Clark: What I meant to say was...
Full damage control mode and the campaign is less than 48 hours old.
Democratic candidate seeks to clarify comments on Iraq resolution
MIKE GLOVER, Associated Press Writer
Friday, September 19, 2003
©2003 Associated Press
(09-19) 14:05 PDT IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) --
Democratic presidential candidate Wesley Clark backtracked from a day-old statement that he probably would have voted for the congressional resolution authorizing the use of force in Iraq, saying Friday he "would never have voted for this war."
The retired Army general, an opponent of the conflict, surprised supporters when he indicated in an interview with reporters Thursday that he likely would have supported the resolution. On Friday, Clark sought to clarify his comments in an interview with The Associated Press.
"Let's make one thing real clear, I would never have voted for this war," Clark said before a speech at the University of Iowa. "I've gotten a very consistent record on this. There was no imminent threat. This was not a case of pre-emptive war. I would have voted for the right kind of leverage to get a diplomatic solution, an international solution to the challenge of Saddam Hussein."
Clark's initial remarks left members of his campaign team a bit flummoxed.
"That caught me off guard a little. The general has been very critical of the war," said George Bruno, a New Hampshire activist.
Clark really had no choice but to quickly stomp on this but it is not an auspicious start and is more evidence of the dangers of such a late starting campaign.
Clark said the helter-skelter effort to build his campaign was "like trying to bottle lightning," but he shrugged off the early stumbles.
"It doesn't bother me a bit," he said. "It helps you get the message out across America. When you start late, you need that."
Well, at least he's getting a quick lesson in the art of spin. Making a major gaffe isn't a problem. It actually helps to get the message out even faster! Yeah, that's the ticket!