Arkansas Native Drops Out of Presidential Race

February 11, 2004 -- Posted at 4:32 pm CST

JONESBORO - The hope of another Arkansan making it to the White House is over.

"We have decided we are going to end this phase of this journey, even more full of hope and even more committed to building a better America," said Wesley Clark.

Four-star General Wesley Clark is bowing out of the political arena, today telling supporters who drafted him, it's been every bit a cause as it has been a campaign.

"You proved to me that a General can do great things when he has the greatest troops in the world," said Clark.

After finishing third in Tennessee's primary yesterday, Clark surprised political pundits with a traditional stump speech signaling his campaign would continue. However, a short time later, news spread from top aides that the end was imminent.

"Tennessee was a must win for our campaign," said Charles Willis the Regional Coordinator for Arkansas' Democratic Party.

Willis spent a significant amount of time campaigning for Clark in Tennessee. He says initially Clark was the alternative to Howard Dean, but the campaign lost momentum after Iowa.

"We didn't have time to get set up for Iowa and Kerry built up his momentum out of Iowa, and once you build momentum in a race, it makes the money flow," said Willis.

Some people believe Clark also made initial mistakes that he was unable to shrug off, such as the perception that he isn't a true Democrat.

"I don't think there were any fatal errors in the campaign, I just think we got in a little late," said Willis.

Clark's supporters say his political career is not over. They believe he could become Vice President, Secretary of Defense, or even the next Senator from the Natural State.