Former Senator Carol Moseley Braun has officially joined the race for the Democratic Party's presidential nomination. Ms. Moseley Braun is the only African-American woman ever to serve in the U.S. Senate, but is considered a long shot among the 10 Democrats running.
Former Senator Moseley Braun says she is "uniquely qualified" to be president, and offers what she calls the "clearest alternative" to President Bush. The former senator from Illinois opposed the war in Iraq, and like other Democrats, has harshly criticized the administration's record on the economy.
Although she has been campaigning for months, Ms. Moseley Braun made the official announcement of her candidacy at Howard University, a historically black college in Washington, D.C. "What makes this country great is not the size of its military, or its budget, or its wealth, but the spirit of her people. That spirit has been battered since September 11, not only by the criminals, but by leaders who have pandered to fear in its aftermath. We must not allow the nightmare of our limitations to continue, but instead, dream a world of the best of who we are," she said.
Ms. Moseley Braun has made inroads in winning some support from women's groups and African-American voters, but she lags behind most of the other candidates in both public opinion polls and fund-raising.
Meanwhile, a new poll indicates that retired General Wesley Clark has the potential to shake up the Democratic race for president. General Clark became the 10th Democrat to enter the 2004 race last week, and a poll by Newsweek magazine indicates he has surged to near the top of the Democratic field. The poll also found he would give President Bush a strong challenge, if he were the Democratic Party's presidential nominee.
Political analyst Stuart Rothenberg says General Clark is having an impact on the race, because many Democrats are eager to find a candidate capable of defeating the president. "He is articulate, he has TV experience, and from all that I can gather, he has some considerable personal magnetism and chemistry. He is a good-looking guy, well-spoken, and he conveys a sense of strength and leadership, and that is what the Democrats are looking for," he said.
But General Clark has already run into controversy with his changing opinions on the war in Iraq. In some recent interviews, General Clark initially said he would have supported the congressional use of force resolution on Iraq last year, then backtracked and said he would never have supported the war resolution.
Former Vermont Governor Howard Dean has climbed to the top of opinion polls in the crucial early contest states of Iowa and New Hampshire, in large part because of his strong opposition to the war in Iraq.