Former President Bill Clinton used an Iowa stage to bestow his blessing on the field of Democrats who’re running to oust his successor.
Despite a dreary day, thousands of Democrats gathered outdoors in Indianola this weekend for the pep rally featuring Clinton and seven of the Democratic presidential candidates. Senator Tom Harkin said it may have been a bit wet for his 26th annual Steak Fry, but it didn’t dampen Democrats enthusiasm about winning back the White House.
The candidates, including former Vermont Governor Howard Dean, focused on the economy. Dean said “we need jobs in this country again.” North Carolina Senator John Edwards talked about one specific job. Edwards said Democrats “need to make sure that George W. Bush loses his job come November of 2004.”
But it was Clinton who provided the capstone on the event, giving his blessing to the Democrats who’re running for the White House. Clinton said he knew all the candidates, and he called them the best field Democrats have put forward in decades. Clinton urged Democrats to go out and in the “nicest, funniest way” possible point out where they disagree with Bush and tell Americans what Democrats would do differently if they win the Presidency.
AUDIO of Clinton’s speech, runs 33 min.
Clinton’s wife, Hillary, is often mentioned as a potential candidate and many polls show she would lead Democrats if she tossed her hat in the race for the White House, But Clinton gave his unconditional seal of approval to the candidates who are already running. Clinton says he gets tired of hearing that none of the Democrats aren’t capable of beating President Bush. Clinton says that’s what folks said about him in ’92, and it just means the latest crop of candidates aren’t famous — yet.
Candidates Dean, Florida Senator Bob Graham, former Illinois Senator Carol Moseley Braun and Ohio Congressman Dennis Kucinich stayed on stage while Clinton spoke — and North Carolina Senator John Edwards paid tribute to Clinton during his own remarks to the crowd. Edwards said he was tired of Democrats walking away from Bill Clinton and Al Gore. Edwards said Clinton led America during its greatest period of economic growth.
The Republican National Committee issued a statement, saying Clinton “clearly overshadows a very weak field of Democrat candidates” and criticizing the Democratic candidates for engaging in “political hate speech” that compares Bush “with the great evils of mankind.”