Representatives tout merits of presidential hopefuls

Sunday, February 1, 2004 | 12:00 a.m. CST; updated 3:59 a.m. CDT, Monday, July 7, 2008

Along with their coffee and cookies, about 50 members of the Boone County Muleskinners received an extra treat at their weekly luncheon Friday in Stamper Commons at Stephens College.

Representatives from the campaigns of retired Gen. Wesley Clark, former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean, North Carolina Sen. John Edwards and Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry appealed to the group in a final push for support before the Tuesday primary.

“This is the most people I’ve ever seen at one of these meetings,” said state Rep. Chuck Graham, D-Columbia. “It’s at least more than double the normal crowd.”

Here’s a sampling of what the campaign representatives had to say:

John Kerry

(Cameron Kerry of Brookline, Mass., the candidate’s brother)

  • Said he senses the growing energy in the Democratic Party. If the momentum keeps up, he said, “we’ll be able to skin George Bush in November.”
  • Came to Missouri to ask for voters’ help. He said that all along the way the Kerry campaign has had to fight for every last vote.
  • “We are in a time where people are feeling loss and insecurity — both in their jobs and physically they feel insecure. When you are in a tough spot, there’s no one better to have by your side than John Kerry.”
  • Kerry has the toughness and tenacity to defeat Bush and take this country in a fundamentally different direction.
  • “John Kerry will enact an effective health-care plan. Truman set us on the path, but pharmaceutical companies are standing in the way. We need a president who will show them the door.”
  • “John Kerry will lead the country so that on Jan. 20 of 2005, we’ll be able to stand up as Democrats and say, ‘Mission accomplished.’”

Howard Dean

(Dell Miller of Columbia, volunteer)

  • As governor of Vermont, Dean got health care for 99 percent of children and 96 percent of adults.
  • Dean balanced the budget in Vermont for 11 years and left the state with a surplus. Now, other states are struggling with fiscal problems, but Vermont is able to thrive.
  • “Our leaders haven’t voted for what they stand for because they are afraid to be called Democrats. Dean has made it an act of patriotism to stand up against Bush.”
  • “If you back any candidate that isn’t Dean, I ask you to look at their records on how they voted on the war in Iraq, the tax cuts for the wealthy and the Patriot Act. We need to give the American people a reason to vote for us instead of Bush.”
  • “How did Bush win when he didn’t have the popular vote? Our leaders didn’t stand up for us. Dean has been consistently courageous in standing up for us.”


John Edwards

(Leigh Ann Smith of North Carolina)

  • Edwards has already received endorsements from Graham, Rep. Jeff Harris, D-Columbia, and Boone County Southern District Commissioner Karen Miller.
  • Edwards has spent his whole life fighting for Americans and spent time as a lawyer fighting for our rights.
  • “John Edwards came from a small town and will fight for those values in Washington, D.C.”
  • Edwards will take on special interest groups in the White House, just like he has taken them on in the courtroom.
  • “Even if you are here in support of another candidate, I drove all the way out here from North Carolina to show my support for him, and I’d like you all to take another look at John Edwards.”

Wesley Clark

(Brian Bough of Columbia, representative)

  • “There are four strong candidates represented here today, and no matter who wins, we have a good chance of beating Bush in November.”
  • He hopes that no matter who wins, all Democrats will unite and support the eventual nominee.
  • Touted Clark’s status as a four-star general and his experience as Supreme Allied Commander of NATO.
  • Said that America’s standing around the world is the lowest that it has ever been and that Clark has the desire and skill to turn that around.
  • “Although he has an extensive foreign policy career, Clark knows domestic policy. As Supreme Allied Commander of NATO, he had to manage health care for soldiers in foreign countries and make sure that their children received proper education.”
  • Clark will reverse tax cuts for the rich.

  • “Other countries are there in Iraq with us, but we are footing the entire bill. Clark will make this a truly multilateral effort.”

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