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Dennis Kucinich, Bill Richardson & UFOs: The 'other' Alien Question in the 2008 Presidential Election

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In her latest book, Sage-Ing While Age-Ing, Shirley MacLaine recollects an evening with Dennis Kucinich at her home in Graham Washington where she described him having a UFO sighting. She writes: “"Dennis found his encounter extremely moving. The smell of roses drew him out to my balcony where, when he looked up, he saw a gigantic triangular craft, silent, and observing him. It hovered, soundless, for 10 minutes or so, and sped away with a speed he couldn't comprehend. He said he felt a connection in his heart and heard directions in his mind." Predictably, there was much media interest in MacLaine's comments regarding Kucinich’s UFO sighting. An October 23 article in the Cleveland based, Plain Dealer, describes how repeated calls to Kucinich’s office for confirmation of MacLaine’s recollection went unanswered.

So it was not surprising that in the Democratic Presidential debate on October 30, Kucinich was asked by the moderator, Tim Russert, about his sighting. Russert first recounted MacLaine’s version of what Kucinich experienced and then asked whether he had seen a UFO. Kucinich's clear affirmation to Russert’s question confirmed her account. It suggested that the sighting was a deeply moving and 'directive' experience for him. Kucinich did not elaborate on the heartfelt connection with the UFO or the mental directions he received. His comments about moving his campaign office to Roswell, and comparing poll numbers of UFO believers with Bush's popularity rating was an awkward attempt to defuse an issue he wanted to evade for obvious political reasons. MacLaine's recollection, however, suggests that Kucinich privately thinks very seriously about the UFO issue, given its 'hearts and minds' effect on him.

Back in September after a conference discussing UFO’s in the Washington D.C. metro area, Kucinich staffer Natalie Laber, was asked by Washington Post reporter, Dana Milbank, about Kucinich's knowledge of UFOs. She told him to "keep your silly comments to yourself." In his subsequent story, Milbank referred to efforts to ‘out’ Kucinich about his UFO beliefs. So MacLaine has effectively ‘outed’ Kucinich on the UFO issue, an issue that poses considerable political challenges for him.

Another democratic presidential candidate was asked about the UFO question in a post-debate interview on MSNBC. Chris Matthews asked Bill Richardson whether he believed in the existence of UFOs. Richardson said he hadn't seen one and that “there is no credible evidence” for them. However, he went on to claim that the “Federal Government has not come clean at all on that issue and it should.” An incredulous Russert asked Richardson, “Did you say the United States government is covering up a history of the UFO sighting in your state?” Richardson replied: “they [the government] don’t produce documents, Chris. They should just get it all out, and there’s a known history about this.”

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In an earlier town hall meeting in Round Rock Texas, Richardson was asked whether he would pledge to release files on the Roswell UFO crash. He responded, “"I remember I had my constituents ask me. I was the congressman and I said, 'Well, Department of Defense, Los Alamos labs, what is this? What is the data you have?'" Richardson said the official reply was: "Oh, it's classified." He said: "That ticked me off." So a series of jocular questions by Tim Russert and Chris Matthews to democratic candidates on UFO’s has brought out into the Presidential election the issue of the government not disclosing all it knows about UFOs.

The 2002 Roper Poll showed approximately 70% of the American public believe the “Government does not tell everything it knows about UFOs and extraterrestrial life.” The most famous UFO incident was one that Richardson referred to at the Round Rock meeting, and involved the Government withholding documents. This was the famous Roswell incident which gained world wide attention after a July 8, 1947 press release issued by the Roswell Army Air Field that a flying saucer had crashed. The story quickly died down after more senior Army officials said that the crash debris was in fact a weather balloon. Public interest was renewed in 1978 after the senior military intelligence officer involved in investigating the incident, Major Jesse Marcel, claimed that the crash involved a flying saucer after all. More recently, a posthumously released affidavit by Walter Haut, the Public Information Officer at Roswell responsible for releasing the initial Flying Saucer report, declared that the crash involved extraterrestrial life forms and an advanced egg shaped vehicle. He claims he actually sighted the vehicle and bodies, and that the Pentagon ordered a cover up by issuing conflicting press releases.

The UFO question poses considerable difficulties for any Presidential candidate desiring mainstream support, as evidenced by Kucinich’s and Richardson’s jocular yet awkward responses to questions. There is nevertheless much evidence that the government knows much more than it's telling the public. Bill Richardson is now on the record that the US government is withholding important documents that will settle once and for all what actually happened in the Roswell incident. Dennis Kucinich is also on the record for having seen a UFO and will in future have to elaborate further on his experience and what it would mean if he won the Presidency. Meanwhile Shirley MacLaine, an avid believer in extraterrestrial life, has demonstrated a remarkable propensity for Sage-Ing While Age-Ing.

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Dr. Michael Salla is an internationally recognized scholar in international politics, conflict resolution, US foreign policy and the new field of 'exopolitics'. He is author/editor of nine books; and held academic appointments in the School of (more...)

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