wife is Jewish, and Sen. John Kerry,
D-Mass., whose discovery of Jewish
grandparents stirred great interest
among his Irish Catholic constituents
This week, the Draft Wesley Clark
organization opened a New York
office, in addition to its Washington
office. News reports suggest the retired
general may throw his hat into the
ring after Labor Day.
The intensifying Clark effort could
pose a special challenge to Lieberman,
who continues to lead most national
polls but faces big problems with an
increasingly liberal Democratic base.
Lieberman's biggest asset is his expert-
ise in defense and security issues —
something lacking in most of the
other Democratic contenders.
Clark is a West Point veteran and
Rhodes Scholar, as well as the architect
of the U.S. intervention in Bosnia.
But Clark is also not saddled with
support for the Iraq war, as Lieberman
Political experts say the war could be
a big issue next year, if evidence con-
tinues to mount that the Bush admin-
istration distorted intelligence about
Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass
destruction. And Clark could be
helped by the fact that many
Democrats — almost a majority,
according to one recent poll — wish
someone other than the current crop
of declared candidates was running.
But he faces some daunting obsta-
cles to winning the nomination, said
University of Virginia political scien-
tist Larry Sabato. "I have a hard time
believing Clark — a man who cannot
even fully identify with the
Democratic Party just five months
before the nomination contest begins
— will end up being a major factor,"
Sabato said. "Lieberman has problems
with his candidacy right now; Clark is
but a small one, at least at this point."
A likelier scenario for the Clark
almost-candidacy, Sabato said, is the
vice-presidential slot. "A presidential
nominee such as Howard Dean may
take a hard look at Gen. Clark to pro-
vide some national security experience
to the Democratic ticket," he said.
Lieberman's forces also breathed a
sigh of relief this week when Sen.
Joseph Biden, D-Del., a major player
in foreign policy on Capitol Hill,
announced he would not join the
throng clamoring for the Democratic
nomination. Biden told reporters the
race was "too much of a long shot" —
neglecting the fact that most political
experts say it's a long shot for all of the
Democrats now in the race. II
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