Retired Army Gen. Wesley Clark (search), a former contender for the Democratic nomination, swung through the Hyatt Regency on Monday morning, stopping by breakfasts held by delegates from Mississippi and North Carolina, as well as his home state of Arkansas.

Clark told North Carolina delegates the party must convince voters that John Kerry (search) and John Edwards (search) can offer strong leadership in a time of war.

"We've got to persuade the American people that it's time to change horses in midstream," he said. "We can't stand four more years of George W. Bush."

While Clark has golfed at Pinehurst, he said when he thinks of North Carolina, what he thinks of most of all is the massive Army post at Fort Bragg.

"I can only think of my friends at Fort Bragg (search)," he said. "I love them and honor them and respect them. And our mission here this week is to help them.

"We've got to help them understand that the Democratic Party, with John Kerry and John Edwards at the top, is the right team to lead this country in a time of war."

Clark brought delegates to their feet when he told them they should be as eager as the Republicans to wrap themselves in the American flag.

"That is our flag," he said, pointing to a stars-and-stripes that shared the podium with the North Carolina flag. "We served under it, we fought for it. No Tom DeLay, John Ashcroft, Dick Cheney or George W. Bush is going to take that flag away from us."