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Kucinich enters '08 race for president

As in '04, his campaign focuses on opposition to the war in Iraq.

December 13, 2006|From the Associated Press

CLEVELAND — Democratic Rep. Dennis J. Kucinich launched his second bid for president Tuesday, a longshot candidacy fueled by his frustration with his party's failed effort to end the Iraq war.

"I am not going to stand by and watch thousands more of our brave, young men and women killed in Iraq," said Kucinich, a six-term liberal congressman from Cleveland, to applause from a crowd gathered at City Hall. "We Democrats were put back in power to bring some sanity back to our nation.

"We were expected to do what we said we were going to do -- get out of Iraq."

During his 2004 presidential campaign, the news media focused more on his bachelorhood than his policies. This time around Kucinich has a wife.

Kucinich, 60, said he was inspired to run because he disagreed with the way some of his fellow Democrats were handling Iraq policy, including approval of a proposal to spend $160 billion more on the war.

He joins Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack, a fellow Democrat, in declaring his candidacy for the presidential nomination.

In 2004, Kucinich drew less than 10% of the vote in most primary contests, including in Ohio, but performed respectably in several -- winning more than a quarter of the vote in Hawaii and Alaska, for example. He stayed in the race through the end of the primary season.

He celebrated his bachelorhood on the campaign trail, telling New Hampshire audiences that he was seeking a mate. Women vied for a date with him during an online contest, but nothing romantic evolved from Kucinich's breakfast date with the winner. It did earn him appearances on late-night comedy talk shows.

Last year he married Elizabeth Harper. He won reelection to his House seat in November with 66% of the vote, basing his campaign on job creation and criticizing rising gas prices. He also was an outspoken critic of his party, saying Democrats had lost their soul by moving away from liberal ideals.

Kucinich was elected mayor of Cleveland at age 31, becoming the youngest leader of a major U.S. city. He also was mayor of the first city since the Great Depression to go into default.

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