News

    Democratic Candidate Vilsack Abandons US Presidential Bid

    Multimedia

    Audio

    Former Iowa Governor Tom Vilsack announced Friday that he is abandoning his bid for the Democratic Party's presidential nomination next year. Vilsack and other Democratic contenders have been overshadowed so far by the candidacies of Senators Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama in a campaign that is being dominated by the war in Iraq. VOA National correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.

    Vilsack said the demands of raising large amounts of campaign donations as he competed against better known Democratic rivals was the major reason he decided to quit the race for the White House.

    "Today I am announcing that we are ending this presidential campaign," he said.

    Political analysts say the media focus on Clinton and Obama, who lead in public opinion polls, made it increasingly difficult for Vilsack to gain public visibility and raise money, two essentials for a successful presidential run.

    Just a few days ago at a Democratic candidates forum in Nevada, Vilsack argued that the United States should begin an immediate troop withdrawal from Iraq.

    "What have you done today to end this war in Iraq? It needs to be ended now," he said. "Not six days from now, not six months from now, not six years from now. It needs to be ended now and it's up to you."

    Iraq remains the key issue among Democrats running for the White House and the contenders have staked out a wide variety of positions on the conflict.

    Among those Democrats who oppose an immediate withdrawal from Iraq is Delaware Senator Joe Biden. Biden believes the U.S. must take more time to stabilize Iraq before U.S. troops can leave.

    "But ladies and gentlemen, if that civil war metastasizes into a regional war, we are going to be sending your grandchildren back," he said.

    Some Democrats running for president have also made a point of saying they made a mistake when they supported President Bush's request to use force in Iraq back in 2002, in advance of the war launched in 2003.

    "It was a mistake, in my view, to vote the way we did five years ago on that [use of force] resolution," said Connecticut Senator Chris Dodd.

    Another candidate who says he made a mistake in supporting the force resolution is former North Carolina Senator John Edwards. Edwards says those who initially supported the Iraq war should now admit they were wrong.

    "We need a leader who will be open and honest with you and with the American people, who will tell the truth," he said. "Who will tell the truth when they have made a mistake, who will take responsibility when they have made a mistake."

    Analysts believe Edwards' pointed remarks are directed at New York Senator Hillary Clinton. Clinton has refused demands from some of her rivals that she admit her 2002 vote in support of the war was a mistake.

    "My vote was a sincere vote based on the facts and assurances that I had at the time," she said.

    Illinois Senator Barack Obama did not attend the Nevada event. Obama was not in the U.S. Senate for the Iraq debate but opposed the war as a state senator in Illinois. Obama and several other Democratic candidates favor a phased withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq.

    The Obama and Clinton campaigns have exchanged angry statements in recent days over comments made by former Clinton supporter David Geffen. Geffen is a prominent Hollywood film and music producer and criticized Hillary Clinton in the New York Times and said he was supporting Obama for president.

    One of the other candidates in the Democratic race, New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson, is urging his fellow Democrats to run positive campaigns, both against each other and against the record of the Bush administration.

    "We just cannot criticize the president," he said. "There is plenty to criticize. But we should advance our own policies, our own solutions. What is our plan on Iraq? What is our plan on education?"

    The early campaign activity has taken some analysts by surprise. But Tom DeFrank of the New York Daily News told VOA's Issues in the News program that optimism among Democrats about their chances next year is driving the early fundraising activity and debate.

    "The Democrats smell that is going to be their year in 2008," he said. "They think the odds are strong that the next president will be a Democrat, so that ups the stakes on the Democratic side."

    Iowa and New Hampshire will kick off the presidential selection process next January. Political analyst Charlie Cook says it is vital for serious presidential contenders to get off to a strong start early next year.

    Cook spoke on the C-SPAN public affairs TV network.

    "Iowa and New Hampshire are hugely, hugely important," he said. "And if you do not come in first or second in Iowa, the odds are you are not going to come in first or second in New Hampshire. And if you have not come in first or second in one of those two, I think your chances of winning either party's [presidential] nomination are under five percent."

    On the Democratic side, polls indicate the top contenders at the moment are Senators Clinton and Obama and former Senator Edwards.

    In the Republican race, surveys show the top three candidates are former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, Arizona Senator John McCain and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney.

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunitiesi
    X
    VOA News
    July 25, 2016 5:09 PM
    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video Recycling Lifeline for Lebanon’s Last Glassblowers

    In a small Lebanese coastal town, one family is preserving a craft that stretches back millennia. The art of glass blowing was developed by Phoenicians in the region, and the Khalifehs say they are the only ones keeping the skill alive in Lebanon. But despite teaming up with an eco-entrepreneur and receiving an unexpected boost from the country’s recent trash crisis the future remains uncertain. John Owens reports from Sarafand.
    Video

    Video Migrants Continue to Risk Lives Crossing US Border from Mexico

    In his speech Thursday before the Republican National Convention, the party’s presidential candidate, Donald Trump, reiterated his proposal to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border if elected. Polls show a large percentage of Americans support better control of the nation's southwestern border, but as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from the border town of Nogales in the Mexican state of Sonora, the situation faced by people trying to cross the border is already daunting.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Calm the Waters: US Doubles Down Diplomatic Efforts in ASEAN Meetings

    The United States is redoubling diplomatic efforts and looking to upcoming regional meetings to calm the waters after an international tribunal invalidated the legal basis of Beijing's extensive claims in the South China Sea. VOA State Department correspondent Nike Ching has the story.
    Video

    Video Four Brother Goats Arrive in Brooklyn on a Mission

    While it's unusual to see farm animals in cities, it's become familiar for residents of Brooklyn, New York, to see a little herd of goats. Unlike gas-powered mowing equipment, goats remove invasive weeds quietly and without adding more pollution to the air. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, this is a pilot program and if it proves to be successful, the goat gardener program will be extended to other areas of New York. Faith Lapidus narrates.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Wall Already Runs Along Parts of US-Mexico Border

    The Republican Party’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump, gained the support of many voters by saying he would build a wall to keep undocumented immigrants and drugs from coming across the border from Mexico. Critics have called his idea impractical and offensive to Mexico, while supporters say such a bold approach is needed to control the border. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from the border town of Nogales, Arizona.
    Video

    Video New HIV Tests Emphasize Rapid Results

    As the global fight against AIDS intensifies, activists have placed increasing importance on getting people to know their HIV status. Some companies are developing new HIV testing methods designed to be quick, easy and accurate. Thuso Khumalo looks at the latest methods, presented at the International AIDS conference in Durban, South Africa.
    Video

    Video African Youth with HIV Urge More Support

    HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is the top killer of teens in sub-Saharan Africa. But many youths say their experience with the virus is unique and needs to be addressed differently than the adult epidemic. VOA South African Correspondent Anita Powell reports.
    Video

    Video Pop-Up Art Comes to Your Living Room, Backyard and Elsewhere

    Around the world, independent artists and musicians wrestle with a common problem: where to exhibit or perform? Traditional spaces such as museums and galleries are reserved for bigger names, and renting a space is not feasible for many. Enter ArtsUp, which connects artists with venue owners. Whether it’s a living room, restaurant, office or even a boat, pop-up events are bringing music and art to unexpected places. Tina Trinh has more.
    Video

    Video Scotland’s Booming Whisky Industry Fears Brexit Hangover

    After Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, Scotland’s government wants to break away from the United Kingdom – fearing the nation’s exports are at risk. Among the biggest of these is whisky. Henry Ridgwell reports on a time of turmoil for those involved in the ancient art of distilling Scotland’s most famous product.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora