Two Democratic presidential candidates making the rounds in Iowa today believe the war with Iraq will fade as a central campaign issue. Connecticut Senator Joe Lieberman expects American voters to be refocused when the campaign kicks off in January with the Iowa Caucuses.Lieberman says “thankfully, it certainly appears as if the war with Iraq appears to be near an end.” While there will continue to be discussion about post-war Iraq, Lieberman says the American people will naturally turn to their other greatest concern, which he says is the economy. Lieberman says by the time Iowans go to the Caucuses, the number one question will be why hasn’t George W. Bush done more to get the economy going again. Lieberman says he intends to be the “pro-growth, pro-jobs, pro-fiscal responsibility alternative to the Bush fiscal irresponsibility and economic stagnation.” Missouri Congressman Dick Gephardt says even with an end to war in Iraq in sight, it’s hard to say how quickly the war might fade as a campaign issue. Gephardt says the economy is usually the main issue because he says “the truth is if the economy works well, most problems melt away.” Gephardt’s campaigning in Iowa today, and he says the U-S has a big job ahead in Iraq.Gephardt says the first task is to establish order. The next is to get some kind of government set up in Iraq. And Gephardt says it’s important to soothe our natural allies in NATO and the U-N so the rest of the world shares in the cost of rebuilding Iraq. Gephardt says the Mid-East peace process must be re-started, too. Gephardt says while the health of the U-S economic will likely dominate the upcoming campaign, there’ll still be a focus on foreign affairs. Gephardt says “we’re in a dangerous world” because terrorism still exists. Gephardt finished first in Iowa’s 1988 Caucuses but his campaign for that year’s democratic presidential nomination faltered shortly afterwards. Lieberman was Al Gore’s running mate in 2000. Gephardt will be in Mason City and Charles City today. Lieberman will be in Fort Dodge and Ames. Former Vermont Governor Howard Dean, another of the democrats running for President, has stops scheduled in Iowa City, Cedar Falls, Edgewood and Oelwein.
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