Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Obama Adopting National Initiative. Gravel to Drop Out of Race

Found this interesting story this morning!

PHILADELPHIA — Former Democratic Presidential Candidate Mike Gravel has announced his intention to drop out of the presidential race after meeting with Democratic frontrunner Barack Obama. Gravel, who switched parties to run as a Libertarian on March 26th, stated that his decision was the result of a pledge from Obama to adopt the National Initiative for Democracy.

The National Initiative, which would allow citizens to propose, alter, or nullify laws in conjunction with traditional legislative bodies, has been the cornerstone of Gravel's presidential run.

During his run for the Democratic nomination, Senator Gravel had accused Obama of being beholden to "corporatocracy" and "the military-industrial complex". While downplaying his previous denunciations as water under the bridge, Gravel did admit that strong disagreements still exist between him and the Senator from Illinois. This apparent chasm was highlighted by Gravel's insistence that he would turn down any offer to be in Barack Obama's cabinet should he become president.

A senior aide to the Obama campaign, speaking on condition of anonymity, said it was premature to comment on the specific role Gravel would play in an Obama administration, but did state that the former senator from Alaska would be involved in creating an agency called The United States Electoral Trust, which would administer the legislative power of citizens at the federal level.

The aide also stressed the importance of the National Initiative in setting the Obama campaign apart from that of Democratic rival Hillary Clinton. "Countries like Switzerland have shown that federal ballot initiatives can produce sound lawmaking," she said. "It's time that a major candidate for president got behind a serious proposal to entrust the people with the same power we place in the hands of our elected leaders. By adopting the National Initiative, Senator Obama is sending a clear signal that he trusts the American people to have a more direct role in their government."

Before announcing his intent to bow out of the race for the presidency, Senator Gravel discussed his meeting with Barack Obama. "Stop and think," Gravel told reporters. "This is a real chance to empower the American people by giving them the ability to make laws. 24 states already have ballot initiatives that give the people the same power as their representatives without dramatically changing the way our government works."

Senator Barack Obama was unavailable for comment, but the meeting was confirmed by a spokesperson for his campaign, who said that Obama was "looking forward" to working with the former senator in order to "show that Americans are serious about democracy".


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