|April 17, 2006--After more than two decades out of the public
eye, former U.S. Senator Mike Gravel, who represented Alaska in the U.S.
Senate from 1969-81, announced his campaign for President of the United
States. Gravel is seeking to advance the idea of using national initiatives
to resolve major policy questions. "We'll let the people decide"
such issues as a national sales tax, Social Security, universal health
care and declaring war, Gravel said. He compared the current system
of representative democracy and its three branches to "an unstable chair."
"Giving us Americans legislative power will put forth a fourth leg on that
stool and make it stable," Gravel said. "I believe that the remedy
for the state of our political alienation is the civic renewal embodied
in the 'National Initiative for Democracy,'" he said. (transcript)
About ten active and well-known Democrats have been positioning themselves
for possible 2008 presidential campaigns for months, but Gravel is the
first to formally announce. Noting that he and his wife Whitney took
the subway to make the announcement, Gravel observed that "we're starting
very humbly." He plans early trips to New Hampshire, Iowa and South
Carolina. "And then we'll just campaign slowly. We're not going
to break our pick; we're just going to get out there and do the job properly,"
he says. A first priority is "to raise some money so we can open
up offices and have a staff."
Little known, with questionable fundraising prospects, aged 75 going
on 76, Gravel faces very long odds of winning the Democratic nomination,
even with his very early start. However, as a former U.S. Senator
he can expect a place on the stage as the campaign unfolds in 2007, and
he can use that position to advocate for the national initiative. (more)
||"The reason why I like this campaign is because it's founded
on an idea, an idea that cuts across all political lines and says that
there should be a mechanism, a way for the people to express their opinion
and have that opinion become the law of the land, become national policy."
-George Rebh, a supporter from Arlington,