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The Morning Grind / Political Hot Topics

Day of reckoning

Sen. John Kerry addresses a crowd of over 1,000 at Reid Park in Tucson, Arizona on Monday.
Sen. John Kerry addresses a crowd of over 1,000 at Reid Park in Tucson, Arizona on Monday.

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• The Candidates: Bush | Kerry
Morning Grind
South Carolina
America Votes 2004

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

• EDWARDS' DAY OF RECKONING: If the native son of South Carolina loses the presidential primary there to John Kerry -- a possibility that his entourage nervously acknowledges is real -- the decision will be simple. Edwards will congratulate Kerry, quickly endorse the Massachusetts senator as the Democratic nominee and head home. But if he beats Kerry in South Carolina, Edwards said he looks forward to challenging him for the top spot -- no matter what the odds against his success.

The Washington Post: For Edwards, it all comes down to South Carolinaexternal link

• IT'S ELECTABILITY, STUPID: At a recent Kerry rally there were many in the crowd who had supported other candidates until very recently. Asked why the change, many will tell you it's all about electability. Although they may not have been with Kerry since the beginning, they are coming out with a striking intensity, determined to recapture the White House and dethrone President Bush, who they believe stole the election four years ago. They strongly believe the only person that can help them do this is John Kerry.

The Washington Post: Kerry's new position brings more interestexternal link

• SCRAMBLING ACROSS SOUTH CAROLINA: The two candidates with the most at stake in today's S.C. Democratic presidential primary stormed across the state Monday in search of voters as the race for the Palmetto State's 45 delegates wound down.

The State: Edwards, Sharpton scramble for S.C. votesexternal link

• KNOWING WHEN TO SAY WHEN: When is the moment when candidates must ask themselves whether dwindling resources and repeated defeats leave any hope alive? With presidential campaigns becoming more front-loaded in recent decades, when early primary victories can all but assure the nomination, this moment of truth is arriving earlier and earlier.

The New York Times: When the long haul is no longer an optionexternal link

• DIVERSE ELECTORATE: Today's far-flung balloting marks a qualitative shift in the Democratic race, moving the contest away from the close-quarters campaigning of Iowa and New Hampshire - two small, predominantly white states - into something more approaching a national contest.

The Los Angeles Times: Diverse states may reshape the Democratic race todayexternal link

• MISSOURI'S BELLWETHER: For the presidential candidates competing in today's Missouri presidential primary, the attraction isn't just the delegates.

The St. Louis Post Dispatch: State's bellwether reputation draws campaigns to Missouriexternal link

• ONE LAST PUSH IN ARIZONA: In front of a crowd that was more than half Latino, five Democratic presidential contenders took turns on election eve making their final pitches to a Phoenix throng of up to 1,200 enthusiasts reflecting the state's broad diversity in both ethnicity and partisan viewpoint.

The Arizona Republic: Dems seek diverse voters at forumexternal link

• EDWARDS AND KERRY EXCHANGE JABS: John Edwards broke his self-imposed vow of political civility on Monday, criticizing John Kerry for supporting trade treaties that are highly unpopular in some states and for accepting contributions from lobbyists. Kerry fired back by suggesting that Edwards could not beat President Bush and didn't have the experience to lead the nation.

The New York Times: For Kerry and Edwards, sharp exchanges reflect a crucial day of votingexternal link

• LOOKING TO STEM KERRY TIDE: Striving to keep their presidential hopes alive, the opponents of Sen. John Kerry are relying more heavily than ever on the core advantages that have powered their campaigns so far, hoping to perform well enough in today's seven elections to make it to larger states a month from now.

The Boston Globe: Foes seek to stem Kerry tideexternal link

• WHAT TO EAT? Traveling on the campaign trail has taken its toll on the presidential candidates. See what the possible leader of the free world survives on.

The Associated Press: Candidates adopt unhealthy diet for roadexternal link

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