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Inside Politics

Kerry to kick off 4-day economic tour

From Kelly Wallace and Justin Dial

John Kerry leaves with wife Teresa Heinz Kerry after the Democrats' debate Sunday night at Marquette University.
John Kerry leaves with wife Teresa Heinz Kerry after the Democrats' debate Sunday night at Marquette University.

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CNN's Kelly Wallace on the Democrats' debate in Wisconsin.
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As Sen. John Kerry maintains his offensive, the Bush team begins striking back.
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John F. Kerry
America Votes 2004
Democratic candidates

MILWAUKEE, Wisconsin (CNN) -- One day after debating his fellow candidates, Democratic front-runner John Kerry will target President Bush during a four-day tour, focusing "on the need to retool America's economy," a senior Kerry adviser told CNN.

Kerry will host a town hall meeting Monday in Wausau, Wisconsin, while Florida Sen. Bob Graham, a former Democratic presidential candidate, will host a conference call with reporters to "counter" President Bush's visit to the Sunshine State, Kerry aides said.

Tuesday, Kerry will team up with Missouri Rep. Dick Gephardt in Milwaukee and formally receive the endorsement from the Alliance for Economic Justice, a coalition of 18 unions that had originally backed Gephardt in his jettisoned presidential bid.

Wednesday, Kerry travels to what will be a key battleground state in the general election, Ohio, which has lost 132,000 manufacturing jobs since the president took office, the Kerry adviser said.

Thursday, Kerry will rally with workers in Washington, D.C., after receiving the formal endorsement of the AFL-CIO, the nation's largest union, the adviser said.

Following Sunday's debate, Kerry headed to an Irish pub to thank supporters, with his wife Teresa Heinz Kerry telling the crowd the campaign was "getting interesting."

"A little less intimate in terms of having good discussions with people the way we did in Iowa and New Hampshire, but I guess that's the way it is ... I guess we do what we have to do," she said.

Kerry urged the crowd to get out the vote, saying, "I have never ever trusted the polls. I don't care what the polls say. There's only one way to make certain of an outcome in an election. It's get your voters out there."

Aides were pleased with Kerry's performance in Sunday's debate, saying he scores the "highest points" for "looking presidential."

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