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Monday, February 19th, 2007

Presidential candidate visits area

By William Kincaid

Democratic Presidential hopeful and U.S. Congressman Dennis Kucinich from Clevel. . .

WAPAKONETA - Democratic presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich addressed a sold-out crowd at the Democrats of Auglaize County (DAC) Presidents Day Breakfast on Saturday morning, calling for a complete withdrawal of American troops from Iraq and stronger economic and domestic rograms.
"This is an illegal war," Kucinich told the Democrats attending Presidents Day breakfast Saturday. "We attacked a country that didn't attack us."
Kucinich, a six-term U.S. congressman from Cleveland, revealed his middle eastern peace plan after stating that we are leaving some of our finest men and women to the perils of the war.
"Iraq can be stabilized, but not with our presence," he said.
Kucinich advocated a complete withdraw from Iraq - closing bases and ending an occupancy that he believes is fueling the current insurgency.
"The president cannot continue a war if Congress doesn't fund it," he said, emphasizing that the legislature, validated by the constitution, can supersede the powers of the president.
Unlike many of his other Democratic peers, Kucinich said he has never supported the war. He lambasted both those who oppose the war, but support funding and those who claimed they would have acted differently had they known then what they know now.
What can such Democrats say, he asked - were they duped by George Bush?
"I wasn't fooled," he said. "I read the reports ... (I was) not playing to the crowd ... to the media's drumbeats to war."
During his brief presentation at the Wapakoneta American Legion - one stop on a heavy nationwide campaign initiative within the next week - Kucinich played up his economic and social background. Kucinich lived with his parents and six other children in many different places, including cars.
"I remember what it is like to be concerned," he told the 100 or so people attending the breakfast. "When I got into public life, I made a vow I'll never forget where I come from."
Kucinich, who said he is the only presidential candidate from Ohio to date, called for the revitalization of both the manufacturing economy and family farmers.
"I come from the people," he said. "I know exactly what is going on."
He said America - including Ohio - used to have a trade surplus, but in recent years has "given up a lot of our basic industry."
"We need to rebuild the American manufacturing base," he said, adding that it should be defend and allowed to prosper once again.
Kucinich blamed the recent trend on multinational corporations and their collective bargaining practices. Renegotiations, he said, must begin.
"There's only one way that we fix NAFTA," he said. "That is to withdraw fro m it."
He also pointed out that the U.S.'s trade relations with China, which now has a trade surplus with America, should also be renegotiated.
"What are we doing to our country?" he asked.
Kucinich also called for a universal health care system by taking the private health insurance companies out of the equation.
"People can't afford their hospital bills," he said. "People (Continued from page 1A)
are going broke ... this is killing families.
He believes if the country put the money now allocated for insurance into a non-profit, health care system, everyone, including the current 46 million Americans without insurance could be secured. One of every four government dollars spent on health care, Kucinich said, is currently being spent on for profit, insurance companies.
Under his plan, Kucinich said families could gain coverage - including dental care.
Kucinich also questioned the actions of a Congress that spends time on a "non-binding" resolution.
"What is this about, non-binding?"
He said Congress has never spent a whole week discussing health care, "but we had a whole week of debate on a non-binding resolution.
Kucinich's speech was cut short when he learned from his wife Elizabeth, who had accompanied him to St. Marys, that their travel plans had changed and that they must depart sooner-than-expected for the airport.
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