Campaign Roadblog, 2/6/04

Campaign 2004 Bus Election
With the primaries as hot as they get, CBS News reporters are out on the road covering the candidates' every move. They'll be sharing their observations, impressions and anecdotes from the campaign trail in our daily Roadblog.


Fri. Feb. 6:On the eve of the two largest primary contests to date, Michigan and Washington state, Kerry spent Friday campaigning in the Wolverine State - visiting a church in Detroit, receiving endorsements in Warren, and rallying the troops in Flint.

He waxed religious for the first time this year at the Second Ebenezer Baptist Church in the Motor City and was joined by a slew of high-profile state Democrats: Gov. Jennifer Granholm, former Gov. James Blanchard, Sens. Carl Levin and Debbie Stabenow, and former Sen. Don Riegle.

At one point, Kerry referenced the first two Commandments, love the Lord as thy God and "love your neighbor as thyself." He then turned political saying those Commandments are "the story. That's the whole deal right there."

"But from a lot of people who profess it, I don't see a whole lot of loving your neighbor like thyself," Kerry added in a veiled reference to conservatives.

He then referenced the classic Rep. Barney Frank one-liner on abortion: "There are some in this country who think life begins at conception and ends at birth," adding that he feels conservatives "abandon" children after they're born.

Kerry also apologized to the congregation of mostly African-Americans - in front of whom he used the term "separate but unequal" to describe education and health care - for being a no-show at a forum held Thursday in Detroit that was attended solely by Rev. Al Sharpton.

"I'm running a national campaign. I had to be in Maine yesterday to pay them the same kind of respect I'm paying you today," said Kerry, who neglected to mention the New York City fund-raiser he attended later in the day Thursday that was the real reason he wasn't in Michigan last night.

Later in the morning, Kerry met up with Rep. John Dingell, D-Mich., and former candidate, Rep. Dick Gephardt, who both officially threw their support behind him. All who spoke at the event, including Kerry, focused heavily on jobs and increasing manufacturing jobs in this labor-heavy state.

Gephardt spoke to reporters later and was asked about how he overcame their differences on NAFTA; Gephardt has been a strong opponent of it, Kerry voted for it but supports the enforcement of labor and environment standards.

"I believe when John Kerry is president, we will help him bring about a new trade policy in this country that will be good - not only for American workers but for workers all over the world," Gephardt said. "The quest here has to be to get the standard of living and environmental conditions to come up all over the world. I'm convinced that John Kerry will lead toward that conclusion."

Friday afternoon, Kerry toured a M-TEC facility in Flint, a partnership between manufacturers and Mott Community College that trains students for manufacturing jobs. Laurie Moncrieff, president of Schmald Tool & Die, whose company is involved in the M-TEC program, spoke to Kerry and complained that federal funding cuts are hurting the program and that current trade deals are hurting as well, sending jobs overseas.

Regarding the lack of enforcement of labor and environment standards in NAFTA, she said: "Nobody followed through on that. Not Clinton, not Bush."

Kerry interrupted her: "I will."

Saturday, Kerry spends the day in Nashville, Tennessee and the evening in Richmond, Virginia in advance of the Tuesday primaries in those states.
--Steve Chaggaris

GEN. WESLEY CLARK, U.S. Army (retired)

Fri. Feb. 6: Wesley Clark routinely distances himself from Washington, D.C., when addressing voters. "I'm not a professional politician; I'm not a Washington insider," Wesley Clark said on Thursday to Nashville voters. "I'm somebody who's a leader in public service, but I'm not part of the Washington scene."

This week in Tennessee, Clark made it clear that this trait is one that separates him from his opponents. "It seems like my worthy opponents in this race—they're good people—I like them, but they are part of that culture," he said. "While they've been talking and debating about issues, I've been out in the U.S. Armed Forces, making decisions and leading."

Last month in New Hampshire, Clark touted his campaign as "a strong, positive campaign," refusing to even say opponent Howard Dean's name let alone take a swipe at his record. That same day in January, Clark's senior strategist Chris Lehane suggested it would not always be Clark's strategy. "There's a time for all seasons in any campaign, and campaigns are always about comparisons and contrasts," he told CBS News. "And I'm sure as this campaign moves forward, people are going to compare Wesley Clark's leadership approach to leadership approach or lack thereof of other candidates."

The season appears to have changed in the Clark campaign. Clark's momentum peaked in New Hampshire; he has neither John Kerry's frontrunner status nor John Edward's buzz factor. As the must-win Tennessee primary nears, Clark has begun to make an effort to separate himself from his rivals, especially John Edwards - who the campaign believes is Clark's main competition as alternative to John Kerry.

"Both [Edwards and Clark] are from the South, haven't spent much time in politics, and there's not a whole lot of daylight between how they feel on the issues; he's going to talk about what it takes to be president and make point that he has it and John Edwards doesn't," explained Communications Director Matt Bennett. "It's the point in the cycle where it makes sense to do this. It's crunch time."

At a press availability Wednesday, Clark issued a long litany of pointed swipes against on Kerry and Edwards, the two candidates now perceived as hurdles to a Clark nomination.

"You got a lot of people in this race who are criticizing No Child Left Behind, but my opponents in this race — John Kerry and John Edwards — both voted for it. Or take the issue of civil liberties. People are worried about the Patriot Act and what it does, and a lot of people are criticizing it. John Edwards and John Kerry both voted for it. Or take the case of the war in Iraq. A lot of people are criticizing what happened there. But John Kerry and John Edwards both voted to give President Bush a blank check," Clark said in Jackson, Tenn., this week.

And he didn't stop there. Clark accused Edwards of being a "freshman Senator" who voted to cut funding for veterans. "When it came down to deciding between special interests and veterans, Senator Edwards blinked and he didn't support our veterans," Clark said on a local Tennessee talk radio program.

At a Radford, Virginia, rally Friday night, Clark took the liberty of informing voters about an Associated Press story on allegations that Senator Kerry promised federal positions to contributors. "I don't know whether it's true or not, but it's the appearance of this that makes people upset about Washington because ordinary people don't get that," he said.

While Mr. Kerry has not yet addressed Clark's attacks, Mr. Edwards said Clark took his votes "out of context." Edwards' press secretary Jennifer Palmieri issued an even stronger response, calling Clark's criticism "absurd." In a statement, Palmieri wrote "Unfortunately, this is what politicians do when they are losing — they dip into the gutter and throw whatever they find, whether it is true or not."

[Editor's Note: As is typically the case in politics, campaigns spin records and votes. Clark says Edwards voted against "closing corporate tax loopholes to prevent across the board cuts to veterans' healthcare." Meanwhile Edwards campaign says Senators McCain and Hagel voted for the same bill; that the vote in question was a vote "against any across the board budget cuts." It's suggested voters do their own research on this matter.]

Clark may not call himself a "professional politician," but he has become entrenched in politics. In a Clark campaign advisory issued to reporters on Clark's radio interview, the campaign wrote ""Democratic presidential candidate General Wesley Clark will deliver remarks that will include a serious new hit on Edwards."

But when asked by reporters about the recent attacks, Clark denied his campaign was taking a negative tone. "First of all I want to make it clear that I'm not attacking anybody. I'm only trying to clarify the differences between myself and the other candidates," he said on Friday. "I like John Edwards and I like John Kerry; they're both good men. But I think candidates have an obligation to explain what their differences are."

Although voters aren't wild about mud-slinging campaign tactics, most know it's a necessary evil in politics. "I don't like when they attack each other, but I do think he does need to draw the distinctions between himself and what he has to offer," said Clark supporter Lynn Myrick of Mt. Juliet, Tenn. "I think he's addressing this idea because everyone's wondering which one to vote for--and who would be the best."

As to not leave a bitter taste in the mouths of voters, Clark has been concluding his recent events on an idealistic, positive note. "But I also have a dream in my heart," Clark said in Nashville Friday morning.

With his voice lowering, Clark reaches out to voters who appear to hang on his every word, nodding their head in agreement and rewarding him with applause at its conclusion.

"When I was a youngster I believed that every person could do better in their lives than their parents. I believed it was possible to work hard to get an education, to get a job and raise a family and make the country better. And what I've seen over the past few years in America is youngsters are losing their hope for that dream. I don't want that dream to die. I'm the person who can best bring jobs, bring healthcare, bring education, bring safety and security to America. I want our children to regain that American dream that we believed in and that's why I want you to vote for me. I want to bring that dream back to America."
--Bonney Kapp


Thurs. Feb. 5: In an early morning e-mail to supporters requesting $50 donations to help with an ad buy, Howard Dean set a timeline for his campaign: Wisconsin or bust.

"The entire race has come down to this," the e-mail begins. "We must win Wisconsin."

After failing to chalk up a win in any of the initial nine caucus or primary contests, the Dean campaign has been facing questions as to when it would finally put a check mark in the "W" column. Dean himself has insisted that the nomination contest is more about amassing delegates than winning specific states.

But eventually, financial and political backers are going to want to see victories. Dean, now on a two-day tour in Michigan, said in the e-mail that he expects "a boost" after this weekend's contests in Washington state, Michigan and Maine. But then his sights are set on Wisconsin.

"A win there will carry us to the big states of March 2 and narrow the field to two candidates," the e-mail reads. "Anything less will put us out of this race."

Dean told supporters, "all that you have worked for these past months is on the line on a single day, in a single state."

While Dean campaigns today and tomorrow in Michigan, followed by a stop this weekend in Maine, campaign aides say it is safe to assume the governor will spend the majority of his time in the week leading up to Feb. 17 in Wisconsin.

Dean's e-mail has already had an impact. More than $125,000 in contributions poured into the campaign via the Internet in less than 12 hours. A Dean campaign spokesperson said more than $26,000 came in between 8:00 and 9:00 am today alone.
--Eric Salzman


Wed. Feb. 4: Months of campaigning yielded just 10 percent of the vote and zero delegates, which makes it hard for the reverend to claim even a moral victory from Tuesday's South Carolina primary. A token delegate was won in Delaware guaranteeing Sharpton a seat at the table at the Boston convention.

But as Sharpton said to CBS News' Byron Pitts this morning, he will be going to the convention even if he has to put on his old jogging suit and "walk from Brooklyn to Boston." He is determined to have his issues heard.

And while he wanted to gain at least a delegate in South Carolina he was still pleased in his own special way.

"If I had told you when you had come on the road with us that I would double Howard Dean and triple Joe Lieberman in south Carolina you would say I'm on crack."

His critics are still vocal even amongst the African American community.

"It has to go beyond symbolic they have to raise an organization," said Kevin Gray, former South Carolina state director for Sharpton, wondering if the reverend's campaign has become more about Sharpton than his voters and their issues. "The leverage is having a network to deliver the black vote," said Gray.

Today's inside baseball story came from one of Sharpton's hometown paper's, the Village Voice. It detailed Sharpton's financial woes and his financial and political connections to Republican political operative Roger Stone. According to the FEC, Sharpton is close to $350,000 in debt. When I asked about the true relationship between the strange bedfellows, Sharpton's campaign manager, Charles Halloran, said, "I think they have respect for each other's skill sets."

But does Stone aid Sharpton in his attacks against his Democratic rivals such as Howard Dean? "If Roger could find some ants on an anthill to divide he'd be back there with a magnifying glass," said Halloran.

In a telling moment, five homeless men and women were hired to stand outside the Second Nazareth Baptist Church, a polling site in Columbia, to hold signs for Sharpton. They were paid $50 for ten to eleven hours of work – less than the minimum wage.

"He could have given us more," said Angela Hair of the Hampton Street winter shelter.

I'm not so sure Angela.

Sharpton flies to Detroit tomorrow morning.
--Ben Ferguson


Tues. Feb. 3: Speaking to a crowd of family, friends and supporters at the Hyatt's Senate Ballroom in Arlington, Va., the senator finally accepted defeat, "I will respect the voters' verdict" and "end my quest for the presidency of the United States of America," he said.

But Joe Lieberman still managed to remain upbeat. "Am I disappointed? Naturally, but I'm proud of my message," he said, and he went on to reiterate that message, mainly that only a centrist candidate could win the Democratic nomination and go on to beat President Bush.

Lieberman vowed to continue the fight for values and bipartisan efforts in the U.S. Senate and thanked the people of Connecticut for their abiding support and encouragement.

Looking at his wife Hadassah, his mother Marcia, sister Ellen and all of his kids gathered round him on the American flag-draped stage, the Senator said he felt like a winner, "Everyday when I wake up in the morning I praise God for allowing me to serve the in the Senate and for the great family and friends that I have."

As the crowd cheered "Let's go Joe" for the very last time, the senator stepped off the stage, hugged a few supporters, declined all media interview requests and slipped out a back door.

His staff and spokespersons milled about. All were in agreement that they were OK because the Senator was OK. Deputy campaign director Brian Hardwick told me "I feel really proud of the campaign that we ran. It was honest and full of integrity until the end. We didn't get ugly or snippy."

Spokesman Jano Cabrera quipped, "Everyone's real proud of Lieberman. He engenders the kind of loyalty that you don't see with other politicians."

Loyalty, indeed. Not one of these guys would intimate just when the death toll began to toll, nor would they throw out a guess as to why the Lieberman campaign never really gathered too much momentum or enthusiasm from voters.

Before he addressed supporters, Joseph I. Lieberman called both Sens. John Kerry and John Edwards to offer his congratulations. In his speech to supporters, Lieberman promised to throw his support behind whoever wins the Democratic nomination.

"The most important thing is that we deny Bush a second term," he said. Just who will do that denying remains to be seen.
--Tali Aronsky


Tues. Feb. 3: With less then 24 hours until South Carolinians go to the polls, a voiceless Sen. Edwards is trekking all across the state, trying to rack up as much support as possible. Besides Al Sharpton, Edwards is the only candidate campaigning in South Carolina today. While the state should belong to Edwards, Sen. Kerry is not far behind in most recent polls. And while the Edwards camp is confident that they have a strong ground game, it remains to be seen how strong an operation the others have (notably Kerry) in South Carolina.

Everyone knows that Edwards MUST win South Carolina or we can say bye-bye to his campaign. With this in mind, Edwards has spent the majority of his time since placing fourth in New Hampshire in the Palmetto State. He has also made trips to Oklahoma, Missouri and New Mexico, but if he loses in South Carolina then any other state is irrelevant, so this is where the focus has been. His ads are saturating the airwaves and his visibility throughout the state is getting him a ton of local media attention. Besides the media, Edwards was joined today by his three children – Jack, Emma Claire and Cate – and his national campaign chair Harvey Gant (the former mayor of Charleston and first African-American to go to Clemson).

The Edwards campaign is ultimately hoping for a Kerry/Edwards match-up. Right now, Kerry has the national momentum and analysts say there is an 80 percent chance that he will get the nomination. In terms of South Carolina, Kerry launched his campaign in Charleston, and yet he has barely spent any time here. The Edwards campaign thinks that he's backed off since he realized that he couldn't compete here. (I'm sure the Kerry camp would beg to differ.)

Furthermore, pundits may argue that Edwards is merely a regional candidate if he only wins S.C. on Feb. 3. But the campaign says he's the only candidate to compete in Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina (besides Kerry, whom they say has spent more money on ads in S.C. than anyone else, but he really isn't competing here). The Edwards camp is also hoping to pick up several delegates in the other six primary states, thereby proving that Edwards is a national candidate.

Assuming that Edwards wins South Carolina, the focus of his campaign will turn to the Feb. 10 primary states: Virginia and Tennessee. He is not planning to compete in Washington state and the campaign has not made it clear what their plans are for Michigan. From the way it looks now, Edwards will also need to win both Virginian and Tennessee, so he can further prove that he's the candidate that win in the South (and no Democrat has ever won without winning at least five Southern states).

Today, Edwards needs to win back his voice. Tomorrow, he needs to win South Carolina. Only then will we know which direction this man is headed.
--Alison Schwartz