Going South

Lizza, Ryan
February 2004
New Republic;2/23/2004, Vol. 230 Issue 6, p10
This article looks at the political campaign of Wesley Clark. It's never a good sign when a candidate starts talking about his campaign in the past tense. It's Monday afternoon, the day before the Tennessee and Virginia primaries, and General Wesley Clark has his shoes kicked off and his feet up on a leather sofa in the back of his campaign bus. We're rolling through western Tennessee, close to the Arkansas border, on our way from Ripley (population 7,800), where Clark talked to about 35 people, to Memphis, where he will address fewer than a hundred. As we talk, one of the embedded journalists from the TV networks who follows Clark everywhere records our interview on camera. Sitting in between Clark and me is Eli Segal, a former Clinton official who, as Clark's campaign chairman, helped give the campaign its early reputation as a refuge for ex-Clintonites trying to recapture the lightning-in-a-bottle success of 1992. Small crowds who gather at every stop on the campaign trail evetually lead to Clark's withdrawal from the race. Why did the Clark campaign fail? There are a few reasons. Clark started the race not as a candidate but as a concept cooked up in Washington by Democrats terrified at the prospect of nominating Howard Dean.


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