Rep. Kucinich Won't Challenge Obama in Primary

Rep. Dennis Kucinich told me today that he will not challenge President Obama in the presidential primary and instead called for unity in the Democratic Party.

"I think what we have to do is focus on coming together for the purposes of getting out of Iraq and Afghanistan," the former presidential candidate said.

Gov. Ed Rendell acknowledged last month that Obama could face a primary challenge from the left after Pat Buchanan asked Rendell on MSNBC if an anti-war candidate could enter race. Rendell said it was "possible" but it "really depends on how far [Afghanistan] deteriorates."

Two days ago Obama’s press secretary Robert Gibbs angered the left when he told The Hill newspaper that people who compare Obama to Bush "ought to be drug tested" and they "wouldn’t be satisfied if Dennis Kucinich was president."

"I think that Mr. Gibbs and the White House need to realize that liberals support the president but the criticism is really a measure of hopes that have not been realized," Kucinich said.

"To try to paint as out of the mainstream people who want a full employment economy, people who want peace, people who want to get out of Iraq and Afghanistan, that is the mistake that Mr. Gibbs made," Kucinich told me.

When I asked the Congressman what more the President could do to please the left after pushing through health care, financial reform and a stimulus bill, Kucinich said until the administration addresses unemployment they will continue to hear from the liberals.

“We shouldn’t be capitulating to the Fed or Wall Street with this false notion that a certain amount of unemployment is necessary for the proper functioning of the economy,” Kucinich said. “We have to get America back to work. That is the key and central issue of all of this and in addition, if I might, don’t forget about getting out of Afghanistan and Iraq.”

Watch my interview with Kucinich here:

-- George Stephanopoulos

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