LOS ANGELES , Aug. 12 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Voters should question the "suitability for office" of any Democratic Presidential candidate who would "dangle the nuclear sword of Damocles" over the whole world by saying nuclear options are "on the table" in dealing with nations in the Middle East .
"It's insane" to be talking about nuclear options, Ohio Congressman and Democratic Presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich told a national television audience this morning on ABC-TV's "This Week with George Stephanopoulos." Nuclear saber-rattling "just begs the question as to whether they have the fitness to be president," Kucinich said.
Instead, "I think that the United States must lead the way for nuclear abolition." He went on to say, "I think we have to get rid of nuclear weapons. The idea that somehow by having nuclear weapons you make the world a safer place is essentially insane ... Under my administration, we will work to abolish nuclear weapons and engage every nation which is a nuclear nation to do the same and every non-nuclear nation not to develop nuclear weapons."
Kucinich quoted a statement from the inaugural address of President John F. Kennedy: "Let us not negotiate out of fear, but let us never fear to negotiate." He explained, "I would lead through multilateral nuclear disarmament" negotiations. People and nations all over the world are concerned about climate change and global warming, he explained. The use of nuclear weapons anywhere would be even more disastrous.
Diplomacy, he said, will be more effective than threats in dealing with the volatility in the Middle East that "has been fueled" by the occupation of Iraq . Diplomatic efforts in the region and the withdrawal of U.S. forces, he added, would help bring together other nations, including Iran and Syria , to participate in an international security and peace-keeping force after the U.S. leaves. "I can tell you that every country's concerned about the instability, which our occupation of Iraq continues to bring. So it's clear we need a new direction."
In the wide-ranging interview, Kucinich also challenged assertions that his electoral appeal is only to the liberal wing of the Democratic Party. On issues such as the war, universal health care, trade policies, and other issues, "I'm at the center" of public sentiment nationally. He went on, "there was so much attention paid to a number of candidates early on, that as people start to see that it's my campaign which is addressing the aspirations of the American people for peace, for health care, for jobs for all. I think that the support is building in my direction."
He also spoke forcefully on the issue of homeland security, pointing out that U.S. ports are especially vulnerable. "We must have a national security doctrine that involves using good, old-fashioned police work to track down people who appear to be ready to strike at this country. But at the same time, the best defense that we have in America is diplomacy, is a smart intelligence program that cannot be led astray by ideology." He noted that faulty intelligence was further manipulated by the Bush Administration as an excuse to invade Iraq in the first place.
Kucinich pointed out that he was the only Democratic Presidential candidate to dispute the original intelligence and vote against the war authorization in 2002, the only candidate with a truly universal health care plan, the only one to propose canceling the North American Free Trade Agreement, and the first with a massive public-works jobs program. "People want a president who's right the first time," Kucinich told Stephanopoulos. "We've already had an audition for the presidency. And, frankly, I'm the only one that's passed it.
Asked about Cleveland-area media commentaries questioning the impact his campaign is having on constituent services in his Congressional district, Kucinich responded, "My constituents are well served." He pointed out that his Congressional office handles about 10,000 constituent requests per year.