Three Democrats who may contend for the 2004 Presidential nomination courted Iowans this weekend at the Iowa Democratic Party’s annual fall fundraising banquet. With the President’s speech tonight on Iraq, the trio discussed the prospects of war and how that may impact next month’s election. North Carolina Senator John Edwards said Americans will still vote based on what he calls “kitchen table” issues. Edwards admitted the “cloud of war” sits over everything, but he said the things that people wake up every morning worrying about — their job and the economy — will still be there. Massachusetts Senator John Kerry, a Vietnam veteran, said no one should challenge the patriotism of those who raise questions about a war against Iraq. Kerry said patriotism is not love of President or love of party, but love of country, and he said patriotism sometimes requires “sailing against the tide” of popular opinion. Vermont Governor Howard Dean questioned whether Saddam Hussein is an imminent threat, and Dean dismissed the notion that Democrats will suffer at the polls in November because of the heightened war talk. Dean said 2002 is a “Democratic year” and while the war talk may slow it down a little, people base their votes on the state of the economy more often than anything else. Governor Tom Vilsack said the Saturday event gave Iowa Democrats a chance to listen for a “new voice” for the party.
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