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More Oh-Eight (D)

As promised above, here are the candidates' and prospective candidates' positions on the war:

BIDEN: Voted for the war resolution, but has since consistently opposed the management of the war.  Supports the decentralization of Iraq (giving Shiites, Sunnis, and Kurds equal stakes) and thinks the United States should involve neighboring countries in rebuilding the country.  Supports a phased redeployment by the end of this year.  Opposes Bush's troop increase, but doesn't support cutting the funding to stop it.

CLARK: Part of his appeal during his 2004 presidential bid was that he opposed the war -- but he strangely told press during the first days of his campaign that he would have voted for the resolution authorizing it.  Opposes Bush's call for sending more troops to Iraq, but also opposes a timetable for withdrawal, saying that it could result in an emboldened Iran and weaken stability in the Middle East.  Wants a dialogue with other countries in the region, especially Iran and Syria.

CLINTON: Voted for the war resolution and says it was not a mistake (although she now says "if we had known then what we know now, there never would have been a vote, and I never would have voted for it").  Opposes Bush's call for a troop increase, but doesn't support cutting the funding to stop it.  After returning from Iraq and Afghanistan last month, called for capping the number of troops in Iraq, cutting funding to the Iraqis if they don't meet certain benchmarks, and increasing the number of troops in Afghanistan.  But continues to oppose setting a "date certain" to begin bringing troops home from Iraq.

DODD: Voted for the war resolution but has since said he would have voted differently.  Has introduced legislation to cap troop levels at 130,000 and opposes Bush's troop increase.  Doesn't support setting a definitive date for withdrawal, but has argued for a "meaningful de-escalation" of US forces, and says that in the meantime, the military should focus on training Iraqi forces.  Opposes the Warner resolution against Bush's troop increase because it does not include a cut in funding.

EDWARDS: Voted for the Iraq war resolution, and said he didn't regret the vote during his 2004 campaign, then penned a Washington Post op-ed in November 2005 saying his vote was wrong.  Opposes Bush's troop increase and -- unlike Clinton and Obama -- supports cutting off the funding to pay for the increase.  Calls for the immediate withdrawal of 40,000 to 50,000 US troops to send the message that the Iraqi people must begin to take responsibility for their country.

GRAVEL: Has questioned the Iraq war since 2002.  Supports an immediate withdrawal from Iraq and feels the Administration misrepresented its argument for going to war.

KUCINICH: Was against the war from the start, and has maintained that opposition ever since.  Doesn't support Bush's increase in troops and favors cutting off congressional funding to stop it.  Wants to end the war now.  "I'm the only one who not only has voted against authorization, but voted against each and every appropriation that has kept us there."

OBAMA: Has consistently opposed the war and said he would have voted against it had he been in the Senate at the time.  At one point, said he was against a phased withdrawal, arguing it would exacerbate the situation there.  But has modified that position: Advocates capping troop levels and implementing a phased withdrawal starting in May -- with all troops coming home by spring of 2008.  Blasted Bush for his troop increase, but doesn't support cutting off funds to stop it.

RICHARDSON: Wasn't in Congress when the Iraq war was being debated, but supported Bush's military objectives there.  Since then, however, has become much more anti-war.  Opposes Bush's plan to send more troops to Iraq and favors using Congress' power of the purse to stop it.  In addition, wants a phased withdrawal from Iraq this year; engagement with Syria, Iran, and other neighbors; and more reconstruction aid to help Iraq and its fledgling government.

VILSACK: Has declined to answer whether he would have voted for the war (he was governor of Iowa at the time), but is anti-war now.  Opposes Bush's troop increase and wants Congress to block funding for it.  Has encouraged state legislatures to denounce Bush's plan, as he did during his farewell speech as governor.  Differs with Clinton and Obama on their call for capping the number of troops in Iraq, saying it's "the continuation of a failed policy."  Instead, is pushing for the removal of troops from Iraq's central and southern regions, while leaving some in the North along the Iranian border.

Biden ran more damage control yesterday afternoon, appearing on the Rev. Al Sharpton's radio show to do further penance for his comment that Obama is "clean" and "articulate," reports NBC's Carrie Dann.  On the show, Biden genuflected to his host -- whom Obama's carefully crafted response had painted as the victim of a slight on Biden's part.  "The truth of the matter," Biden told Sharpton, "is you're one of the most articulate people in the country."  On the show, the already embattled Senator was regretful about the flap that marred his 2008 debut, but firmly added near the end of the interview, "I am yielding to no one -- black or white, or any other background -- competing for the African-American vote."

Some South Carolina Democrats -- including some African-Americans -- say that Biden's comment about Obama will do little to harm his chances in the state. 

The New York Times is the latest to look at why some African-American voters aren't fully behind Obama.  One reason: Some don't think he's truly a black American.  "'I've got nothing but love for the brother, but we don't have anything in common,' said [the essayist Debra] Dickerson, who wrote recently about Mr. Obama in Salon, the online magazine.  'His father was African.  His mother was a white woman…  He married black.  He acts black.  But there's a lot of distance between black Africans and African-Americans.'"  

The Times also says that Clinton's campaign, as part of its effort to raise $75 million in 2007, is asking donors to raise at least $1 million to make it to the top echelon of fundraisers.  

Vilsack has signed on as a paid consultant on renewable energy for at least two years with one of Iowa's largest utilities, reports the Des Moines Register.  The company, MidAmerican Energy Co., has made several contributions to Vilsack's coffers, but Vilsack says he doesn't see a conflict of interest in that the company will not influence him on any policy decisions.