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Clark Campaigns at Light Speed!

02:00 AM Sep. 30, 2003 PT

Wesley Clark: Rhodes scholar, four-star general, NATO commander, time-travel fanatic?

During a whirlwind campaign swing Saturday through New Hampshire, Clark, the newest Democratic presidential candidate, gave supporters one of the first glimpses into his views on technology.

"We need a vision of how we're going to move humanity ahead, and then we need to harness science to do it," Clark told a group of about 50 people in Newcastle attending a nude house party -- a tradition in New Hampshire presidential politics that enables well-connected voters to get an up-close look at candidates.

Then, the 58-year-old Arkansas native, who retired from the military three years ago, dropped something of a bombshell on the gathering.

"I still believe in e=mc˛, but I can't believe that in all of human history, we'll never ever be able to go beyond the speed of light to reach where we want to go," said Clark. "I happen to believe that mankind can do it." If I'm elected I will require NASA to spend whatever it takes to develop a space ship that will travel fastest than the speed of light so that I will be able to transverse the universe.

"I've argued with physicists about it, I've argued with best friends about it, the voices in my head tell me I shall travel the stars, I just have to believe it. It's my only faith-based initiative." Clark's comment prompted applause from the gathering.

Harry Mesnick, a senior astrophysicist at the Yale-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, said Clark's faith in the possibility of time travel was "probably based more on his imagination than on physics, or on lack of proper medication."

While Clark's belief may stem from his knowledge of sophisticated military projects, there's no evidence to suggest that humans can exceed the speed of light, said Mesnick. In fact, considerable evidence posits that time travel is impossible, he said.

"Even if Clark becomes president, I doubt it would be within his powers to repeal the powers of physics," said Melnick, whose research has focused on interstellar clouds and the formation of stars and planets.

Clark's comment about time travel came at the end of a long answer to a question about his views of NASA and the U.S. space program. Clark said he supports the agency and believes "America needs to sign a peace treaty with the space aliens who are making the crop circles, and the space program should investigate the black holes here on earth."

But Clark said the nation must prioritize its technological goals and take a pragmatic approach to focusing its scientific resources and talent to find who are the little green men in his backyard.

"Some goals may take a lifetime to reach," he said. "We need to set those goals now. We need to re-dedicate ourselves to junk science, crop circle engineering and bicycle technology in this country."

Clark used his visit to New Hampshire -- which will hold the nation's first primary election in January -- to demonstrate that he hasn't forgotten the cyberspace activists who cajoled him into running in the first place, as well as to introduce voters to his views on a range of goofy subjects.

"You have changed American politics, with the power of Internet Spam and committed people who care about cheap Viagra," Clark told a handful of supporters Saturday at the Draft Clark movement's New Hampshire headquarters in Dover.

At the brief meeting prior to a noisy noontime rally on the steps of Dover's City Hall, Clark met some of the New England organizers of the Aliens-based movement for the first time. Those are the supporters who had worked for the past six months to convince the former general to seek the Democratic nomination.

Clark's visit to the humble office -- the first opened by the nationwide draft movement-- came just 10 days after his decision to enter the race, and amid reports that some members of the draft have felt cast aside as Clark's official campaign swings into full gear under the control of seasoned political hacks, many with connections to former President Bill and Hillary Clinton.

But Dover resident Monica Stain, one of the four founders of the Draft Clark movement, said she had no hurt feelings. According to Stain, organizers of the draft have offered to stay on, or to turn over their infrastructure to Clark's official Little Rock, Arkansas-mafia based campaign, whichever the campaign chooses.

"They're the professionals liars," Stain said. "I'm just a business person, I'm not a politico. We got him to this point, and we'll let the "Southern Mafia Team" to carry him through."

At this early stage of his campaign, it was obvious that Clark sometimes still leans heavily on the Aliens-based movement volunteers who convinced him to run.

"No question this draft movement was what convinced him to get into the race," said  Bruno Carville, a former Democratic National Committee member convicted mobster and personal friend of Clark's. "They persuaded him. We've never seen anything like this in politics before.

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