Friday, July 13, 2007
NEW YORK – Democrat Dennis Kucinich responded angrily Friday to a conversation overheard between Hillary Rodham Clinton and John Edwards, in which the two spoke of limiting the number of candidates invited to participate in presidential forums.
“Candidates, no matter how important or influential they perceive themselves to be, do not have and should not have the power to determine who is allowed to speak to the American public and who is not,” Kucinich said in a statement released by his campaign.
The Edwards-Clinton exchange was picked up by several broadcasters on an open microphone after an NAACP forum in Detroit on Thursday. All eight Democratic candidates took part in the program, including Barack Obama, Bill Richardson, Chris Dodd, Joe Biden, Mike Gravel and Kucinich.
As the candidates exchanged greetings when the forum ended, Edwards was heard suggesting to Clinton that they try to exclude some of their rivals from future gatherings.
“We should try to have a more serious and a smaller group,” he said.
Clinton agreed, saying the forums were “trivialized” with too many candidates crowding the stage.
Neither she nor Edwards mentioned names of which candidates they thought should be excluded. But Kucinich, who typically polls in the low single digits, clearly felt the slight was directed at him.“Imperial candidates are as repugnant to the American people and to our democracy as an imperial president,” Kucinich said, adding that his campaign would take steps to stop any effort to limit participation in the forums.