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  Clark's fast political learning curve
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Last EditedCed  Dec 12, 2003 09:07am
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MediaNewspaper - Christian Science Monitor
News DateFriday, December 12, 2003 06:00:00 AM UTC0:0
Description".....As the only candidate who has never run for - let alone held - elective office, Clark has indeed been the student in this race. He joined the campaign just this past September, generating a flurry of media coverage and shooting to the top of national polls. But within weeks, his momentum stalled. He pulled out of the Iowa caucuses, citing the difficulty in assembling an organization there. Critics attacked him as vague on domestic policy. Most problematic, he seemed hesitant and prone to gaffes - most notably, when he told a group of reporters the day after announcing his candidacy that he "probably" would have voted for the Iraq war resolution, after presenting himself as strongly opposed to the war.

Yet for all his political greenness, Clark has been a quick study, learning from mistakes and adjusting his approach. And lately, there are signs his campaign may be on an upswing. He expects to raise up to $12 million in the fourth quarter - far more than any other candidate save front-runner Howard Dean. Although he trails Dr. Dean by 30 points in New Hampshire, polls show him challenging Sen. John Kerry for second place there. If he does even better in the next round of primaries on Feb. 3 - in states such as South Carolina, Oklahoma, and Arizona, where his campaign is investing heavily - many believe he could be the party's top alternative to Dean."
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