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The Morning Grind / Political Hot Topics

Competing Homeland Plans

Population shifts in recent years will give Bush a key advantage in next year's election.
Population shifts in recent years will give Bush a key advantage in next year's election.

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WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Check out the links below to hot political stories around the country this morning.

• RED STATES RISING: Beyond issues like Iraq and the economy is one political reality that both the White House and Democrats say is already shaping next year's presidential race: If President Bush carries the same states in 2004 that he won in 2000, he will win seven more electoral votes. That change, a result of a population shift to Republican-friendly states in the South and West in the last several years, means the Republicans have a slight margin of error in 2004 while the Democrats will have to scramble just to pull even.

New York Times: Shifts in states may give Bush electoral edgeexternal link

• HOMELAND PLANS: Campaigning Monday in eastern Iowa, Dick Gephardt proposed spending $100 billion over the next five years on homeland security assistance for state and local governments. In remarks prepared for an appearance at Iowa State University on Monday night, John Kerry said he would show more respect for civil liberties than President Bush and Attorney General John Ashcroft while taking effective anti-terrorism measures.

Des Moines Register: Gephardt, Kerry outline plans on security, criticize Bushexternal link

• LIEBERMAN'S CRITICISM: Joe Lieberman criticized rival Howard Dean's decision to seal most records from his tenure as Vermont governor, saying the move contradicted Dean's frequent claims to be the most forthright of the Democratic presidential contenders.

Boston Globe: Lieberman blasts Dean on recordsexternal link

• MATCHING MONEY: Lieberman and Wesley Clark will get an important infusion of cash heading into the first round of primaries next month, expecting about $3.6 million or more in their first payments from the presidential public financing system. Clark expects more than $3.7 million when the first monthly matching fund checks go out Jan. 2, while Lieberman anticipates about $3.6 million. Among other hopefuls accepting public financing John Edwards expects about $3.4 million in his January payment; Dick Gephardt, $3.1 million to $3.2 million; Lyndon LaRouche, $840,000; and Al Sharpton, $100,000.

AP: Presidential hopefuls face public financing deadlineexternal link

• DEAN'S BRAIN TRUST: As inner circles go, Dean's is not only small, it is relatively new -- the principal figures behind his presidential bid have been working together for less than a year. What is remarkable is who is out as much as who is in: Absent are many seasoned Washington veterans, close friends or even his wife, Judith Steinberg Dean, who has played virtually no role in his campaign.

Washington Post: Tiny but trusted inner circle surrounds Deanexternal link

• Dean is widely regarded as a champion of gay rights is hesitant to extend his demand for equality to the institution of marriage. Dean, in his most extensive comments since the Massachusetts' court ruling, outlined a position on gay marriage that is complicated by jurisdiction, constitutional rights and nuance. He opposes a constitutional ban on gay marriage. He supports full equality on matters including filing joint tax returns, Social Security benefits, immigration and hospital visits. But he does not give a simple answer on whether he supports, or opposes, gay marriage.

San Francisco Chronicle: Dean supports gay unions but wavers on saying 'I do'external link

• LIEBERMAN COUNTRY: At a South Florida synagogue yesterday, Clark stepped into Lieberman country, drawing hundreds to hear him talk about his Jewish roots and his support for Israel.

Miami Herald: Clark stumps for Jewish votesexternal link

• NADER EXPLORING: A new Nader for President Web site was registered October 24 by the folks at (his official 2000 campaign site). It went online this week in a very nascent form. The site also carries a disclaimer stating it was paid for by the "Nader 2004 Presidential Exploratory Committee, Inc." of Washington, D.C. The committee is so new that it is not yet registered with the FEC. However, the committee does not need to register until it raises or spends at least $5,000. He's baaackexternal link

• VICTORY FOR DEMS: The Colorado Supreme Court handed Democrats a major political victory with potential national overtones Monday by striking down a Republican-drawn congressional map. GOP lawmakers violated the state constitution in May when they replaced a map approved last year by the courts with one of their own, the state's highest court ruled in a 5-2 decision.

Rocky Mountain News: Dems are big winners on mapexternal link

• BOWING OUT: Rep. Cass Ballenger, R-N.C., facing a GOP primary challenge in 2004, intends to retire at the end of his term rather than seek re-election to Congress, Republican sources said Monday. The sources said they expected an announcement as early as today, when the nine-term lawmaker scheduled an appearance on a radio station in Hickory.

AP: Sources say Ballenger won't runexternal link

• SENATE ANNOUNCEMENTS: Former U.S. Treasurer Rosario Marin is expected to announce Tuesday that she is entering the U.S. Senate race to run against incumbent Democrat Barbara Boxer. Marin will hold a press conference Tuesday morning at City Hall in Huntington Park, where she formerly served as mayor, to announce her candidacy.

AP: Ex-U.S. Treasurer Marin announces U.S. Senate candidacyexternal link

• A former Georgia bookstore owner known for filing ethics complaints against state officials has announced his intentions to run as a Libertarian for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Democrat Zell Miller. George Anderson, 50, said he joined the Libertarian Party a month ago and will seek the party's nomination at its February 28 convention.

Atlanta Journal-Constitution: Ethics watchdog Anderson announces U.S. Senate bidexternal link

Compiled by Mark H. Rodeffer

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