Stealth Candidacy

By Manuel Roig-Franzia
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, October 27, 2008



They're "probably" in the room, she says ominously.

Listening. Conspiring. Taking it all down.

Cynthia McKinney thinks we're being watched, and she says so, leaning into the mike. The crowd of several hundred in this Atlanta public library auditorium -- graying Black Panthers gathered for a reunion, a pamphleteering Revolutionary Communist Party guy, Pan-African liberationists -- mostly nods in agreement.

Someone in the back of the room calls out, "Teach!"

McKinney -- almost three years removed from her smackdown with a Capitol Hill policeman, out of Congress, out of the Democratic Party -- has been in a teaching mood as she wages a kind of un-campaign for president on the Green Party ticket.

As she says in an interview at a secluded table in the library: "We define what victory is," explaining that the campaign is not so much about getting votes but "finding kindred spirits," something more than the simplistic media folks look for. "This is far bigger."

Bottom line, though, why run?

"Why not?" she says. "It was former comptroller general David Walker who said, 'Now is the time for leadership, not lag-ship.' "

What's that mean?

"I'll let you figure that out," she says.

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