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Clark to Bush: 'Mission's not accomplished' on economy

On Iraq: 'I won't get us into a mess like this again'

Democratic presidential hopeful Wesley Clark holds a news conference on the Georgia Tech campus in Atlanta Friday.
Democratic presidential hopeful Wesley Clark holds a news conference on the Georgia Tech campus in Atlanta Friday.

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ATLANTA (CNN) -- The just-announced decline in unemployment does not cure "the huge backlog of misery" plaguing the nation's economy, Democratic presidential candidate Wesley Clark said Friday.

He pointedly told President Bush, "The mission's not accomplished on the economy."

In a reference to the new jobs filled in October, Clark told reporters following a speech at Georgia Tech, "You have to remember --125,000 jobs -- that's almost enough to keep up with new entrants into the labor force. But we've had 3.3 million jobs lost ... We've got a huge backlog of misery to deal with in this economy."

The retired general called the brightening job picture "long overdue," but said it was premature to say the economy has turned the corner. "We ought to be remembering the people out there who don't have jobs...the mission's not accomplished on the economy."

Clark also critized the president's handling of the situation in Iraq. He told the campus gathering the deaths of six American soldiers Friday on a downed Black Hawk helicopter was the latest reminder of the administration's failed policy in the country.

"What we've seen for the last days is the continuing saga of Iraq -- still no clear strategy from the Administration," he said.

Clark pledged to learn from Bush's mistakes.

"As President, I won't get us into a mess like this again." He vowed not to commit U.S. forces to a combat mission unless "we have a real plan, and the forces to execute it, and there is absolutely, absolutely, absolutely no other way."


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