Clark's impressing the folks in Concord:
The crowd tested Clark with tough questions but responded enthusiastically.
Mary Fowler of Newport wanted to know about Clark's dismissal from NATO as supreme allied commander and whether it would compromise his ability to be president. When Fowler said, given the hard question, she'd rather not use a microphone, Clark came to her, leaned in and listened.
Clark answered, saying he was replaced over a policy disagreement, not dismissed. He wanted to stop Slobodan Milosevic's ethnic cleansing while defense officials in Washington wanted to focus on Saddam Hussein and North Korea. The people criticizing him now are upset that President Clinton sided with Clark, not them, he said.
"There are a few jealous generals out there who have their noses out of joint," he said. Clark then returned to Fowler, shook her hand and thanked her for her question.
After the event, Fowler said she was leaving another candidate (whom she didn't want to name) to sign on with Clark. "When he talks about pulling America together, I think that's truly his values," she said. "I have been observing his mass media campaign, and I don't think it's spin. I saw that man here today."
Yvonne Howard of Sutton also came to hear Clark yesterday with another candidate at the top of her list.
"I've been a staunch (Howard) Dean supporter, but Clark is causing me to think again," she said. She said she saw in Clark yesterday the passion she has appreciated in Dean. "I'm really concerned. I want to vote for a candidate who can beat George Bush."
Andrea Reid of Concord, who asked Clark how he'd pay for more health insurance and education, also found herself reconsidering her support for Dean.
"I was very impressed today," she said. "I think Dean is polarizing himself from Bush and going a little more to the left than I'm comfortable with. I'm a fiscal conservative, and I'm not sure Dean is."
Practice has also helped Clark. He is rambling less when answering questions and connecting with his audiences more easily. Clark couldn't land his applause lines last month up north; yesterday, he was interrupted with an "Amen" and "All right," not to mention several rounds of applause.
Preach, Brother, Preach!