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Reuters AlertNet 8/17/07

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At the UN, Mike Gravel on Kososo and Blowback and Presidential Fitness

Byline: Matthew Russell Lee of Inner City Press at the UN: News Analysis

UNITED NATIONS, September 11 -- Among the contenders for the U.S. Democratic Party's presidential nomination, ex-Senator from Alaska Mike Gravel is viewed as the longest of long shots. But at the UN on Tuesday, he told reporters that "with ten million dollars" he "can win." Inner City Press asked for his views on two issues, one domestic and one international: Kosovo and campaign finance. On the first, Gravel acknowledged that he is not up to date, having been out of office for 26 years. "There are Muslims and there are Christians," he said, and you "have to bring their patrons in." He said that the U.S. should "recognize that Russia has a stake" in the region.

            On campaign finance, Gravel was more direct, calling Hillary Clinton "the most corrupt" candidate, and "not fit to be president." 

            "Why am I spending so much time here at the UN talking to you?" he asked. Several reporters perked up. Yeah, why?  "I'm an internationalist," he said. "And I believe in blow-back." Come again?

Gravel making his point: no potted plant, he

   "You will report in your countries, but it will flow back to the U.S. when people here buy your newspapers." The flowing will be over a little thing called the Internet, regarding which Gravel said he has "just contracted with a company in Las Vegas" to handle his online fundraising. He will not, he says, fall into Howard Dean's trap, of spending all his money too fast.

            This Gravelian wisdom stretches back more than three decades, when Gravel in his words went "mano a mano" with Nixon. Referring en masse to the other candidates, he said that he has "more experience than all of them put together," but that nevertheless at is recent debate, "CNN put me on the side like a potted plant." A very active potted plant...

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Clck here for a Reuters AlertNet piece by this correspondent about Uganda's Lord's Resistance Army.  Click here for an earlier Reuters AlertNet piece by this correspondent about the Somali National Reconciliation Congress, and the UN's $200,000 contribution from an undefined trust fund.  Video Analysis here

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UN Office: S-453A, UN, NY 10017 USA Tel: 212-963-1439

Reporter's mobile (and weekends): 718-716-3540