Not all New Hampshire supporters of John Kerry were surprised to learn that he would not run for president in 2008, but most said they were relieved that he had made a decision.
A sampling of opinion:
- Billy Shaheen, husband of former Gov. Jeanne Shaheen and a NH Democratic Party power broker: "This is a decision that only he could make and I respect it. I was proud to stand with him and would have done it again on a new endeavor. These decisions are very personal and it is not a question of right and wrong. I last talked to him a couple of weeks ago and it was obvious that he was really struggling with the decision."
- Joe Keefe, former party chair and close Kerry advisor in 2004: "I wasn't surprised by the news. I spoke to him a few times over the past few weeks. I like the guy a lot and I was a big supporter of his. I think he came to the decision that this was just not his time.
I am biased and I was planning on supporting him again, but I do hope he gets some of the recognition he deserves for the contributions he made to the party and the country. I understand the decision he has made and it was a wrenching decision because he came so close last time. History is a fickle thing and a botched joke and a crowded primary field forces decision to be made and I am sure this was a bitter pill to swallow."
- Former Manchester Mayor Bob Baines: "I just talked to him two days ago. For him personally it is a good decision. In many ways it has to be a sense of relief. He brought a lot to the debate and I was sort of waiting to see him do it again. He was been very loyal both (during) my illness (colon cancer) and on my campaigns. Loyalty is in short commodity in our politics today, but he had it. I am relieved for him."
The Globe’s Rick Klein reports from Washington that while Senator John Kerry is making up his mind on whether to run for president, aides are putting together a financial plan for a potential campaign.
You can read the full story here.
Ohio Congressman Dennis Kucinich said he became good friends with Senator John Kerry when both ran for president two years ago, but he says that if Kerry would have listened to his ideas about Iraq he could be president today.
“I made it clear how I thought Democrats could win,” Kucinich said in an interview with the Globe. “Senator Kerry had another way of looking at it. I like John Kerry, and he would have been a far better president than George Bush will ever be. But I do wish he listened to me because everything I said back then was right today.”
As Kucinich launches a second bid for the White House he said his campaign would be against the Democratic establishment as much as against Republican policies. Kucinich describes the national campaign waged by the Democratic Party in 2004 as "fearful" and too easily "pushed around by political forces into positions.” He says he wants to change that.
“The American people have a hunger for genuine principled leadership,” Kucinich said. “They are looking for someone to stand up and tell the truth and not say what a pollster or consultant said to say.”
Kucinich’s chances to become the Democratic nominee this time are about as long shot as they were in 2004. But Kucinich has a national base of activists, and there is may be a place for a candidate to emerge from the left, particularly among Democrats who supported Howard Dean’s bid for the Democratic nomination last time around and who helped the party win in the recent mid-term elections.
Speaking from London where he is spending the holidays, Kucinich pointed out that he is the only Democrat in the race who voted against the war in Iraq.
Illinois Senator Barak Obama, of course, gave speeches against the war before the war started, but he was just in the Illinois legislature at the time and didn’t have a vote on the issue.
“It is not a matter for giving a couple of speeches I have. I am opposed to war as an instrument of power,” Kucinich said. “If you are against the war, either from the beginning or now, then you have to vote to cut the funding that prolongs the war, and I haven’t seen any other Democrat do that besides me.”
A former supporter of John Kerry’s presidential bid in 2004 will become the new state senate president in New Hampshire, while a John Edwards supporter will become the new majority leader.
Sylvia Larsen of Concord was elected by her colleagues Tuesday to lead the state senate during the next legislative session. Joe Foster of Nashua will serve as the senate's majority Leader.
As a result of last week's elections, Democrats took over the New Hampshire senate majority for the first time since 1998.
Larsen has served as the minority leader for the past four years. Even so, she was challenged for the presidency by Senator Lou D’Allesandro.
Also Tuesday, Republicans said current senate president Ted Gatsas will become the next minority leader. This assumes Gatsas will survive a recount set for next week. He won by fewer than 400 votes.
During his last bid for the presidency, Kerry often referred to Larsen as his earliest supporter. This time around Larsen has said she remains uncommitted. Foster, on the other hand, remains firmly behind another John Edwards run for president.
CONCORD, N.H. – Two days after Senator John Kerry made a remark about the intelligence of American soldiers he said was a botched joke, he has begun to cancel events around the country where he was to help Congressional candidates.
One of those events was a yet-to-be announced appearance in New Hampshire. Kerry’s staff canceled an event planned for Sunday in Nashua meant to help Congressional candidate Paul Hodes.
On Monday Kerry told an audience of college students to study and make good grades or you “get stuck in Iraq."
Yesterday, Kerry refused to apologize, only to do so on talk radio today.
Kerry’s cancellation of events through the rest of the week came a day after one candidate for the House in Iowa cancelled a joint appearance with him.