Apparently so, as evidenced by the fact that he, not Howard Dean, is now the chief target of his rivals. CNN notes,

With the latest poll showing Wesley Clark at the front of the pack, his Democratic presidential rivals ratcheted up their criticism of the retired general Thursday evening, taking issue with what they see as flip-flops in his views on the Iraq war and President Bush’s performance.

In the latest Democratic debate, televised exclusively by CNN from the Orpheum Theatre in Phoenix, Clark was pressed over differing statements he has made about whether he would have voted for the congressional resolution authorizing war in Iraq. He insisted he would “never have voted for war.”

“I would have voted for a resolution that took the problem to the United Nations. I would not have voted for a resolution that would have taken us to war. It’s that simple,” he said. “The Congress made a mistake in giving George Bush an open-ended resolution that enabled him to go to war without coming back to the Congress.”

But his rivals — both those who supported the resolution and those who opposed going to war in Iraq — took issue with what they see as Clark’s waffling.

Sen. Joseph Lieberman of Connecticut, the most unwavering supporter of the Iraq war among candidates in the Democratic field, said he was “very disappointed” by Clark’s “various positions” on the war.

“A few days before the vote in Congress, he said he would have recommended it and would have supported the resolution. After the war, he wrote a piece in the Times of London praising President Bush and Tony Blair for their resolve. When he became a candidate, he said he probably would have voted for the resolution. There was an uproar. Then he said, ‘I never would have voted for the resolution.'”

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Steven says:

    I think they are feeling the heat that he is leading in national polls. However, as I noted yesterday, he is a 9% in NH: so, to put it technically: he ain’t no frontrunner.

  2. James Joyner says:

    The fundraising race is the most important one right now, I’d think. And I’m pretty sure he’s way behind in that one, too.

  3. I think his biggest problem may be the perception that he’s Clinton’s bitch. This didn’t do Gray Davis a lot of good, and it won’t be terrific for Clark.