Conventional warfare

Ms. President: Given her gender and political stance, it’s no surprise that Carol Moseley Braun didn’t make it onto U.S. News & World Report’s “Looking for Mr. Right” cover this week. But she did make it to Sacramento’s peace rally Saturday, where the Democratic presidential hopeful voiced her support for protesters against a war on Iraq.

Moments afterward, her eyes widened when Bites mentioned a protester’s sign labeling four of her peers “Donkey Hawks.” But Braun—the first black woman elected to the U.S. Senate and, later, an ambassador to New Zealand—chose diplomacy over division.

“Frankly, it’s not in my interest to talk about any of the other candidates,” Braun told Bites. “Our objective is to get George Bush out of the White House, and we are all united in our effort to make the case that this administration has America on the wrong track.”

But what about the days ahead? “The best-case scenario is that they bring those troops home,” said Braun, just two days before George W. Bush delivered his ultimatum. “The fact that we haven’t gone to war so far is, I think, largely a function of the voices of ordinary people saying this is not real sensible.”

Guns and money: Moments after being pried away from Gray Davis and a handful of well-connected Democrats backstage at the convention Friday night, John Kerry found himself assuring your intrepid columnist that he “feels terrific about the days to come.” Kerry, who made the “Mr. Right” cover but passed on the peace rally, is positioning himself between fellow candidates John Edwards, who drew boos from the delegates for speaking in favor of going to war, and Howard Dean, the only candidate to vote against it.

Kerry, the Vietnam vet turned Massachusetts senator, has flown out to our state twice in the month since his prostate surgery. His fund- raising events reportedly net between $100,000 and $2 million each, which should set him up nicely for the March 31 reporting deadline. But he insisted he’s too busy campaigning to keep up with all that.

“I don’t count these things. I just go,” Kerry told Bites. “You’d have to talk to the money guys. And money guys tend to get a little over-optimistic, so don’t believe everything you hear.”

Good advice from a man whose pro-war vote was based on the assumption that Bush would exercise diplomacy and respect the vote of the U.N. When Bites asked Kerry what makes him think the Bush clan won’t steal another election, he paused for just a second. “We Democrats need to make certain that the law that we passed on voter reform is in fact implemented,” Kerry told Bites. “I think it’s our vigilance; it’s our need to be awake. That’s the key.”

It’s still a free country: Still reeling from all that optimism at the Democratic convention, we were shocked to discover that Clear Channel had bailed on its plans for a massive “pro-America” rally at the Capitol.

“There is a rally going on, but we’re not involved at all,” said KFBK promotions director Susan Wells, wondering why Bites would think such a thing. Could it have been permit No. 2003-0327, which authorized KFBK’s parent company to hold a March 23 pro-America rally for 3,000 participants complete with signs, cherry picker and bands?

“Well, we talked about doing one,” added Wells, when Bites mentioned the Office of Capitol Protection listing Clear Channel as the sponsor and Wells as the contact. Instead, an organization called The Good Fight is now sponsoring what’s listed as a 100-participant event on the 22nd.

No Remedy: Bites’ extended weekend drew to a close Monday with our current president telling the world it’s a war crime to use weapons of mass destruction or destroy oil wells. Meanwhile, here in California, lumber company climbers were forcibly extracting our March 6 cover subject, Remedy, from her encampment in the ancient redwood she’s been protecting since last March. Her one-year anniversary up there would have been Sunday.