Two Oklahoma newspapers endorse Clark in primary

Monday, February 2nd 2004, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) _ The newspapers in the third- and fourth-largest cities in Oklahoma have given endorsements to former Army Gen. Wesley Clark for the state's Democratic primary on Tuesday.

The Norman Transcript and The Lawton Constitution ran editorials in their Sunday editions backing the Arkansas native. The Oklahoman, in Oklahoma City, and the Tulsa World have not yet backed a candidate.

``Although there are several qualified and formidable candidates in this race, our leanings are toward Retired Gen. Wesley Clark, a relative newcomer to the arena of elected leadership but no stranger to executive leadership and foreign policy,'' the Transcript said in its editorial.

Clark, along with North Carolina Sen. John Edwards and Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry, have been leading in statewide polls as the primary approaches.

The Transcript mentioned Clark's ``roots in middle America'' and his plans to grow family income, curb deaths caused by pollution, enroll more students in higher education, bring children out of poverty and provide health care for uninsured Americans.

The Constitution also rallied around Clark's background.

``Clark is from Arkansas and he knows what Oklahomans and military communities are all about,'' the Constitution said in its endorsement. ``Simply put, he understands us better and he won't forget his roots.''

The newspaper also backed Clark because of foreign policy.

``The retired four-star general would bring a new perspective to the ongoing war on terrorism, even ending the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan sooner rather than later,'' said the newspaper in Lawton, home of the Fort Sill Army post, which has lost more than 18 soldiers in the Iraq war.

Clark has been in Oklahoma every day since finishing third in the New Hampshire primary last Tuesday. He visited Oklahoma City and Lawton on Sunday, after making stops in Norman, Oklahoma City, McAlester, and twice in Tulsa in the past week.