News

    Democratic Presidential Contenders Focus on Iraq

    Multimedia

    Audio

    Democratic presidential contenders focused their attention on the war in Iraq during appearances at two candidate forums Tuesday in Washington. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has the latest on the race for the Democratic Party's presidential nomination.

    The most recent polls show New York Senator Hillary Clinton solidifying her lead in the Democratic field.

    Senator Clinton sought to strengthen her position as the frontrunner for the party nomination in separate campaign appearances before a union group and an organization of liberal activists.

    Clinton focused much of her remarks on the war in Iraq. She and the other seven Democratic candidates are seeking the support of anti-war activists who are expected to be a major force in the presidential primaries and caucuses next year.

    "I believe that we have got to start engaging in diplomacy and that is what I would do, beginning now, if I were president," she said. "And if our president does not end our involvement in Iraq, when I am president, I will."

    Clinton favors a phased withdrawal of U.S. forces from Iraq beginning immediately, a view also held by Illinois Senator Barack Obama.

    Obama is running second behind Clinton in public opinion polls.

    "We have no good options in Iraq left," he said. "We have bad options and worse options. The best option, I believe, is to make certain that we begin a phased redeployment, that we are as careful getting out as we were careless getting in."

    But some of the Democratic candidates who trail the top contenders are trying to highlight differences on Iraq.

    "If I were president today, I would withdraw all our forces before the end of this calendar year," said New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson. "But where I differentiate with the other candidates is I leave no residual forces."

    Former North Carolina Senator John Edwards remains third in most polls, though his support has slipped in recent months.

    Edwards says the next president must manage more than just a troop withdrawal from Iraq.

    "I would get Sunni and the Shia leadership engaged in serious discussions to see if they can reach some kind of political solution, political reconciliation," said Edwards. "Because without that there is never going to be peace in Iraq."

    Ohio Congressman Dennis Kucinich is near the bottom of the eight candidate Democratic field in the polls. But Kucinich was quick to criticize fellow contenders like Clinton and Edwards who initially supported the use of force in Iraq.

    "And we need a president who can defend our country, but also who knows when war is wrong and is ready to say so when it counts, not four years later, not five years later," said Kuchinich.

    Political experts say Clinton has firmly established herself as the Democratic frontrunner in recent months by emphasizing her experience in government, first as First Lady during the presidency of her husband, Bill Clinton, and more recently as a U.S. Senator.

    "There is one person who I think has the greatest chance, if you figure the odds of all 18 candidates, both Republicans and Democrats, there is one candidate, if you had to pick one who has the best chance to be president, I think it is Hillary Clinton, the senator from New York," said Fred Barnes, editor of the Weekly Standard magazine.

    But analysts note that while Senator Clinton has long held a lead among Democrats in public opinion polls, she also continues to draw high unfavorable ratings from Republicans and independent voters. That could cause her problems in the general election if she winds up as the Democratic nominee.

    Maurice Carroll directs public opinion surveys at Quinnipiac University in Connecticut.

    "She is ahead and she has been ahead and she stays ahead without much change," said Carroll. "There is no question that Mrs. Clinton is very, very popular among Democrats, but she still has a high number of negatives in the Quinnipiac poll and in everybody's polls."

    In the latest Quinnipiac poll, Clinton narrowly beat the top Republican contenders for president, including former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, Arizona Senator John McCain and former Tennessee Senator Fred Thompson. Thompson is not in the race, but is expected to join it soon.

     

    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.
    Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensionsi
    X
    April 29, 2016 12:28 AM
    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensions

    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Master Mohammad Ayub runs a makeshift school in a public park in Islamabad. Thousands of poor children have benefited from his services over the years, but, as VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem reports, roughly 25 million school-age youths don't get an education in Pakistan.
    Video

    Video Florida’s Weeki Wachee ‘Mermaids’ Make a Splash

    Since 1947, ‘mermaids’ have fascinated tourists at central Florida’s Weeki Wachee Springs State Park with their fluid movements and synchronized ballet. Performing underwater has its challenges, including cold temperatures and a steady current, as VOA’s Lin Yang and Joseph Mok report.
    Video

    Video Somali, African Union Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shabab

    The Islamic State terror group claimed its first attack in Somalia earlier this week, though the claim has not been verified by forces on the ground. Meanwhile, al-Shabab militants have stepped up their attacks as Somalia prepares for elections later this year. Henry Ridgwell reports there are growing frustrations among Somalia’s Western backers over the country’s slow progress in forming its own armed forces to establish security after 25 years of chaos.
    Video

    Video Bangladesh Targeted Killings Spark Wave of Fear

    People in Bangladesh’s capital are expressing deep concern over the brutal attacks that have killed secular blogger, and most recently a gay rights activist and an employee of the U.S. embassy. Xulhaz Mannan, an embassy protocol officer and the editor of the country’s only gay and transgender magazine Roopban; and his friend Mehboob Rabbi Tanoy, a gay rights activist, were hacked to death by five attackers in Mannan’s Dhaka home earlier this month.
    Video

    Video Documentary Tells Tale of Chernobyl Returnees

    Ukraine this week is marking the 30th anniversary of the world's worst nuclear accident, at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Soviet officials at first said little about the accident, but later evacuated a 2,600-square-kilometer "exclusion zone." Some people, though, came back. American directors Holly Morris and Anne Bogart created a documentary about this faithful and brave community. VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko reports from New York on "The Babushkas of Chernobyl." Carol Pearson narrates.
    Video

    Video Nigerians Feel Bite of Buhari Economic Policy

    Despite the global drop in the price of oil, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has refused to allow the country's currency to devalue, leading to a shortage of foreign exchange. Chris Stein reports from Lagos businessmen and consumers are feeling the impact as the country deals with a severe fuel shortage.
    Video

    Video  Return to the Wild

    There’s a growing trend in the United States to let old or underused golf courses revert back to nature. But as Erika Celeste reports from one parcel in Grafton, Ohio, converting 39 hectares of land back to green space is a lot more complicated than just not mowing the fairway.
    Video

    Video West Urges Unity in Libya as Migrant Numbers Soar

    The Italian government says a NATO-led mission aimed at stemming the flow of migrants from Libya to Europe could be up and running by July. There are concerns that the number of migrants could soar as the route through Greece and the Balkans remains blocked. Western powers say the political chaos in Libya is being exploited by people smugglers — and they are pressuring rival groups to come together under the new unity government. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Russia’s TV Rain Swims Against Tide in Sea of Kremlin Propaganda

    Russia’s media freedoms have been gradually eroded under President Vladimir Putin as his government has increased state ownership, influence, and restrictions on critical reporting. Television, where most Russians get their news, has been the main target and is now almost completely state controlled. But in the Russian capital, TV Rain stands out as an island in a sea of Kremlin propaganda.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora