Democratic candidate Clark pays visit to Lone Star State
September 29, 2003
AUSTIN -- Retired Army Gen. Wesley Clark swooped into the heart of President Bush's territory Monday and declared the nation needs a change in leadership.
"I'm happy to be down here in George W. Bush's home state.
Clark repeated his call for an independent investigation into reports that a Bush administration official leaked the identity of a covert CIA agent. ...
Clark said the U.S. Justice Department under Attorney General John Ashcroft is not the agency to investigate.
Clark also said Bush's tax cuts have hurt the economy and that Bush has taken the United States into "an unnecessary war in Iraq in which we've lost hundreds of people. We don't need to be there."
After folk singers warmed up the crowd in this Democratic bastion of Texas, Clark stepped onto a stage in front of a large Texas flag at a downtown park, where some 400 people greeted him with chants of "We want Clark!" Some held signs that said, "Texans for Clark" and "Don't Mess with Wes."
During a pause Clark's speech, someone in the audience yelled, "Give 'em hell, Wes." Clark responded: "Let me tell you something. We're going to give them the truth and they're going to think it's hell."
He went on to say that he was paraphrasing President Harry Truman and he praised Truman's presidency. "He understood where the buck stopped," Clark said.
Before the rally, Clark attended a fund-raiser at a private home and met with 18 Democratic state legislators who have endorsed him. One of the lawmakers, Democratic Rep. Richard Raymond of Laredo, introduced Clark and said of Bush, "General, if you send him back to us, we'll swallow hard and we'll take him."...
The Clark rally drew supporters of all ages.
"I figured the Bush economy is not exactly helping people out like me, young professionals," said Andrew Millspaugh, 25, an out-of-work sales representative. "General Clark, I think, understands our problems better."
Walter and Mary Autry, a retired couple in their 70s, drove two hours with a group of friends from Bandera to hear Clark speak. They cited several reasons for supporting Clark.
"He's a general. He's very intelligent. And he's a Democrat now," Walter Autry said.
If you live to be Walter's age, you know that now is what matters most.