- The Washington Times - Thursday, February 20, 2003

Former House Democratic leader Rep. Richard A. Gephardt announced his second run for the White House yesterday, attacking President Bush for "leadership that has left us isolated in the world and stranded here at home."
And in Illinois, former Sen. Carol Moseley-Braun became the first woman to join the growing field of Democrats seeking their party's presidential bid.
Mrs. Moseley-Braun, the second black woman to pursue the presidency, said a woman's touch could move the nation "toward peace, prosperity and progress" as she formally announced formation of an exploratory committee.
Mr. Gephardt, Missouri Democrat, criticized Mr. Bush for presiding over lackluster economic growth, opposing affirmative action, and failing to provide adequate government services for the needy.
"President Bush has taken us right back to the broken policies of the past, the economics of debt and regret, unaffordable tax cuts for the few, zero new jobs, surging unemployment," Mr. Gephardt said at a kickoff rally at his old elementary school in St. Louis.
"I've got to hand it to him: Never has so much been done in so little time to help so few."
Mr. Gephardt, 62, who voted for the resolution giving Mr. Bush authority to use force in Iraq, criticized the president for "bullying" the world, wanting to "go it alone" against Saddam Hussein, and suggested that "we can wage peace and not just war."
Mr. Gephardt, who led the House Democrats for the last eight of his 26 years in Congress, ran unsuccessfully for president in 1988. He joins Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts and Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman of Connecticut as front-runners among the eight candidates who officially have joined the race.
The other announced candidates are the Rev. Al Sharpton of New York, former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean, Sen. John Edwards of North Carolina and Rep. Dennis J. Kucinich of Ohio.
Mrs. Moseley-Braun, 55, who served one term before scandal thwarted her re-election bid, yesterday continued her attack on the Bush administration that began during a swing through the primary states of Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina.
"Duct tape is no substitute for diplomacy, and I believe the people can and must demand an end to the saber-rattling that has made us hostages to fear," she said.
"As a candidate for the nation's highest office, I will make the case that our domestic security is ultimately tied up in how well we work with others to fight terrorism around the world."
Mrs. Moseley-Braun also degraded the president's tax cut, saying budget deficits are a major concern and "we have no right to force our children to pay for tax rebates today."
"Policy that sees no harm in tax cuts creating budget deficits is shortsighted," she said.
Mrs. Moseley-Braun's three-day weekend campaign was funded by American Women Presidents, a political action committee that supports female candidates for president and vice president.
On Tuesday, at an appearance at the University of Chicago, Mrs. Moseley-Braun also injected sex into her message, saying "I hope to be a voice for people who have not had a chance to participate in presidential elections, as we bring the message that it's time to take the men-only sign off the White House door."
Shirley Chisholm, who represented a Texas District in the House, became the first black woman to seek the presidency in 1972 when she ran for the Democratic nomination.
During her term in the Senate, Mrs. Moseley-Braun was known as an outspoken firebrand, but charges of misdeeds ended her bid for a second term.
Mrs. Moseley-Braun was accused of but never charged with keeping an inheritance from her mother that was to be used to reimburse Medicaid, and misspending campaign funds on vacations specifically a monthlong postelection trip to Africa with then-fiance Kgosie Matthews.
She lost her re-election bid in 1998, but was named ambassador to New Zealand by President Clinton.
The candidates' first chance to flex their political muscles will come in the Iowa caucus in 12 months.
Mr. Gephardt carried the state in 1988, but his campaign quickly sputtered out. Yet of everyone in the field, he is the only one who has run for president before.
"Congressman Gephardt has been here quite a bit," said Mark Daly, communications director for the Iowa Democratic Party. "I think he has a great history here in Iowa, but Iowa is wide open. There are several candidates who have been great out here."


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