Democratic presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich told Valley supporters Monday that he will bring troops home from Iraq immediately and expects to make a betterthan-expected showing in the Feb. 3 Arizona primary.
Kucinich filed papers in person with the secretary of state to qualify for the Arizona ballot.
He said he is not discouraged by showing up as a blip in public opinion polls.
"Those who are leading in the polls right now shouldn’t be so arrogant," said Kucinich, an Ohio congressman. "My candidacy stands alone in demanding the United States end the occupation of Iraq. All the other Democrats who are so-called leaders in the polls at this moment basically agree with President Bush that the United States should stay in Iraq for years. I’m giving the people a clear choice on this issue. If they want our troops to come home, then they have a candidate they can vote for."
Kucinich said the 2004 presidential election will turn on Iraq. He is the only member of Congress running for president who has consistently voted against the American invasion and subsequent occupation. While frontrunner Howard Dean, the former governor of Vermont, also has consistently opposed military intervention in Iraq, Kucinich said he is the only candidate committed to pulling out immediately and letting the United Nations take over.
Kucinich touted his expertise on national security, which he said he got as the ranking member of a House subcommittee.
Under his plan, the oil assets of Iraq would be turned over to the United Nations, and U.S. efforts at privatizing the Iraqi economy would be abandoned. The United Nations also would be given the power to help draft a new constitution in Iraq, and would gain control of the contracting process for work to rebuild the country.
"It is imperative that the United States get out of Iraq," Kucinich said during a news conference, surrounded by about 50 supporters from Arizona.
Fernando DaCosta of Mesa said he is not discouraged by his candidate’s standing in most public opinion polls. DaCosta said he supports Kucinich because of his consistent views on the war.
"It’s not about the horse race," DaCosta said. "It’s about voting for what you believe in."