Four democratic presidential candidates toured the state this weekend, courting Iowa Democrats who’ll hold Caucuses in January, 2004 to kick-off the candidate selection process. On Friday and Saturday, Former Vermont Governor Howard Dean and Ohio Congressman Dennis Kucinich again voiced their opposition to war with Iraq. Massachusetts Senator John Kerry spoke at a Drake Law school event Saturday night, but earlier Saturday, he met with about 30 central Iowa Latino leaders, conversing in English and Spanish. It was Kerry’s first campaign swing through Iowa since his successful prostate cancer surgery about three weeks ago. Kerry says he’s “doing fantastic,” and he says “people have been wonderfully supportive and encouraging.” Folks at the Saturday meeting wanted to hear Kerry talk about the war, and the March 17th deadline President Bush has set for Iraq to disarm.Kerry says it’s important to “push the process forward and hold Saddam Hussein accountable.” But Kerry says the big question is how you do that, and he says if the Bush Administration is willing to be reasonable in the coming days, then it’s a positive development. But Kerry says it’ll be a serious problem if Bush isn’t willing to listen to anybody in the next seven days.Kerry says he is “deeply concerned” by the way the Bush Administration has conducted diplomacy. Kerry says Bush has been arrogant, aggressive and dismissive of other opinions about the world, and he says that’s not the way to build support. On Sunday, Missouri Congressman Richard Gephardt courted western Iowans, trying to reconnect with the rural Democrats who helped him secure a victory in the 1988 Iowa Caucuses.
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