Hillary Clinton has been working closely with decorated anti-war retired Gen. Wesley Clark on foreign policy, fueling rumors he could be vice-president on a “Clinton-Clark” ticket in 2008.
In recent months Clark has joined Clinton several times on the campaign trail, has been publishing a number of profile-raising editorials, and is making a substantial effort to keep his slick PAC website updated with his media schedule. He also promotes email campaigns that solicit names and contact information, as he did in his recent push to remove Rush Limbaugh from Armed Forces Radio.
Clinton’s 2002 vote to authorize President Bush to use force in Iraq has haunted her, but having a former military general as a running mate could boost her foreign policy credentials on the campaign trail. In 1999, Clark led efforts to remove Slobodan Milosevic during the Kosovo War as the Supreme Allied Commander of NATO and has been an outspoken critic of the Iraq war.
Clark also has presidential campaign experience, as he unsuccessfully ran for president in 2004. Like Clinton’s husband Bill, Clark is also originally from Arkansas, which could help Clinton’s standing in southern states.
Independent of his work with Clinton, Clark is positioning himself as an authority who could stave off a future war with Iran planned by President Bush. Two weeks before he endorsed Clinton for president, Clark released his memoir “Time to Lead” in which he claims a “senior general” told him after 9/11 that the Bush administration planned to bring regime change in seven Middle Eastern countries, which include Iraq and Iran, by 2006. The other five countries allegedly included in this plan were Lebanon, Libya, Somalia and Iran.
So, are the rumors true? Is Clark preparing to jump on a 2008 ticket with Clinton?
Here’s a look at how they’ve been working together over the past few months.
September 4: Releases his memoir “A Time to Lead” that claims the Bush Administration plotted regime change in seven Middle Eastern countries after 9/11.
September 9: Writes in The Independent that the “The US should take a lead in talking to Iran – now.” This is a position he modifies later after Clinton rules out negotiations with Iran in a televised Democratic debate.
September 16: Formally endorses Clinton for president.
September 16: Defends Clinton on CNN when Wolf Blitzer asks if she was right to say in a televised Democratic presidential debate that she would not engage in talks with Iran.
Clark says, “Senator Clinton is exactly right. You don't go to these summit meetings at the head of state level without knowing what's going to happen there. You always have some deliverables when you have a meeting like that. You don't run out as president of the United States and start shaking hands with people and say, “Gee, what can we talk about?’ These things are worked intensively behind the scenes because each one of these meetings carries consequences. And you want to make sure you get the right consequences.”
September 16: Publishes an op-ed in the Washington Post titled “The Next War” that suggests the U.S. will take military action against Iran.
September 18: Holds a conference call with liberal blogs like MyDD and TalkLeft.
September 19: Attends a New York town hall fundraising event with Clinton
September 19: Appears on the Daily Show with John Stewart
September 20: Appears with Clinton at a New York fundraiser
September 27: Launches an email campaign to get conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh’s program removed from Armed Forces Radio through his “Help Democrats” website.
On October 12 Paul Greenburg, editorial director of the Clark’s home state’s Arkansas Democrat*Gazette, calls this effort “sad.”
October 15-16: Campaigns with Clinton in Iowa.
Mid-October: Clinton sends a mailer to Iowa activists in which Clark defends her vote to authorize Iran’s Revolutionary Guard as a terrorist organization.
October 16: Delivers a lecture at the University of Arkansas’ Clinton School of Public Service and the Arkansas Committee on Foreign Relations.
October 30: Blogs at Daily Kos and defends Clinton’s vote to label Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps as foreign terrorist organization, but says the U.S. should also talk to Iran. Clark wrote, “Use sanctions against their terrorist elements as a way of underscoring our purpose, but talk, and talk without pre-conditions to explore their interests, understand their motives, and seek some common interests.”
October 31: The New York Observer reported Clark fires up the crowd for Clinton at the MSNBC debate. Journalist Jason Horowitz’s article says: “In front of the dozens of Hillary volunteers, Wesley Clark stood on top of a short white stepstool in a dark suit yelling into a bullhorn. ‘And she’s got a secret weapon,’ said the retired general and Clinton supporter. ‘Hillary is a great person. She’s warm. I like her. Don’t you like her?”
October 31: Campaigns with Clinton in New Hampshire.
November 15: Writes an op-ed for the Financial Times urging Turkey not to invade Iraqi Kurdistan.
November 19: Makes a “surprise” appearance with Clinton at an unscheduled campaign stop at a diner in Des Moines, Iowa. They both ordered fruit bowls. Later that day a writer on the liberal MyDD.com declares Clinton-Clark would be his “dream ticket.”