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Inside Politics

Kerry, Edwards stump in key Super Tuesday states

More than 1,100 delegates at stake in 10 contests

John Edwards talks with reporters after a rally Monday at the University of Toledo.
John Edwards talks with reporters after a rally Monday at the University of Toledo.

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In like a lion ... Marching to 'Super Tuesday' 
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CNN's Candy Crowley on Sen. John Kerry's continuing focus on the fall election.
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CNN's Carlos Watson on the pressure John Edwards may face to withdraw.
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CNN's Deanna Morawski on the run-up to "Super Tuesday."
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CNN's Bruce Morton on John Kerry's record.
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Total delegates at stake: 1,151 of 2,162 needed to win the Democratic presidential nomination 

How many states have primary events: 10

States involved: Primaries are held in California, Connecticut, Georgia, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, Ohio, Rhode Island, Vermont; a caucus is held in Minnesota

Earliest poll closing: 7 p.m. ET -- Georgia, Vermont 

Latest poll closing: 11 p.m. ET -- California 

Compiled by Robert Yoon and Mark Rodeffer
Presidential primaries
Democratic candidates
America Votes 2004

TOLEDO, Ohio (CNN) -- In the final day before Tuesday's critical nominating contests in 10 states, the front-runner for the Democratic presidential nomination and his chief rival focused on two states in which the race could be closest -- Ohio and Georgia.

Sen. John Kerry, with 19 victories out of 21 contests behind him, scheduled rallies in Columbus, Ohio, and Atlanta, Georgia. Sen. John Edwards -- who has carried only his native South Carolina -- planned to blitz Ohio with stops in three cities, followed by a rally in Macon, Georgia.

In all the Super Tuesday states where recent polls have been taken, Kerry was found to be in the lead -- in many cases by large margins. At stake Tuesday: 1,151 delegates, more than any other day of the primary election season. To get the nomination, a candidate needs 2,162 delegates. Kerry has 754; Edwards has 220.

Before taking off Monday for Ohio, Kerry spoke to hundreds of supporters at Morgan State University in Baltimore, Maryland. He promised members of the crowd he would unseat President Bush in November "if you'll trust me" with the nomination.

The 2004 race, Kerry said, will be "the most important election of our generation, and we're going to put a choice to America."

"If George Bush ... wants to defend giving tax cuts to people earning more than $200,000 a year, Mr. President, you go ahead and do that. 'Cause I'll tell you what I'm going to do," Kerry said. "I'm going to ask America to say we should roll back that tax cut and we should invest in education, health care, and we should do the things we need to do for our cities and our country."

The senator from Massachusetts also railed against Bush's foreign policy.

"This president has in fact created terrorists where they didn't exist," he said. "And I believe this president has run the most arrogant, inept, reckless and ideological foreign policy in the modern history of our country. And we need to hold him accountable."

Kerry, who made no reference to Edwards in his remarks, said he would win back friends and allies overseas as president.

Contentious debate

Edwards, a first-term senator from North Carolina, has spent a good deal of time in recent days in Ohio, a state that has lost manufacturing jobs. He is seeking voters with his message that new trade policies are needed -- a key issue that has helped energize his campaign.

At stops in Ohio, he reiterated his stance on trade and job growth -- without any mention of Kerry.

"It's clear this president understands what free trade is," he said at a rally in Dayton, Ohio, "but I think we're going to have to teach him what fair trade is."

The crowd was soon chanting "outsource Bush, outsource Bush."

The "outsource" line was an apparent reference to a recent comment by a top economic adviser to Bush who had seemed to suggest that the movement of U.S. jobs overseas could benefit the economy in the long run. N. Gregory Mankiw, chairman of the president's Council of Economic Advisers, later said his comments were misunderstood.

Edwards and Kerry have maintained a cordial relationship on the campaign trail, but that civility was strained somewhat during a contentious debate Sunday in which Edwards stepped up his attacks on Kerry over trade. Kerry insisted there was no difference between their policies on trade.

Edwards disputed suggestions that his campaign had adopted a negative tone.

"My message has been one of optimism, hope and progress all along," Edwards told reporters after the rally Monday in Dayton. "I have always said that I would draw substantive policy differences between myself and other candidates."

But Kerry campaign adviser Mike Donlon said the debate showed that Edwards was no longer running a positive campaign.

"We think that's an unfortunate decision for Senator Edwards," Donlon said. "We also think it's a bad decision for the party, because we really need to stay together in order to beat George Bush."

The biggest prizes Tuesday are in the California and New York primaries, with 370 and 236 delegates at stake, respectively. Primaries also will be held in Georgia, Vermont, Rhode Island, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Ohio and Maryland. Minnesota will hold caucuses.

Edwards is not on the ballot in Vermont, the result of a decision his campaign made earlier when former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean was the front-runner in national polls.

Edwards has said he will stay in the race even if he does not win a single state Tuesday.

But he acknowledged, when pressed Monday, "Of course, at some point I've got to start getting more delegates, or I am not going to be the nominee. But I intend to be in this until the end."

Edwards rejected suggestions that it would be best for Democrats to have one candidate for voters to coalesce around.

"I think the opposite," he said. "There's obviously a serious, substantive discussion going on among Democrats, which is what we've seen happening over the last few weeks between Senator Kerry and myself. We get a lot of attention from the American people, and it's harder for George Bush to get his message [out]."

The Bush-Cheney re-election campaign plans to launch its first TV advertising Thursday.

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