CLEVELAND – Democrats jazzed by the hype that political stars Barack Obama and Hillary Rodham Clinton might run for president will have to settle for Dennis Kucinich, at least for now.

Five weeks after being elected to a sixth term in the U.S. House of Representatives, the former Cleveland mayor will announce Tuesday that he is running for president, his second bid in 2½ years.

While the presidential spotlight has focused on other better known potential candidates, Kucinich is only the second Democrat to officially launch his campaign. Outgoing Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack announced his campaign for president earlier this month.

Kucinich has earned a national reputation as an anti-war activist, in part thanks to his proposal to create a Cabinet-level department of peace.

Kucinich, 60, ran for president in 2004 largely on his opposition to the war in Iraq. But he won fewer than 70 delegates of the 2,162 needed to receive the party’s nomination.

And despite early signs he had little support – he garnered just 1 percent in the 2004 Iowa caucus vote – he was the last candidate to concede to John Kerry.

Kucinich appears emboldened by the country’s flagging support for the war, so much so that he attacked his Democratic colleagues Monday for their support for war.

“Democrats were swept into power on Nov. 7 because of widespread voter discontent with the war in Iraq,” Kucinich said in a statement announcing Tuesday’s campaign kickoff. “Instead of heeding those concerns and responding with a strong and immediate change in policies and direction, the Democratic congressional leadership seems inclined to continue funding the perpetuation of the war.”

PH END NAYMIK/EATON

(Mark Naymik and Sabrina Eaton are staff writers for The Plain Dealer of Cleveland. They can be contacted at mnaymik(at)plaind.com and seaton(at)plaind.com.)

2006-12-11-KUCINICH-RUNNING

AP-NY-12-11-06 1905EST


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