Political File

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Monday, May 17, 2004

Kucinich might be
forgotten but is not gone

PORTLAND, Ore. » Before Americans get too engrossed in a general election contest between President Bush and Sen. John Kerry, Rep. Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio, would like to remind them of something: He's still out here, working hard every day, slogging from town to town, the second-to-last person still standing in the fight for the Democratic presidential nomination.

"Math is not my major, but I can count," the Ohio congressman said as his car wound along the dripping, piney woods of the central Oregon coast. "I understand that Kerry has enough delegates to be nominated. I can count, but I can also figure."

And this is how Dennis Kucinich -- former boy-mayor of Cleveland whose half-forgotten, dead-but-still-twitching presidential campaign is now targeting tomorrow's Oregon primary -- figures it:

"The reason I have not dropped out of the race is that we may have a nominee, but the future direction of the Democratic Party has not yet been determined."

And what he wants Kerry, and the Democratic Party, to do is to take an unambiguous stand against not only the war in Iraq but against "the very idea that war is inevitable." The nation's whole political mind-set must be changed, Kucinich said.

Kucinich, the only presidential hopeful to visit Hawaii this year, recognizes that much of the country has pretty much forgotten that he is still running. However, he said, the war in Iraq is turning out to be just the disaster he predicted, and if he can just keep accumulating delegates here and there, he might be able to go into the Democratic convention in Boston this summer with enough juice to nudge the party toward his way of thinking.

That's all he wants now.

"I guess you can say I am saving the Democratic Party from itself," Kucinich said.

Gabbard not up for gab

It is rare when a politician in the middle of a campaign season doesn't want phone calls from the news media, but Honolulu Councilman Mike Gabbard has instituted a "Don't call me" policy.

Gabbard, who is running as a Republican for the 2nd Congressional District, faxed out an advisory to the news media last week, saying e-mail, don't call.

"As you can imagine, Mike is extremely busy juggling his campaign with his service on the City Council as well as his small business and his personal life," the note read. "As a result, Mike has decided to do interviews only by e-mail."

"A reporter with campaign-related questions of Mike is asked to submit those questions via e-mail with enough advance notice to give Mike a chance to respond without interrupting a meeting, going door-to-door or some other scheduled activity," the notice explained.

How Gabbard will do radio and television interviews via e-mail was not explained.

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