DES MOINES, IA – Democratic Presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich said Iowa Democratic Party leaders and other groups aligned with the entrenched political power structure are "rigging the game in Iowa" by excluding him from two Presidential events this week.
"The whole purpose of the primary and caucus season is to provide voters with opportunities, not to enable a carnival of interest groups to subvert the process," Kucinich said. "When Party leaders and their allies pre-select which candidates they will allow the voters to hear, it's a disservice to the voters. Iowans deserve better than a rigged game."
Congressman Kucinich, (D-OH), was not invited to Sunday's Democratic Steak Fry in Indianola, nor to a Democratic Presidential Forum Thursday in Davenport. Representatives of both events have falsely claimed that Kucinich does not have a sufficiently "active organization" in Iowa.
However, statewide and national polls consistently show Kucinich running ahead of Senators Joe Biden and Christopher Dodd, who were invited to participate. A recent American Research Group poll in Iowa showed Kucinich getting 3% of the vote, ahead of Biden and Dodd, who were at the bottom with 1% each. In the Los Angeles Times/Bloomberg Poll in Iowa two weeks ago, Kucinich and Biden were both at 2% and Dodd was at 1%.
In the most recent CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll, Kucinich was at 3% nationally, Biden was at 2%, and Dodd was below 1%. Another national poll, Rasmussen Reports, showed Kucinich tied with New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson in fourth place, behind Senators Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, and former Senator John Edwards. Richardson was also invited to participate in the Iowa events. Kucinich also won a post-debate poll on ABC's website after the last Iowa debate.
"We're doing better than some of the establishment candidates, and we're moving up," Kucinich said. "Instead of spending millions of dollars on high-priced consultants, and slick advertising, we have a highly motivated grassroots organization."
He also questioned the decision by the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) Iowa Public Television to exclude him from Thursday's Democratic Presidential Forum, which will focus on the issues of health care and financial security.
"The Presidential debate on health care has been largely fake, with phony claims from candidates that they are providing ‘universal health care’ when, in fact, they are preserving the for-profit system of private insurance companies who make money not providing health care," Kucinich said.
"I am the only Presidential candidate to offer a true universal healthcare plan for America, HR676, Medicare for All. It is a comprehensive, not-for-profit, national health insurance plan, and everyone is covered," Kucinich said. "No premiums, no deductibles, no co-payments."
"How can AARP and Iowa Public Television claim they are committed to educating and informing the voters of Iowa on the Number One domestic issue in this campaign when they deny a voice to the only candidate who is leading the effort to bring real reform to the health care system by ending the control of for-profit insurance and pharmaceutical companies? Since the AARP's own insurance sales interests would be affected by HR 676, serious questions must be raised about their decision to deny me a place on the platform," Kucinich said.
In one highly publicized incident in July, unaware that their microphones were still on and the cameras were still rolling, Clinton and Edwards whispered to each other on stage about eliminating some candidates from future debates. "It is most interesting," Kucinich noted, "that a number of post-debate analyses determined that I performed better than all the other candidates (AFL-CIO, ABC, Howard University, Logo Forum). I can well understand why the other candidates do not want competition, but the credibility of the Democratic process is at risk if sponsoring organizations join in the subversion of that process."
"You would think that the Iowa Democratic Party leaders, fighting to preserve the state’s status as the first caucus state, would be a little more careful about giving other states the impression that they and they alone have the right to determine who the next President will be." Kucinich said.