WASHINGTON (CNN) – One-time Democratic presidential hopeful Mike Gravel announced Wednesday he is abandoning his political party and will run for the White House as a Libertarian.
Gravel, a former senator whose presidential campaign was never taken seriously by most political observers, made the proclamation in a message posted on his Web site.
“The fact is, the Democratic Party today is no longer the party of FDR,” Gravel said. “It is a party that continues to sustain war, the military-industrial complex and imperialism - all of which I find anathema to my views.”
Despite his long shot bid, Gravel was successful in sharing a stage several times with the more established candidates during this election cycle. He used these nationally televised opportunities to rail against his opponents and highlight his opposition to the Iraq war. Gravel represented Alaska in the U.S. Senate from 1969 to 1981, and is best known for publishing the Pentagon Papers.
“I look forward to advancing my presidential candidacy within the Libertarian Party, which is considerably closer to my values, my foreign policy views and my domestic views,” Gravel said in the statement, in which he also solicited small dollar donations from supporters.
Former Republican Rep. Bob Barr of Georgia, who left the Republican Party for the Libertarian Party in 2006, embraced Gravel’s decision.
"Just as Senator Gravel believes Democrats have lost touch with the American public, I too concluded Republicans had lost their core principles, and could no longer associate myself with the GOP,” Barr said in a statement posted on the Libertarian Party’s Web site. “While coming from opposite sides of the aisle, Senator Gravel and I definitely agree on the fundamental need for systemic change in our political system, and that the only way we have of effecting that change is by supporting and working in the Libertarian Party, which is the only political party in America that consistently works in word and deed to maximize individual liberty and minimize government power.”
The Libertarian Party will choose its presidential nominee at its national convention to be held in Denver in May.
- CNN Political Editor Mark Preston
CNN released a poll Tuesday about the Democratic presidential race in the Granite State.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Sen. Hillary Clinton's lead among Democratic presidential contenders in New Hampshire has narrowed over the past two months, while New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson bounced back to the low double digits in a CNN/WMUR poll released Tuesday.
With about two months left before the New Hampshire primaries, Clinton topped the list of Democratic nominees with 36 percent support - down from 43 percent in a September survey. But nearly 70 percent of those polled believe the New York senator will eventually become the party's presidential nominee.
Sen. Barack Obama placed second at 22 percent, while former Sen. John Edwards drew 13 percent - little changed from September, when Obama rated 20 percent support and Edwards, 12.
But Richardson saw his support recover from a September dip, bouncing back to 12 percent from 6 percent. CNN/WMUR polls in June and July put the former U.N. ambassador and energy secretary at 11 percent.
Pollsters quizzed 389 likely Democratic voters for the survey, which was conducted Wednesday through Sunday by the University of New Hampshire. The poll has a sampling error of 5 percentage points.
Sen. Clinton has a commanding lead over other Democrats according to a CNN poll released Wednesday
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Sen. Hillary Clinton has a large lead over her rivals among Nevada Democratic caucus goers, according to a new CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll released Wednesday.
The New York Democrat is the top pick of over half, 51 percent, of the likely caucus participants interviewed for the poll. Her closest rival, Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois, was the choice of 23 percent. Former Sen. John Edwards of North Carolina came in at 11 percent.
All other candidates came in at single digits: New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, 5 percent; Sen. Joe Biden of Delaware, 4 percent; former Sen. Mike Gravel at 1 percent and Ohio Rep. Dennis Kucinich at 1 percent.
Programming note: Watch CNN's Democratic presidential debate live from Las Vegas on Thursday at 8 p.m. Eastern time.
Click here to see CNN's new political portal: CNNPolitics.com
MANCHESTER, New Hampshire (CNN) –Secretary of State, William Gardner, is waiting on Michigan to cement a primary date before picking one for New Hampshire. Michigan has until November 14 to make its decision.
Did you notice if anyone was absent at the Democratic debate in Philadelphia? Click here to see former Alaska Sen. Mike Gravel’s interview with the Nashua Telegraph. He talks about the need for a different debate format.
Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, spent time in the North country over the weekend, taking shots at the Democratic frontrunner, Sen. Hillary Clinton.
Last week, Mitt Romney followed in the path of his father, former Michigan Gov. George Romney, by signing his name on the New Hampshire primary. AP’s Steve LeBlanc takes a look at Romney’s family ties.
And he’s baaack. Fred Thompson said he’d spend more time in the Granite state—and he’s sticking to his word. He’ll be in Bedford bright and early Monday morning for Politics and Eggs.
–CNN New Hampshire Producer Sareena Dalla
Gravel had some tough words for credit card companies Wednesday.
(CNN) – Former Alaska Sen. Mike Gravel defended his handling of his personal finances at Wednesday night’s presidential debate in Hanover, New Hampshire, saying that the bright side of a personal bankruptcy he had filed years ago was that credit card companies deserved to get “stuck” with his $90,000 in unpaid debts.
“Donald Trump has been bankrupt a hundred times. So I went bankrupt once in business,” he said. “Who did I bankrupt? I stuck the credit card companies with $90,000 worth of bills, and they deserved it. . . . ”
Gravel also attacked his wealthier Democratic presidential rivals.
“If you want to make a judgment of who can be the greediest people in the world when they get to public office, you can just look at the people up here,” he said, motioning to the other candidates on stage. “Many of them have done very, very well in public office. I left the Senate no better than when I went in.”
Mike Gravel had some harsh words for Hillary Clinton.
WASHINGTON (CNN) – Former Alaska Sen. Mike Gravel scolded fellow Democratic White House hopeful Hillary Clinton during Wednesday’s Democratic presidential debate for supporting a Senate resolution that acknowledged the potential danger Iran poses.
“I am ashamed of you, Hillary, for voting for it,” said Gravel.
When given the opportunity to respond, Clinton began by saying, “I don’t know where to start.”
Gravel also reprimanded Sen. Barack Obama, D-Illinois, for not voting at all.
- CNN Ticker Producer Xuan Thai
Kucinich and Gravel were not invited to two big Iowa events this week.
DES MOINES, Iowa (CNN) - For the second time in one week, Democratic presidential candidates Rep. Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio, and former Alaska Sen. Mike Gravel will be absent from an Iowa stage on which the majority of their opponents will be standing.
Thursday night marks the Divided We Fail/AARP/Iowa Public Television presidential candidate forum on health and financial security. It also marks the second time this week that an event or organization has not exactly welcomed these two candidates with open arms.
The first was Sunday– Iowa Sen. Tom Harkin's annual Steak Fry.
Spokespeople from both Sunday's and Thursday's events say the two candidates would have been allowed to schmooze and hold hands with the rest of the pack had they met the criteria–a stronger physical presence in Iowa.
Mark Fetterhoff, a spokesperson with the AARP Divided We Fail initiative, said every candidate was invited, but there were two stipulations for Thursday's forum that neither candidate met by the deadline: a physical campaign office in Iowa and at least one paid campaign staff representative performing full-time duties in the stateon behalf of the candidate since at least August 1, 2007.
Sen. Obama was one of the Democratic candidates in Indianola on Saturday. Courtesy: CNN's Mike Roselli
INDIANOLA, Iowa (CNN) – Two of the Democratic candidates were noticeably missing Sunday at Iowa Sen. Tom Harkin’s annual Steak Fry.
But it wasn’t their choice–they weren’t invited.
Congressman Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio, and former Alaska Senator Mike Gravel weren’t on stage with the rest of the Democratic pack for Harkin’s fundraiser.
In a press release sent out Saturday, Kucinich accused Iowa Democratic leaders of trying to “rig the game” by excluding him.
Kucinich added, “When party leaders and their allies pre-select which candidates they will allow the voters to hear, it’s a disservice to the voters.”
Harkin spokesperson Matt Paul said neither Kucinich nor Gravel was invited, for essentially one reason: a lack of Iowa organization.
“This is an event for Iowans,” Paul said. “It’s an event for Iowa Senator Tom Harkin, so the focus is campaigns, organizations, and Iowans that are involved here.”
“Last cycle was different, especially for Rep. Kucinich,” Paul continued. “He had staff here. He had resources here. [This cycle] he’s not been here except for the DNC debate. So we made the decision to focus on the candidates that have an Iowa infrastructure.”
The group of Democrats on hand included Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, John Edwards, Bill Richardson, Chris Dodd, and Joe Biden.
All of the above except Richardson met together to walk with Harkin to the stage where they were to speak.
Richardson spokesperson Tom Reynolds said they chose to spend their time “talking to the caucus-goers.”
- CNN Iowa Producer Chris Welch
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Trying to be a "friend" to the American people, Democratic White House hopeful Mike Gravel gave his honest assessment to potential voters during an online Democratic candidate forum Thursday.
"I'm prepared to tell you that Americans are getting fatter and dumber," the former Alaska senator told comedian Bill Maher, one of the debate's moderators. "I have no problem saying that."
Maher asked a question to each of the eight Democratic candidates during the forum, which was sponsored by Slate, Yahoo! and the Huffington Post.
Maher told Gravel that obesity rates are up and reading levels are down and added that the "definition of a friend is someone who tells you the truth." Gravel replied that he was willing to be honest with the American people.
"I've also said that Americans are going to get the government they deserve," Gravel said. "And so if things are going bad, just remember who put these people in power."
- CNN Associate Producer Lauren Kornreich