NNPA Washington Correspondent
Former U. S. Sen. Carol Mosely-Braun, having concluded an ambassadorship to New Zealand, is thinking about running again for a public office, including the Democratic nomination for president in 2004.
I have been honored and delighted that now that I have returned to the United States from New Zealand, my supporters are encouraging me to advance to public office again and the suggestions range from running for re-election to the United States Senate in 04 to running for the mayorship of Chicago in 03 to running for president of the United States in 04, Mosely-Braun tells NNPA.
Im having listening sessions right now and considering getting a sense of all the issues, she says. Frankly, every other day, something compelling happens to encourage me to get back into elective office Which office depends on where I can be the most service to the people, I think. I mean it could be just as easy for the Senate or the mayorship or the presidency, frankly.
Mosely-Braun, who in 1992, became the first and only Black woman to serve in the U. S. Senate, lost her re-election bid in 1998 to a Republican, Peter Fitzgerald.
But Mosely-Braun and her supporters say political losses have never precluded future victories.
Why shouldnt Carol Mosely-Braun, who has national name recognition, who lost an election just like everybody else loses an election, like Bill Clinton lost the governorship and went on to become president? says Yvonne Scruggs-Leftwich, a personal friend of Mosely-Braun. So, there is no reason that there cannot be a confluence of elements and of issues and of time and of events, so this would be a good time for her.
Scruggs-Leftwich is perhaps best known as executive director and chief operating officer of the Black Leadership Forum, a non-partisan coalition of 22 Black organizations. She is also privately a charter member of Future Political Action Committee, a PAC, established Sept. 12 at the Washington headquarters of the National Council of Negro Women for the purpose of advancing Black women in politics.
Mosely-Braun confirms she was among the more than 250 women who became members of the PAC during the luncheon meeting, which was held during the Congressional Black Caucus annual legislative conference. Other members of the PAC include Susan Taylor, senior vice president and editorial director of Essence Communications Inc., Regina Thomas, New Jersey secretary of state, and C. Delores Tucker, chair of the National Congress of Black Women.
Mosely-Braun weathered a string of ethics accusations during her six-year term, including criticism of her trips to visit the late Nigerian military dictator Sani Abacha, widely known for his human rights abuses. Mosely-Braun argued that it was Americas responsibility to pursue dialogue and even-handed policies in the interest of human rights.
Questions also arose about the funding of her trips to Nigeria. The Senate Foreign Relations Committee exonerated her, saying she used her own money.
For all of the vilification that I received in my re-election effort, I was vindicated on every front. And theres never been any shade of wrong-doing on my part in any way, Mosely-Braun says. So, if people talk about you like a dog, you cant control what people say. But you can control what you do. And I am very proud that my record is clear, my integrity has been vindicated and I have an honorable record of public service to point to.
The Senate Foreign Relations Committee also approved the nomination of the former senator as an ambassador to New Zealand after she was nominated by President Bill Clinton in 1998.
Among other high-profile prospective challengers to George Bush for president in 2004 are Senators Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.), Joe Biden (D-Del.), Tom Daschle (D-S.D.), John Edwards (D-N. C.), John Kerry (D-Mass.), Joe Lieberman (D-Conn.), Vermont Gov. Howard Dean, former Vice President Al Gore and New York activist Al Sharpton.
If Mosely Braun runs, 2004 could be a busy year for Black presidential candidates. Sharpton, who has started fund-raising, says he will announce his decision later this fall. Members of the Green Party, which nominated Ralph Nader for president in 2000, have said the party may nominate Rep. Cynthia McKinney (D-Ga.) as its 2004 presidential or vice presidential candidate. McKinney, who lost her Democratic Primary last month, has not confirmed any intentions to run.
In any case, the time is right for women, says Scruggs-Leftwich:
African-American women have created a PAC. There are White womens PACS all across the country. And I think that women in general are going to be much more galvanized to take into their own hands their campaign and election issue-making responsibilities.
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