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Worst Presidential Candidates, of the last 100 years
snuffbox
post Nov 1 2006, 02:08 PM
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Has a weird obsession with Barry Goldwater


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Who was the worst candidate put forth by one of the major parties in the last 100 years? People that for whatever reason...lack of passion, lack of ideas, poor oration, missing spine, etc...make you wonder what their party's leaders (or primary voters) were ever thinking.

Heres a list of the worst to choose from:
-William Jennings Bryant (Democrat, 1908) - Legedary speaker that participated in the great election of 1896, but as a failed candidate two time previously, this was quite a joke.
-Alf Landon (Republican, 1936) - His credentials going in were fair enough as a WW1 veteran and successful 2-term governor of Kansas. He agreed with much of the New Deal and had very little to talk about. An inept, lazy campaigner who was little more than a public figurehead for the GOP's doomed election.
-Thomas Dewey (Republican, 1940 & 1944) - After carrying a good reputation as NY Governor into a losing campaign against FDR, he believed in his pollsters in '44 and forgot to have an intelligent campaign.
-Hubert Humphrey (Democrat, 1968) - With Bobby Kennedy murdered, and both McCarthy & McGovern ignored by party hierarchy, the jellyfish from Minnesota gets the nomination. For one of the biggest elections in American history the Dems go with the one guy that Nixon could actually beat.
-Michael Dukakis (Democrat, 1988) - After a fine primary run, he & his team suffer terrible brain injuries and run like morons, giving up a huge lead and the Presidency to HW Bush. Somebody should have reminded Susan Estrich that she was no Bob Haldeman.
-John Kerry (Democrat, 2004) - People actually go on tv and try to say that Kerry didnt serve in Vietnam....Kerry doesnt bother to fight back. The best/worst example of how mindnumbingly weak his campaign was.

My pick - Humphrey. What a clown.
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Guest_Felonies!_*
post Nov 1 2006, 04:50 PM
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My pick: Alf Landon. No person named Alf can be a success.
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Big Ol' Smitty
post Nov 1 2006, 06:21 PM
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Emily Fucking Post.


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William Jennings Bryan was an idiot.

See the Scopes Trial.

Also, in the 1896 election, any time he was asked about ANY issue, he always responded that free silver was the key to solving the problem.
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SuperJerk
post Nov 1 2006, 09:09 PM
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Nice play, Shakespeare.


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QUOTE(snuffbox @ Nov 1 2006, 02:08 PM) *
-Hubert Humphrey (Democrat, 1968) - With Bobby Kennedy murdered, and both McCarthy & McGovern ignored by party hierarchy, the jellyfish from Minnesota gets the nomination. For one of the biggest elections in American history the Dems go with the one guy that Nixon could actually beat.


Are you kidding?

Hubert Humphrey was one of our greatest statesmen to never become president. He was a solid backer of civil rights since the 1940s, and his push for the inclusion of Civil Rights into the 1948 platform led to the walk-out by segregationists like Strom Thurmond. Humphrey had the misfortune of being VP for the unpopular Lyndon Johnson at the height of the Vietnam War. The Democratic Party was tearing itelsef apart in the streets of Chicago in 1968, and Humphrey managed to pull them back together enough to come within a few fractions of a point of beating Richard Nixon and fellow Democrat George Wallace. This is BEFORE Watergate and the bombing of Cambodia, when Nixon was still best known for being Eisenhower's VP and a nostalgic symbol of the 1950s, rather than the paranoid egomaniac he's known as today.

People you didn't mention:

Bob Dole (1996)-never gave people a reason to vote for him, and kept his best quality--his keen sense of humor--under wraps until after the election. Allowed himself to get linked the the supremely unpopular Newt Gingrich.

Walter Mondale (1984)-in a time of economic recovery, promised a tax hike.

George McGovern (1972)-spent the entire campaign catering to leftist special interest groups, allowing Nixon win in won of the biggest landslides in history. His only popular issue, ending the Vietnam War, was undercut by Nixon troop withdrawal and de-escalation of the conflict.

Barry Goldwater (1964)-his reckless and reactionary comments made him sound like a war-monger against a man who only a year later would escalate the Vietnam War. He was an opponent of civil rights at a time when the movement was gaining mainstream support, and an advocate of states rights at a time when it was a code-word for continued institutionalized racism.

None of these four could appeal to anyone beyond their party's base.

None of whom even came close to winning.

If you wanted to make this list more fun, we could talk about people who ran but didn't even get nominated.
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Darthtiki
post Nov 1 2006, 10:51 PM
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What's Going On?


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I was going to say Mondale considering he only carried one Fucking state, his own.
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The Ghost of bps...
post Nov 1 2006, 11:27 PM
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Can I say Bush even though he won twice?

I mean...Gore and Kerry are technically worse...

So yeah...that's my bottom 3.
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spman
post Nov 2 2006, 07:37 AM
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Despite having been elected, Jimmy Carter in '76 and '80 was amongst our most incompetent politicians ever. Just a good 'ol Southern boy who had delusions of grandeur whose failed social and foreign policy turned us into the joke of the world. He had no backbone to stand up to anyone, especially the Soviets, and the Iranians, which just made him look weak. It was no surprise that he barely even got the Party Nomination in 1980, and got massacred by Reagan afterwards.
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snuffbox
post Nov 2 2006, 09:49 AM
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Has a weird obsession with Barry Goldwater


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The idea here is to pick the worst candidates put forwards by one of the 2 parties. I didn't use failed Presidents like LBJ, Carter, Nixon, and W Bush as they were elected. I didnt select guys like Mondale or Dole since they were basically just sacrificial lambs...the same scenario of slaughter (how's that for alliteration Czech?) could apply to Goldwater & McGovern but I like both of them as they were/are genuine and passionate men who truly deserved to be President, it was no fault of their own that the American public believed Daisy-ads and 'liberal' as a curse word. Obviously, you are all free to discuss/nominate/choose anyone as the worst out of your opinion but this was how I made my list.

Yes, Im serious about the Hube. That Civil Rights stuff was all wonderful & nice, but it was well over a decade old by the time HHH ran fis first awful campaign. In 1960, Humphrey couldnt cross his state border to hold back Kennedy stumping around Wisconsin and racking up delegates. His West Virginia debacle was miserable at best. He was, as par for the course in Hube campaigns, caught redhanded with such cheesey tactics as claiming to be a member of whatever religion was practiced by whomever's hand he was shaking at the moment. You cant say he was unfortunate to to have been LBJs President as he could have easily told him 'no' and remained in the Senate until 1968 or 1972...that was Humphrey's greatest problem. He never got out of Johnson's massive shadow because he had always been a spineless sort on the national stage (especially in the 60s). 1968 was one of the biggest elections in our history and the party machinery went with Humphrey, the one man Nixon felt sure he could beat. It was one of the worst example's of a party picking the old reliable hand when the stakes were too high (2004 was another example of this). He ran a pitiful campaign, defending the Vietnam policy and refusing to ruffle LBJ's feathers until it was too late. In the closing days of the campaign Hube finally started to move away from the Johnson/Vietnam policy and nearly caught Nixon. Had Hube been his own man, he would have been President of the United States. His '72 & '76 efforts did nothing to help his image as a loser on the national political stage.
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SuperJerk
post Nov 2 2006, 03:18 PM
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Nice play, Shakespeare.


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The outcome of the election of 1968 was 43.4% to 42.7%. He lost by .7% of the popular vote. He almost won. That has to count for something.

I think you're harshly judging a 1968 candidate because he didn't campaign the way people do in 2006.

Bob Dole was not a "sacrificial lamb." After their success in 1994, the Republicans completely beleived they could win. Clinton didn't crack 50% (though he did get more votes than Dole and Perot combined), and the right candidate could have kept Ross Perot out of the race, picked up some additional support from non-voters, and won. The biggest problem with the 1996 election for the Republicans was that Dole was even in the race. He'd been running for president so many times, and had built up a campaign war-chest so huge he scared any potentially competitive candidates out of the race. Pete Wilson, Carrol Campbell, Jack Kemp, John McCain, and Dan Quayle all refused to run against him because they couldn't match the amount of money and favors he'd accumulated. That left inexperienced guys like Steve Forbes, Alan Keyes, Pat Buchanan, Morry Taylor, and Bob Dornan as the only visible alternatives. Lamar Alexander made a good go of it, but just couldn't match Dole's name recognition. Arlen Specter, Phil Gramm, and Dick Lugar were also fair alternates, but got out quickly because they couldn't match Dole's fundraising.
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snuffbox
post Nov 2 2006, 03:23 PM
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Has a weird obsession with Barry Goldwater


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If he would have stopped running as a fat, bald appendage of Lyndon Johnson earlier than the last week of the campaign, he would have defeated Nixon by 5% or more.
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SuperJerk
post Nov 2 2006, 03:35 PM
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Nice play, Shakespeare.


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...But he almost won...

That alone should keep him off of any "worst" list.
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snuffbox
post Nov 2 2006, 03:36 PM
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In 1968 Richard Nixon was a man that had lost his two most recent campaigns (including an emarassing, hungover tirade after his '62 Governor loss) and only managed to save face by remaining a strong Party-man and campaining hard in '64/66. He spent the 50s in Ike's shadow and, some ten years later, he was left to constantly remind people of Alger Hiss (even Bob Haldeman was annoyed by this), the kitchen debate, and run a smoothut eventually ironic law-and-order campaign.

America's distaste for the Vietnam War (and ample personal cowardice on the President's part) had driven LBJ back to Texas, gigantic nose to the ground. Had the Dems rallied around either McGovern or McCarthy after RFK's death, or had Humphrey ben capable of standing on his own two feet, Richard Nixon would have never had the opportunity to disgrace the Presidency.
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SuperJerk
post Nov 2 2006, 03:40 PM
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Nice play, Shakespeare.


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By the way, with the above comments I made about Bob Dole, it should be noted that he is the first person I ever voted for in a presidential election, and the only Republican.
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snuffbox
post Nov 2 2006, 03:43 PM
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None of the Republicans in '96 were going to defeat Clinton (not Lamar Alexander, not Steve Forbes, not Dan Quayle if he had won the Powerball) so Dole getting to ride off into the political sunset at the Presidential stage was about the best they could hope to accomplish that year.

1968 (Like 2004, 1988, 1948, etc) were years that both parties actually stood a good chance of victory. In '68 it was not only a hugely important election, but it also featured Nixon as the GOP nominee and someone the Dems knew they could beat. Instead, they chose the man who didnt have the peoples' passion like McCarthy did but did give Nixon plenty of confidence. HHH than ran a perfect campaign for Nixon until he started speaking againgst the War in the final days, bridged the gap several percentage points, and just barely lost. He lost one of the biggest elections ever which he could have handily won. That is why I say he was the worst candidate of the last 100 years.
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SuperJerk
post Nov 2 2006, 04:00 PM
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Nice play, Shakespeare.


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QUOTE(snuffbox @ Nov 2 2006, 03:43 PM) *
None of the Republicans in '96 were going to defeat Clinton (not Lamar Alexander, not Steve Forbes, not Dan Quayle if he had won the Powerball) so Dole getting to ride off into the political sunset at the Presidential stage was about the best they could hope to accomplish that year.


You seem to remember that time period very differently than I do. The GOP was not that pessimistic at the time, although that last comment seemed to indicate you agree Dole wasn't someone you'd put at the top when you want to win a national election. It didn't help at all that Dole had to run against both Clinton and Perot, but Dole couldn't keep up with either one of them in terms of inspiring support and articulating a vision. Like I said, Dole scared all of the actually competitive candidates out of running. We have no idea what kind of campaign Carrol Campbell, Jack Kemp, or Pete Wilson would've run, but Dole was NOT the right candidate for that year. The nation had just suffered through the messy government shut down. Congressional Republicans took the blame for that debacle, and the Congressional Republicans over-played their hand in aftyer the 94 election. Having a Congresional leader as your party's presidential candidate was just a bad idea. Dole articulated no vision, no plan, and no reason to vote for him.

Conservatives didn't trust him to cut taxes, moderates were put off by the fact he still seemed to think it was the 1950s. His World War II service was a distant memory compared to Clinton's coming-of-age in the 1960s mindset, but other than criticizing Clinton, that's all Dole could talk about. You also have to consider it would have been the first time in American history we'd turn back a generation for our leader.

Bob Dole was also a terrible vice presidential candidate back in 1976, but for different reasons.
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Dobbs 3K
post Nov 2 2006, 04:21 PM
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Dole's other problem was that the economy was pretty good going into that election. It's hard for voters to think "Well, I'm doing pretty well right now with the ol' pocketbook, but this guy says he can do better for us."
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SuperJerk
post Nov 2 2006, 06:00 PM
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Nice play, Shakespeare.


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One of Dole's biggest promises was to balance the federal budget by the year 2002.
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Art Sandusky
post Nov 2 2006, 06:02 PM
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Don't forget the 15% flat tax that was thrown out there at the end of the summer. I was a young Republican back then and thought it was a great idea, but in retrospect it seemed a little desperate.
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Quasar
post Nov 2 2006, 07:03 PM
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So, if H. Ross Perot had had a big impact in 1996 and managed to swing the votes to Dole in a MIRACLE. Would Dole had stood a chance at reelection in 2000? Who in the world would the Dems had put against him?
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SuperJerk
post Nov 2 2006, 07:20 PM
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Nice play, Shakespeare.


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Hell, no, Dole couldn't have been re-elected.

Let's say that Clinton's affair became public in 1996 instead of 1998, and Dole won. Nobody actually wanted Dole to be the president. There were people trying to get him to promise he'd only serve one term (besides Jack Kemp). There'd have been enourmous pressure on him to make way for someone else 4 years later. They were already grooming W to take over even back then. Bush vs. Gore was inevitable.

I don't think Bob Dole ever came out in favor of the flat tax, but a 15% across-the-board cut.
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Art Sandusky
post Nov 2 2006, 07:47 PM
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Even if Dole had set the world on fire as a President, he was real old. He would have come close to or broken Harrison's record as the oldest person elected, I believe.
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Quasar
post Nov 2 2006, 07:58 PM
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Say that Y2Jerk's scenario of Clinton losing because of his affair becoming public in 96. Do you think that the Democrats let the Clinton affair die down and then run Clinton again in 2000 and attempt to pull a "Cleveland"?

Bush vs. Clinton would've been an interesting Presidental race.
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snuffbox
post Nov 3 2006, 11:36 AM
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Dole should have campaigned for a 96% tax cut.
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Dobbs 3K
post Nov 3 2006, 11:56 AM
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I think Clinton would've beaten George W. Bush in the proposed re-election scenario. He would've outdebated and outspoken his way back into the White House.
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snuffbox
post Nov 3 2006, 12:16 PM
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W. has been very fortunate to have had two very-less-than-stellar opponents, who both ran pretty bad campaigns. Had the aforementioned scenario taken place, Clinton wouldnt have gone the weak Bob Shrum route.

John Kerry (as I predicted at the time) became the modern day Humphrey in '04...absorbing the personal attacks, running a limp feeble campaign, and refusing to say what voters wanted to hear until it was too late. Like the Hube, he lost an important close election that he should have (or a better Dem candidate) won widely.
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Dobbs 3K
post Nov 3 2006, 12:47 PM
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QUOTE(snuffbox @ Nov 3 2006, 06:16 PM) *
W. has been very fortunate to have had two very-less-than-stellar opponents, who both ran pretty bad campaigns. Had the aforementioned scenario taken place, Clinton wouldnt have gone the weak Bob Shrum route.

John Kerry (as I predicted at the time) became the modern day Humphrey in '04...absorbing the personal attacks, running a limp feeble campaign, and refusing to say what voters wanted to hear until it was too late. Like the Hube, he lost an important close election that he should have (or a better Dem candidate) won widely.


I agree 100%. Even if Clinton had said things people didn't necessarily agree with, at least he actually stated what his plans and ideas were. Kerry wouldn't say what his plans were, or gave vague answers like "Visit my website." Just a completely feeble campaign, and much worse than Gore's in 2000.
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Red Baron
post Nov 3 2006, 01:06 PM
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Kerry said what his plans were.

He promised that the United States will leave Iraq if he won.
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SuperJerk
post Nov 3 2006, 03:14 PM
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Nice play, Shakespeare.


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^Sarcasm?^

I'm still mad at Kerry for picking Edwards as his running mate. Terrible, terrible decision.

QUOTE(Sex Machine Gun @ Nov 2 2006, 07:47 PM) *
Even if Dole had set the world on fire as a President, he was real old. He would have come close to or broken Harrison's record as the oldest person elected, I believe.

Reagan was the oldest. Harrison was 67 in 1840. Reagan was 69 in 1980.
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Quasar
post Nov 3 2006, 05:28 PM
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I think that Kerry's decision to pick Edwards had to do with Kerry trying to take the South back from the Republicans and he felt that Edwards was the ticket to taking the South back from George W. Bush.

It was worth a shot anyway, who else could Kerry had picked that gave him a hope in hell at taking the South and middle America back?

I don't see Wesley Clark or Dick Gephardt making Cletus T. Hillbilly run to the polls to vote Democrat.
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SuperJerk
post Nov 3 2006, 06:47 PM
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Nice play, Shakespeare.


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QUOTE(Quasar @ Nov 3 2006, 05:28 PM) *
I think that Kerry's decision to pick Edwards had to do with Kerry trying to take the South back from the Republicans and he felt that Edwards was the ticket to taking the South back from George W. Bush. It was worth a shot anyway, who else could Kerry had picked that gave him a hope in hell at taking the South and middle America back?

I don't see Wesley Clark or Dick Gephardt making Cletus T. Hillbilly run to the polls to vote Democrat.


Win the South? I thought John Kerry was supposed to be smart. The man was running for president when he couldn't have gotten reelected to his own Senate seat.

We all know Edwards wasn't really Kerry's first choice on the list, but he shouldn't have been on that list at all.

Gephardt, no. But, Clark? Not really, but the general could've at least stopped the bleeding. I mean, the Republicans might've eaten Clark alive with his "I'd have been a Republican..." joke from years ago, but I think hed have faired far better going one-on-one with Cheney than Edwards did.

Kery could've also picked any number of Democrats that (crazy idea) hadn't just spent the last 6 months running against him.
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