All ten Democratic candidates for president spoke to members of the Democratic National Committee at the party's annual fall meeting, held in Washington, DC from October 2-4, 2003.
|SHARPTON||EDWARDS||GRAHAM||GEPHARDT||Oct. 4 speeches
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21, 2003] Before the Iraq war, in February 2003, seven of the then
nine Democratic presidential candidates spoke to members of the DNC during
meeting in Washington, DC. At that meeting that former Vermont
Gov. Howard Dean was just starting to generate some buzz with his direct
attack on party leaders and his anti-war stance. Sen. John Kerry,
seen by many as a leading candidate, was recovering from prostate surgery
and did not appear at that meeting, nor did Sen. Bob Graham, a new entrant
into the field.
Seven months later, from October 2-4, 2003, members of DNC again gathered in Washington. The war, or at least major combat operations, had ended, but soldiers continued to die in Iraq and the price tag, in the form of an $87 billion supplemental, was being widely discussed.
During those seven intervening months, the nine Democratic candidates had made the rounds at dozens of candidate forums, they stumped in Iowa, New Hamsphire and other key states, and they gained a tenth contender, Gen. Wesley Clark.
Probably the biggest story of the past seven months was Howard Dean emergence as a, or the, leading candidate. The Dean campaign proved adept at generating buzz through such events as a Sleepless Summer tour, a world record conference call, and most recently a third quarter fundraising effort that far outpaced those of the other candidates. Meanwhile, Sen. Kerry had run a largely nondescript campaign, Rep. Dick Gephardt had been accumulating labor endorsements, Sen. Edwards had trouble getting traction despite a solid campaign, Sen. Joe Lieberman did not find much enthusiasm for his candidacy, Sen. Graham's campaign appeared to be on the rocks, Rep. Dennis Kucinich remained marginalized, and Amb. Moseley Braun and Rev. Al Sharpton rounded out the field.