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24 August 2005

Feingold in LA - Day Two

There's a Capital Times article about Senator Feingold in Los Angeles by John Nichols. It doesn't give too much detail about the text of his speech yesterday, but it does give us a little, and talks a great deal about Feingold as a potential presidential candidate in 2008.

A couple highlights:

"Iraq is not the be-all and end-all of our national security," the veteran member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee told a Tuesday gathering of the Town Hall Los Angeles group, which has previously hosted talks by U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan, Mexican President Vicente Fox and former Chinese President Jiang Zemin.

Referring to the invasion of Iraq as "a tactical error in the larger war on terrorism," Feingold explained, "What we need with the fight against terrorism is a major course correction in how we go about it."


While Feingold was blunt about his disappointment with Bush's administration, he was coy about whether he will run for president in 2008. Asked at every stop in Los Angeles if he will seek the Democratic presidential nomination, Feingold repeatedly answered with a variation on the response he gave at the Town Hall forum in downtown L.A.'s Biltmore Hotel, where he noted that John Kennedy headquartered his presidential campaign during the 1960 Democratic National Convention in the city.

Suggesting that he was firmly focused on opening up an honest debate about Iraq and the direction of the broader war on terror, Feingold said of a presidential run: "I really don't know whether I want to do that."

But a lot of his listeners were ready to back the Wisconsinite as the progressive nominee they think Democrats will need to pick to reclaim the White House. "I've made my choice for 2008," photographer Mark Howard said after listening to Feingold speak to an overflow crowd at the UCLA School of Law. "I'm for Feingold."

Philanthropist Alan Gleitsman, a member of the advisory board of Human Rights Watch, who introduced Feingold at the Town Hall forum, referred to the senator as someone who could emerge as "a progressive standard bearer in the United States."

(emphasis mine)

Every day, it becomes more and more clear that people are not satisfied with the state of affairs in Iraq, and that more are beginning to see it as the mistake it was. Feingold's original opposition, combined with his willingness to formulate a real plan, are very appealing to a lot of people.

And so the support is there for a presidential campaign. That should be obvious to everyone, I think. Now, Senator Feingold just needs to decide if he wants it or not.


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