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The Race for the Nomination sample essay


A presidential campaign is always an exciting time for the country. It either results in a change in philosophy or a maintaining of the incumbent way of thought. The 2008 presidential campaign is perhaps one of the most exciting campaigns in recent memory. The top three democratic candidates all have a unique appeal to the American people. One candidate could possibly be the first black president, another candidate could possibly be the first female president, and the final top democratic candidate was part of the 2004 team that opposed the now disapproved President Bush. The issues of the Iraq war and economy, campaigning differences, and interest group support all demonstrate how each candidate is attempting to find some method to distance themselves from each other.

Campaigning Differences

The differences in campaigning and the interest groups supporting the candidates demonstrate the varied appreciation the public has for each candidate. One major difference can be seen in Obama and Clinton’s fundraising and campaigning procedures. Senator Clinton has a former president supporting her and helping make millions in contributions. Senator Obama is walking door to door, telling supporters that a $5 contribution to his campaign can help create political change. (“High-Profile Takes on Low-Key;,” 2007, p. A01)

Basically Clinton is shown as targeting the elite and established democratic structure, while Obama is conducting a more grass roots campaign. Edwards is also performing a different campaign service and is creating many contributions to his campaign in the process. Currently he is “hosting “Small Change for Big Change” events – some with a $15 ticket price.” (Ibid) It can be seen that each candidate has a different theory on raising money and all appear to be effective.

Interest Groups Involved

Interest groups can hurt or help a campaign race. They are composed of like-minded individuals that all want to see some aspect of American governance changed. One interest group in particular,, has a lot of power in the Democratic Party. fairly recently created a poll demonstrating the Iraq war issue and asking which candidate would be the best chance of getting America out of the war. The poll came back with Obama at number one with 28%, Edwards with 25%, and Clinton with 11%. (“MoveOn Supporters Put Obama,” 2007, p. A04) A further interest group interested in the democrat candidates is the AARP.

Their main concern revolves around healthcare, mainly because they are an organization that caters to the retired and elderly. The AARP is noted as stating, “we need access to a system that produces health, not one that simply reacts to sickness; we need a system that organizes the delivery of care efficiently and pays for what works.”(“Treat the Root Cause,” 2007, p. A11) Millions are represented in these two groups, and they are only two of the interest groups associated with the political process. It will be key for any candidate to gain favor of these groups and all interest groups if possible.

Iraq Issue

The top three democratic candidates are Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, and John Edwards. They all pronounce their issues, which all seem similar. However, it is in the appearance of conformity that a true difference is realized.

The first issue is perhaps the most important, and that involves Iraq. This issue has become a great issue for the American public’s consumption. It revolves around whether or not to bring the troops home from Iraq or to keep the troops in Iraq for a set period of time. The fact that there is a time period at all as well as some democrats wanting to see an abrupt end to the war signals a strong disagreement with the current administration and republicans in Congress.

For instance, it was stated, “the Bush administration will ask for another $100 billion for military and diplomatic operations in Iraq and Afghanistan this year and seek $145 billion for 2008.” (“Hillary Vows to End,” 2007, p. A01) It is in this type of talk that the democratic candidates all have their talking points for the American voters. Barack Obama is at an advantage because he is the only candidate of the three that can point to his lack of a positive vote for the war. Obama is noted as saying, “I opposed this war from the start,” Mr. Obama, of Illinois, fired back at Mr. Edwards, adding: “You’re about 4 1/2 years late on leadership on this issue. It’s important not to play politics on something that is as critical and as difficult as this.” (“Democrats Take off Gloves,” 2007, p. A01) Obama’s lack of a ‘yes’ vote on the war is somewhat misleading.

Obama was not a senator during the 2002 vote to go to war with Iraq, while Clinton and Edwards were serving as senators and did provide a ‘yes’ vote to go to war. (Ibid) As far as public opinion is concerned, Obama is benefited by his lack of a pro-war vote, despite the reasons such a vote was not made. John Edwards has changed his position on the Iraq war since his 2002 vote, and has used this position to attack both of the top candidates.

Mr. Edwards has been pressuring Clinton and Obama to cut funding from the Iraq war and has stated that the two top candidates of doing nothing and remaining silent instead of taking a stand on the Iraq issue. (Ibid) Clinton is unique in this issue because although she voted for the war and is now against the running of the war, she still refuses to consider her vote as incorrect. This is especially concerning because the Iraq war is the greatest issue facing the candidates and America presently. As one pundit put it,

It’s not just that Mrs. Clinton voted in favor of authorizing war against the Saddam regime. It’s that she has refused to repudiate her vote in favor of the war, to apologize for it, to call it a mistake. True, she is now an outspoken critic of the conduct of the war. (“Hillary Clinton’s Iraq Problem;,” 2007, p. A17)

It appears that Hillary has some work to do in order to sure up support for her candidacy. The Iraq issue and its consequences cannot be ignored for any democratic candidate.


The economy is another main issue that each candidate has concentrated. Currently, the economy is taking a slow recess from its previous high-points. Clinton has attacked the economy of President Bush by suggesting, “”If we don’t have a strong manufacturing base in our economy, it won’t be long until we don’t have a strong economy” and said she would “look out for America” if elected.” (“High-Profile Takes on Low-Key;,” 2007, p. A01) Obama focuses on a more general aspect of the economy in that is the relationship with the people suffering. He is quoted as saying, “many…have shared…stories about skyrocketing health care bills, pensions lost and struggles to pay for college for your kids. Our continued dependence on oil has put our security and our very planet at risk.” (Ellis & Hoekstra, 2007, p. 7) Obama is thus tackling the oil dependence issue and the economy together.

He is highlighting the struggles that many Americans currently find with economic stability and illustrating an understanding of their plight and offering hope if he is elected. John Edwards appears to be more hands on in his approach to discussing the economical issue facing America. On his “Road to One America” tour Edwards visited towns hit with the loss of manufacturing jobs and urban poverty areas. (“New Objectives,” 2007, p. A06) While Edwards offers no real economic solutions as of yet, it seems he is scouring the country in order to surmise the magnitude of the problem. It is no surprise that the economy is one of the central issues facing America in the 2008 presidential election.


The economy and Iraq war are two of the most important issues for the top three democratic candidates to discuss. With assistance from their unique campaigning and interest group support they may be able to win the candidacy for the democratic nomination.


Democrats Take off Gloves in Debate; Tone Shifts over Iraq War Funds. (2007, June 4). The Washington Times, p. A01.

Ellis, A., & Hoekstra, N. (2007, January 17). Obama Popular among Suburban Counterparts Still Some Question Where Senator Stands. Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL), p. 7.

High-Profile Takes on Low-Key; While Hillary Schmoozes, Obama Goes for Grass Roots. (2007, June 14). The Washington Times, p. A01.

Hillary Clinton’s Iraq Problem; Vote for War Authorization as Party Looks toward ’08. (2007, March 6). The Washington Times, p. A17.

Hillary Vows to End War; Warner to Help Block His Own Resolution on Iraq. (2007, February 3). The Washington Times, p. A01.

MoveOn Supporters Put Obama on Top; Hillary Places Fifth in Poll on Iraq War. (2007, April 13). The Washington Times, p. A04.

New Objectives. (2007, July 9). The Washington Times, p. A06.

Obama Trails in Name-ID Efforts; *His Democratic Presidential Rivals Have an Edge, and He Knows He Has “Work to Do.”. (2007, July 1). The Washington Times, p. A1.

Treat the Root Cause in Reform Effort. (2007, May 21). The Register-Guard (Eugene, OR), p. A11.

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