WASHINGTON – Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) said Thursday that President Barack Obama “absolutely” ought to face a Democratic primary challenge from the left in 2012, predicting it would make him “stronger.”
“I think primaries can have the opportunity of raising the issues and make the Democratic candidate a stronger candidate,” Kucinich told CSPAN’s Washington Journal. “I think it’s safe to predict that President Obama will continue to be the nominee of the Democratic primary, but he can be a stronger nominee if he receives a strong challenge in a primary.”
But it won’t be him, warned Kucinich, a seven-term Democratic congressman who ran for his party’s nomination for the presidency in 2004 and 2008. (He dropped out mid-way through the 2008 primaries and endorsed Obama.)
“I intend to run for reelection in the House,” he said.
The Ohio Democrat said it’s “not up to me to say” who should challenge Obama next year, adding that “I’m focusing on being reelected to the House of Representatives.”
Kucinich’s remarks reflect a shift in stance from an interview with Raw Story last October, when he said a primary challenge to Obama would only weaken the president and help propel the GOP to victory.
“I think anybody who runs against Barack Obama for the Democratic nomination would be handing the presidency to the other party on a silver platter,” he said at the time.
No viable liberal candidate has stepped up to challenge Obama, motivating analysts to write off the president’s renomination in 2012 a foregone conclusion. Sitting presidents also rarely face reelection challenges from within their party.
But a coalition of hundreds of prominent liberal and anti-war activists have pledged not to support Obama’s reelection is he doesn’t reverse his support for the Afghan war and take on the military-industrial complex.
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