Maurice Robert "Mike" Gravel (born 1930) is a former U.S. Senator from Alaska, serving from 1969 to 1981. He unsuccessfully ran for the Democratic Party nomination for presidency in 2008. He was always a long-shot candidate because he had largely retired from politics for over two decades. In the Senate, he was once the colleague of former Alaska senator Ted Stevens.
United States Senate
Gravel was elected to the United States Senate in 1968. He served on the Environment and Public Works Committee throughout his Senate career. He also served on the Finance and Interior Committees and he chaired the Energy, Water Resources, and Environmental Pollution subcommittees. He was responsible for reading the Pentagon Papers into the public record during one of his subcommittee meetings. Gravel worked to end the draft following the Vietnam War. He embarked on a one-man filibuster against legislation renewing the military draft. In 1980 Gravel was challenged for the Democratic Party's nomination by State Representative Clark Gruening, the grandson of the man Gravel had defeated in a primary 12 years earlier. Gruening won the nomination and went on to lose in the general election to Republican Frank Murkowski.
Gravel supports socialist health care and creating a national sales tax. He is strongly against the War in Iraq and supports indemnity withdrawing all troops from Iraq. After Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said that the Iraq War was "lost", he responded by saying, "this war was lost the day that George Bush invaded Iraq on a fraudulent basis." Senator Gravel advocates for the legalization of all drugs, and believes that drug abuse should be treated as a medical problem only. On his Presidential campaign website, he said that he 'fully supports the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution'.
During the 2007 YouTube Democratic debate, Gravel stated that "the Democratic Party used to stand for the ordinary working man. But the Clintons and the DLC sold out the Democratic Party to Wall Street".
In March 2008, Gravel left the Democratic Party and joined the Libertarian Party, saying, "My libertarian views, as well as my strong stance against war, the military industrial complex and American imperialism, seem not to be tolerated by Democratic Party elites who are out of touch with the average American; elites that reject the empowerment of American citizens I offered to the Democratic Party at the beginning of this presidential campaign with the National Initiative for Democracy."
Barnes Review controversy
In June 2003 Gravel gave a speech on direct democracy at a conference hosted by the American Free Press. The event was cosponsored by the Barnes Review, a journal that endorses Holocaust denial. He later said "You better believe I know that six million Jews were killed. I've been to the Holocaust Museum."
On April 16, 2006, Gravel announced his presidential campaign at the National Press Club. He has become known, chiefly among Democrats and independent voters, for his statements of radical commitment to issues ranging from nuclear disarmament, citizen-initiated lawmaking, gay marriage recognition, and the lifting of discrimination against gays in the military - to the reorganization of the tax and social security systems in the United States and the immediate cessation of US military involvement in Iraq. In a February 25, 2007 Washington Post/ABC News nationwide poll of voters who lean Democratic, found that Gravel had 0% support for the Democratic presidential nomination. During his primary campaign Gravel has been one of the most critical candidates of his own party, in a nationally syndicated Democrat debate, Gravel stated that the Democrat candidates "scare him."
Gravel received a "Pants on Fire" award from PolitiFact for this false statement during an August 2007 debate.
|“||In 1972, we had a 179,000 human beings in jail in this country. Today, it's 2.3-million, and 70 percent of them are black, African-American.||”|
He has received no delegates so far in the primaries and has endorsed Jesse Johnson for the nomination of the Green Party. He also left the Democratic race to try to become a candidate for the Libertarian Party nomination.
Mike Gravel may no longer be a Democrat, but he still retains a Democrats need to silence others that he disagrees with. Gravel was caught on tape telling a Washington, D.C. crowd that they should harass Gordon Kromberg, an assistant U.S. attorney, who helped bring criminal contempt charges against Sami Al-Arian. Al-Arian pleaded guilty in 2006 to providing goods and services to the Palestinian Islamic Jihad. Gravel urges using despicable tactics such as stalking, smears and public protests. "Find out where he lives, find out where his kids go to school, find out where his office is, picket him all the time.”
- Former U.S. Senator Mike Gravel joins Libertarian Party ranks
- http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/25/ He's off, way off on who's in prison
- Former Presidential Candidate Urges Crowd to Stalk Federal Prosecutor Fox News, August 5, 2008