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General Wesley K. Clark, Arkansas - Democrat Withdrawn
Retired four-star army general Wesley Clark has made visits to New Hampshire, North Carolina and other key states in 2002 to endorse local Democratic candidates. He followed that up with meetings with top national and Iowa party leaders.
He is a 1966 graduate of the United States Military Academy of West Point, New York, where he graduated first in his class. He holds a Masterís Degree in Philosophy, Politics and Economics from Oxford University where he studied as a Rhodes Scholar (August 1966-August 1968). He is a graduate of the National War College, Command and General Staff College, Armor Officer Advanced and Basic Courses, and Ranger and Airborne schools. General Clark was a White House Fellow in 1975-1976 and served as a Special Assistant to the Director of Management and Budget. He has also served as an Assistant Professor of Social Science at the United States Military Academy.
Clark served in the Vietnam War where he was shot in the leg, hip, shoulder and hand. He was the Supreme Allied Commander Europe from 10 July 1997 through 3 May 2000. He was also the Commander in Chief of the United States European Command. He would be the first General since Andrew Jackson to run for President a Democrat.
He and his wife Gert live in Washington, DC. Clark, like the US president under whom he served, Bill Clinton, grew up without a father in Arkansas.

Taxes and budget:
Said he would have opposed Bush's tax cuts. He said "they were not efficient" in stimulating the economy and were "not fair" because they were tilted toward the wealthiest Americans.
"Youíve got to put the country back on a fiscally sound basis, whether that is in suspending parts [of the tax cuts] that havenít been implemented or rescinding parts, thatíd have to be looked at... Taxes are something that you want to have as little of as possible, but you need as much revenue as necessary to meet peopleís needs for services. The American people on the one hand donít like taxes. None of us do, but on the other hand, we expect the government to do certain things for us."
Clark says he supports many aspects of former president Clinton's economic policy, especially "the basic policy of trying to reduce public-sector debt, which produced a lot of confidence in financial communities around the world."
"Wes Clark proposes to provide $20 billion over the next two years in business tax incentives to create American jobs, including in the manufacturing sector," he says on
"I want to create a Civilian Reserve. Americans who register for the Civilian Reserve would present their occupation, skills (including language skills), and preferences for local, national, or international service. In times of need, the President could issue a "voluntary call to service." Civilian Reservists would then be asked to use their particular skills in support of the nation. Emphasis on the Internet and information technology would minimize the need for bureaucratic support."
"I support passage of the bipartisan Call to Service Act, proposed this year by Senators McCain, Bayh, and Kennedy. The act would allow AmeriCorps to grow from 50,000 today to 175,000 in 2008, and would direct it to work closely with the Department of Homeland Security to make America safer. I also support efforts by these Senators and others to broaden Senior Corps, Peace Corps, and Citizen Corps and expand the service component of college-work study."

Trade: "Trade has the potential to raise living standards both here and abroad, but we must ensure that the terms of trade are fair, and that we are competing on an equal playing field. Labor rights are human rights, and I'll treat them that way -- internationally-recognized core labor standards must be central elements of all new trade agreements." Favors the North American Free Trade Agreement. Complained that Bush "still has no strategy to help the 2.6 million manufacturing workers who have lost their jobs."

Foreign Affairs:
Clark, a retired four-star General, would give the Democrats added credibility in criticizing the Bush approach to foreign (especially military) affairs. The Washington Post reported on Clark's positions: Unless the United States can bring a strong coalition into a war against Iraq, it may put itself in greater danger. The chief threat to U.S. security right now is al Qaeda, he argues. Disarming Iraq is important too, he says, but it's not the most urgent task.
"The issue to me has been that we have known for a long time that Osama bin Laden is a problem. The difficulty was always to mobilize the American people and bring enough comprehensive pressure to bear to do something against terrorism. Well, 9-11 did that. But the administration has squandered a lot of the international goodwill that came our way after the attacks and is now squandering our domestic energy by forcing us into Iraq."
The United States is a 225-year rolling revolution. ... We are the embodiment of the Enlightenment. If we're true to those principles, then it's a foreign policy of generosity, humility, engagement, and of course force where it is needed. But as a last resort."
"This is an administration which really hasn't respected our allies. If you really want allies, you've got to listen to their opinions, you've got to take them seriously, you've got to work with their issues."
Heís on the record as opposing the trade embargo with Cuba.
The Bush administration's mistake in Iraq, says Clark, is one of priorities. "They picked war over law. They picked a unilateralist approach over a multilateral approach. They picked conventional forces over special-operations forces. And they picked Saddam Hussein as a target over Osama bin Laden."
Clark worries that the Iraq policy is fatally flawed because it's likely to create new recruits for America's main enemy -- the Islamic fundamentalists who destroyed the World Trade Center and attacked the Pentagon on Sept. 11, 2001. He recalls a military dictum from his days as commander of the Army's National Training Center: "There are only two kinds of plans -- ones that might work and ones that won't work. You have to avoid a plan with a fatal flaw."
On the issue of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, Clark said there was "a certain amount of hype" in the intelligence presented to the public before the war. Asked whether Bush had misled the country, he replied, "I think that's to be determined." He added, "It was never revealed what the imminence of the threat was."

Security, terrorism, civil liberties
"One of the things about the war on terror that I am disturbed about is that we've essentially suspended habeas corpus, which is something that's only been done once in American history and then only for a very brief period. When I go back and think about the atmosphere in which the PATRIOT Act was passed, it begs for a reconsideration and review. And it should be done. Law enforcement agencies will always chafe at any restriction whatsoever when they're in the business of trying to get their job done. But in practice we've always balanced the need for law enforcement with our own protection of our constitutional rights and that's a balance that will need to be reviewed."
"The issue to me has been that we have known for a long time that Osama bin Laden is a problem. The difficulty was always to mobilize the American people and bring enough comprehensive pressure to bear to do something against terrorism. Well, 9-11 did that. But the administration has squandered a lot of the international goodwill that came our way after the attacks and is now squandering our domestic energy by forcing us into Iraq."
He also wants to invest $40 billion over two years in expanding Homeland Security; thus increasing job growth in fire fighting, policing, medical services, rescue working, and information technology.
"I think one of the risks you have in this operation is that youíre giving up some of the essentials of what it is in America to have justice, liberty and the rule of law. I think youíve got to be very, very careful when you abridge those rights to prosecute the war on terrorists. So I think that needs to be carefully looked at."

Abortion Issues:
Clark told Michael Tomasky of the American Prospect in an interview that he favors both abortion rights and affirmative action.

Affirmative action:
"[From my childhood in Arkansas,] I saw first hand the racial prejudice, the civil disobedience, the intolerance. I've often gone back to that experience. It's something I've related to."
"Iím in favor of the principle of affirmative action. Whether [the University of Michiganís affirmative action plan] is the right plan or not, and whether that should be 10 points, not 20 points, whether it should be, letís say, an income level cutoff there at which you donít get the points if youíre above a certain income, you can tool with the plan. But what you canít have is you canít have a society in which weíre not acknowledging that there is a problem in this society with racial discrimination. There is, there has been and the reason so many of us filed [an amicus brief in support of the University of Michiganís affirmative action plan] is we saw the benefits of affirmative action in the United States armed forces. It was essential in restoring the integrity and the effectiveness of the armed forces." While addressing the 2003 South Carolina NAACP presidential "Carolina Roundtable", Clark noted his backing and signature on the amicus brief presented to the US Supreme Court in support of the University of Michigan's affirmative action program. Clark also reiterated his commitment to affirmative action.

Education and healthcare
"I grew up in an armed forces that treated everyone as a valued member of the team," he said. "Everyone got healthcare, and the army cared about the education of everyone's family members. It wasn't the attitude that you find in some places, where people are fending for themselves and the safety net doesn't work." According to his site, General Clark's plan is geared toward assuring that middle class Americans have access to quality health care. "We can cover more than 30 million people - including every child in America - for less than the cost of repealing President Bush's tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans, those making over $200,000 per year," Clark told the New Hampshire audience. Taking into account enhancements and modernization measures, the net cost of the plan would be $695 billion.
Would expand the service component of college-work study.

"I'm looking at American education today, and I think we've got to treat our teachers with more respect. I think they've got to have more pay. But I think also, they have to have opportunities for professional enhancement and professional advancement."
He decried the lack of funding for the No Child Left Behind Act, saying "we should stop beating teachers over the head and start supporting them."
"My commitment to education doesn't end with high school. Too many Americans are finding that rising tuition costs make it harder and harder to go to college. And our system of financial assistance to college students is both insufficient and unduly complicated. I will be setting forth a plan to help every young person in this country get the chance to go to college."

Illegal Drugs
Clark said, "I don't favor decriminalizing the use of marijuana. I might change my mind on that, but I don't right now favor that."

Environmental Issues:
"Human beings do affect the environment and all you have to do is fly along the Andes and look at the disappearing glaciers down there and you recognize that there is something called global warming and it's just getting started as China and India modernize."
"There are two big legacies we leave to our children: Constitutional government, and the environment itself. Every day we wait the problems accumulate and get worse. We should work right now on clean air, clean water, and climate change. We need to support upgrades to air pollution controls, for example -- a lot of measures have been rolled back by the Administration."

Gun Control:
According to a National Public Radio report, Clark grew up with guns and owns around 20 guns and he supports that right. However, he's pro-gun control. "If you want to fire an assault weapon," he said, "join the army, we've got plenty of them."

Clark announced his presidential bid and he was immediately questioned on domestic issues. He appears to be formulating positions adding that he plans to speak with "the people" as he campaigns. On Social Security: "I'm not prepared at this point to address a specific proposal" but "I'm not particularly in favor of raising the retirement age." On school vouchers: "We've got to protect public education," but "there may be times and circumstances on an exceptional basis where vouchering makes sense." On capital punishment: "In exceptional cases you might use the death penalty."


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