have been exhausted, unless information indicates that further delay would present an immediate risk to the assembled forces and organizations.  This action should not be categorized as 'preemptive.'"  Delivering the May 8, 2004 Democratic radio address, Clark stated, "President Bush has made mistake after mistake as Commander-in-Chief, taking us first into a war we didn't have to fight alone and under false pretenses and now managing it so poorly."  Appearing on Fox News "The O'Reilly Factor" on May 30, 2006, Clark said, "Iraq was an unnecessary war.  Here's the other point.  It's, it's a failure, by the way the President defined the mission.  The problem is how do we move gracefully from this position."

Author of two books:
WINNING MODERN WARS: Iraq, Terrorism, and the American Empire (Public Affairs, 2003)
WAGING MODERN WAR: Bosnia, Kosovo and the Future of Combat (Public Affairs, 2001)

Gordon Suber, a Clark supporter, has written an unpublished manuscript on Clark's 2004 campaign.

May 12, 2006 - Press conference with Congressman Leonard Boswell on post-traumatic stress disorder, in Des Moines, IA.  [Boswell for Congress]
February 7, 2006 - Helps launch Palgrave Macmillan's "Great Generals" series.
September 6, 2005 - Addresses "Terrorism, Security & America's Purpose" Conference.
August 31, 2005 - Helping Iowa Democrats in Decorah, IA.  [Ruth Olive]

Key People
Executive Director - Catherine Grunden.
Co-Director of Scheduling on Clark's campaign for the 2004 Democratic presidential nomination.  Served as a consultant at Southern Strategy Group in Little Rock.  Director of Scheduling and Deputy Campaign Manager for Gore 2000.  She served in the Clinton Administration as Special Assistant to Secretary Henry Cisneros at the Department of Housing and Urban Development and as Director of Scheduling and Advance for Secretary Rodney Slater at the Department of Transportation.  Various capacities on the Clinton/Gore campaigns in 1996 and 1992 and the 1992 presidential transition team.  She is a native of Arkansas and resides in Little Rock.

On the Web
Official Site
March 31, 2006 grab

Nov. 15,  2005 grab

Copyright © 2005, 2006  Eric M. Appleman/Democracy in Action