SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- Democratic Senate candidate Nancy Farmer said Wednesday that nothing demonstrates the need for political change in Washington more than the war in Iraq.
Farmer had retired Army Gen. Wesley Clark at her side as she spoke to about 350 people at Ozarks Technical Community College in Springfield. Clark, a former Democratic presidential hopeful, also appeared with Farmer during a campaign stop Wednesday in St. Louis. He called her stand on Iraq "straight, clear and courageous."
Farmer is seeking to unseat Republican Sen. Kit Bond, who is running for his fourth term. She earlier won the endorsement of former Democratic presidential candidate Howard Dean.
Farmer and Clark accused President Bush of rushing to war with Iraq after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
"The terrorist connection that didn't exist in Iraq before is there today," said Farmer, who is state treasurer. "We know that from the 9-11 commission, which Kit Bond voted against in the Senate."
Bond did vote against an amendment to establish the commission; however, the Senate later passed the bill creating the commission without a dissenting vote.
Farmer also accused Bush of overextending troops -- something she asserted would not have happened if America had not eroded relations with its allies. Her comments came on the same day the Army formally announced plans to begin notifying more than 5,600 former soldiers that they are being involuntarily recalled to active duty and could be sent to Iraq or Afghanistan as early as this fall.
"We may have transferred sovereignty, but our men and women in uniform are still being transferred overseas," Farmer said.
Jason Van Eaton, Bond's campaign manager, said Bond is cautiously optimistic about the way things are going in Iraq. Bond believes the transfer of authority this week to the Iraqis and the imprisonment of Saddam Hussein are bringing about hope, he said.
Still, Clark said America must be committed to securing peace in Iraq.
"We have to win Iraq," he said.
That mission can be accomplished through the November elections, Clark said.
"This is not personal. Politics is not personal," he said. "It should be about picking the right people to lead the country."
Paul Sloca, a spokesman for the Missouri Republican Party, said Farmer is campaigning with "out-of-state liberals" such as Clark and Dean and is out of touch with mainstream America.
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