In a move that is certain to harden the battle lines among Democrats surrounding the Iraq war, a veteran union organizer will announce Tuesday that he is campaigning to unseat Sen. Hillary Clinton of New York.
The longshot candidate, Jonathan Tasini, has received the backing of anti-war mother Cindy Sheehan, who made national headlines this summer for her protest outside President Bush's Crawford, TX ranch.
Tasini's position on the war is clear: He supports immediate withdrawal of troops from Iraq.
"I do not believe the U.S. should embark on wars of choice," he writes on the 'issues' page of his campaign website. "As Senator Robert Byrd, the dean of the U.S. Senate said when he tried to stop the rush to war, the U.S. should not embrace a culture of pre-emptive war."
Citing the war's cost, he says, "$200 billion could have covered every person without health insurance in America. We could have hired 3.5 million elementary school teachers or built 24,000 new schools."
His message plays off a common theme shared by Sen. Clinton -- that Democrats must take a strong stance on national security. Where Sen. Clinton supports increasing the size of the military, Tasini sees a war that has nursed new threats.
"The war, supported by my opponent," he says, "has made this country less safe."
Clinton has of late sought to moderate her image and has engendered respect among much of Washington for staying out of the limelight, keeping her own positions close to her chest and capitalizing on the nostalgia among much of the party for her husband's presidency.
Tasini, the lead plantiff in a landmark case that granted freelance writers greater copyright over their work, is expected to make his announcement in New York City Tuesday.