Ohio Rep. Kucinich: 'I'm ready to run for president'
Moseley-Braun also plans on joining race
DES MOINES, Iowa (CNN) -- Rep. Dennis Kucinich said Monday that he is "ready to run for president" on an unabashed liberal platform that opposes the foreign policy championed by the Bush administration, including a possible war in Iraq.
The Democratic congressman from Ohio said he will file papers Tuesday to form a presidential exploratory committee, and that he expects to seek the Democratic nomination for president.
Another Democrat is also preparing to jump into the 2004 race. Former U.S. Sen. Carol Moseley-Braun of Illinois is scheduled to hold a news conference in Chicago Tuesday afternoon to discuss her plans. She was the first African--American woman elected to the U.S. Senate.
Kucinich has been very critical of the Bush administration as he prepares for a race.
"This isn't just about Iraq," Kucinich told CNN. "This is about an administration's policy which is going to proliferate war around the world. This is about a policy of pre-emption and unilateralism, of nuclear first strike.
"We need a foreign policy which is cooperative, which enhances our relations with allies, not separates people. We need a holistic world view that views the world as interdependent and interconnected."
The administration has not made a persuasive case for war, the four-term, 56-year-old congressman said. "There is no basis to go to war against Iraq," he said, adding that Iraq is not responsible for the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, is not responsible for al Qaeda's role in those attacks, is not responsible for the ensuing anthrax attacks and represents no threat to the United States.
"Iraq cannot attack our nation, but if we attack Iraq, I think we'll make America less safe and more vulnerable to terrorism," he said.
Kucinich described himself as "an FDR-type Democrat" who would work to "make sure people have jobs [and], universal health care, and protect Social Security.
"When I take that message through this state and across this country, I think there's going to be real responsiveness to it, and also a message that war is not necessary."
He broadened his criticism to include some within his own party. "I think that we need to bring back into the debate the old-time Democratic values. This is a struggle for the soul of the Democratic Party, which in too many cases has become so corporate and identified with corporate interests that you can't tell the difference between Democrats and Republicans.
"Well, in my case, you will be able to tell the difference. I'll be there on the side of workers, on the side of the environment, on the side of fair trade and on the side of peace."
Kucinich was in Iowa, the first caucus state, to address a meeting of the AFL-CIO in Altoona.
Elected Cleveland city councilman at 23, he went on to be elected Cleveland's mayor nine years later, becoming the youngest mayor of a large U.S. city.
In 1996, he was elected to Congress as an economic progressive, though he tends to be more conservative on cultural issues. For example, he opposes abortion.
Asked about his recent comment to an Akron newspaper that it would be "a cold day and possibly a snowy day in hell before a liberal would get back into the White House," he responded, "Have you been checking the stories on CNN today? All over America, it's cold and snowy. I'm ready to run for president."