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Kucinich Undaunted by Fifth-Place Showing

by Jason Claffey

DOVER - Dennis Kucinich's fifth-place showing in Tuesday's primary won't mean much to his presidential bid, as he vowed to continue campaigning across the country for the Democratic nomination despite capturing a low percentage of the New Hampshire vote.With 99 percent of precincts reporting, the Ohio U.S. congressman received just 1.4 percent of the vote. Locally, he received single-digit vote totals in 12 communities, with lows in New Castle (1 vote) and Newington (2). He received highs in Portsmouth (125) and Dover (170), but still finished fifth in both cities. He also finished fifth in Durham, where he and his wife, Elizabeth, made multiple campaign stops at the University of New Hampshire.

The low numbers didn't seem to faze him, as he scheduled a Monday appearance at the University of Michigan in preparation for that state's primary the following day.

During a televised primary rally Tuesday night at Jillian's in Manchester, Kucinich said he would continue to focus on his policies, including instituting a universal, single-payer health-care system and canceling the North American Free Trade Agreement.

Some of Kucinich's other proposals, such as impeaching Vice President Dick Cheney for "leading the country into an illegal war with Iraq" and creating a Department of Peace to replace the Department of Defense, have sometimes been viewed as controversial.

And as he has never been a serious contender for the Democratic nomination, according to state and national polls over the last few months, gaining attention for issues such as those may be all Kucinich can hope for the rest of the 2008 campaign.

That and helping to reform his own party.

During an editorial board meeting with Foster's last week, Kucinich said: "I'm running (from) inside the Democratic party to challenge the party. I haven't been someone who on the campaign trail has railed about Republicans because the fact of the matter is, I see the flaws within my party and want to make it effective in the two-party system, and it hasn't been."

Kucinich then inferred that the views of surprise primary winner Hillary Clinton and second-place finisher Barack Obama are too similar.

In the middle of the meeting, Kucinich, who has called himself a "long-shot" candidate, was asked: "Your (polling) numbers are in the single digits ... are you a serious candidate for president? Or are you a serious messenger for the direction in which the country should be going?"

"I'm a serious candidate for president because I'm a serious messenger," Kucinich responded.

As of Wednesday, his stance hasn't seemed to change.

© 2008 Foster's Daily Democrat

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