A field of tough hombres

By Geraldine Sealey
February 3, 2004 3:13AM (UTC)
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The candidates' one-liners revealed their moods and strategies on the final full day of campaigning before seven contests on Tuesday. Usually Mr. Nice Guy, John Edwards actually criticized front-runner John Kerry on trade and lobbyist money as he pulled out the stops in his must-win birth state of South Carolina. His disparagement of Kerry wasn't exactly brutal, but still off his typically conciliatory tone: "If we want real change in Washington, we need someone who hasn't been there for 15-20 years," he said, adding: "I don't take contributions from lobbyists, and he obviously does."

Howard Dean was less polite in his attacks on Kerry today and continued ribbing the Massachusetts senator for how much money he takes from special interest groups. Playing off a line Kerry uses to good effect in the anti-Bush section of his stump speech, Dean said: "And, John, don't let the door hit you on the way out." Kerry didn't respond to his rivals' criticisms.


For his part, Gen. Wesley Clark saved most of his harsh words today for the president. Speaking at a Hispanic cultural center in Albuquerque, N.M., Clark apparently tried to appeal to those Democratic voters seeking an electable candidate: "I am one tough hombre, and I can stand against George W. Bush, and we will take him down."

Geraldine Sealey

Geraldine Sealey is senior news editor at Salon.com.

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