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Election 2004

Clark gives first look at domestic agenda

By Wire services
Published September 25, 2003

WASHINGTON - Presidential hopeful Wesley Clark unveiled a $100-billion economic and homeland security plan Wednesday while two primary rivals questioned his commitment to the Democratic Party.

The retired Army general offered the first glimpse at his domestic agenda, saying the policies are part of his promise to protect America from economic and foreign threats. Clark's strategy: Counter his inexperience in politics by presenting even his pocketbook initiatives through the prism of his 30-year military career.

"Protecting the country in the 21st century requires more than a strong military. It requires a strong economy that generates jobs, economic growth, and the revenues we need to defend American lives and property - wherever they are in the world," Clark said.

Clark said he wants to repeal portions of Bush's tax cuts that benefit people making more than $200,000, generating $100-billion over two years. Under his plan:

- $40-billion would go to homeland security, including training of emergency workers and hiring more Coast Guard and Customs Service workers.

- $40-billion would slow the rise in college tuition, ease Medicaid shortages and address other state needs.

- $20-billion would pay for tax incentives for job creation.

The plan was drafted with help from the Brookings Institution, a Washington think tank, and Ron Klain, a top lieutenant in former Vice President Al Gore's 2000 campaign.

Dean breaks Clinton's fundraising record

WASHINGTON - Frontrunner Howard Dean has broken former President Clinton's Democratic record for most money raised in a three-month burst.

Dean, raising millions on the Internet, is likely to take in $13-million to $16-million this quarter, a campaign insider told the Associated Press. That would lift him to at least $23.5-million total.

But President Bush is easily leading the fundraising. Bush is expected to collect about $43-million by the time the third quarter ends on Tuesday, bringing his total this year to roughly $78-million, GOP officials said.

Also . . .

DEBATE TODAY: The 10 Democratic presidential candidates will debate today in New York City - a first for Wesley Clark. CNBC will air it live at 4 p.m., and MSNBC will rerun it at 9 p.m.

KERRY ENDORSEMENT: The 240,000-member International Association of Fire Fighters on Wednesday endorsed Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., for the Democratic nomination, the first national union endorsement to go to a Democrat other than Rep. Dick Gephardt, D-Mo.

CHENEY RAISES $7.5-MILLION: Vice President Dick Cheney headlined a $2,500-per-person dinner Wednesday at Washington's National Building Museum that was expected to raise $7.5-million for the National Republican Senatorial Committee.

TRAFICANT COMMITTEE DISBANDS: A presidential exploratory committee for former Ohio congressman James Traficant Jr. ended its 2-month effort Wednesday because of a lack of support. Traficant is in prison for bribery and racketeering charges.

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