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The Morning Grind / Political Hot Topics

Bush campaign focusing on Kerry fiscal policy


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The White House approach to the campaign takes a turn today toward economic issues.

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

CHANGING FOCUS: President Bush's campaign plans to pivot today from John Kerry's national security record to an effort to portray the presumptive Democratic nominee as a reckless spender whose promises would far exceed his capacity to pay for them. The effort will include events throughout the country calling attention to Kerry's 10-year-old statement supporting a 50-cent-per-gallon gasoline tax increase, which the campaign believes will send a vivid pocketbook message to voters.

The Washington Post: Bush camp to spotlight Kerry's fiscal policyexternal link

THE OTHER GEORGE: Financier George Soros, whose condemnations of Bush are as lavish as his bankroll, could bridge a critical fund-raising gap between the GOP and the Democrats. To Republicans, Soros is a meddler and a megalomaniac who imagines his wealth gives him the right to tinker with politics from Albania to Washington. They are eagerly awaiting new regulations from the Federal Election Commission that might stop Soros from funding certain anti-Bush groups.

The Boston Globe: Soros presses anti-Bush effortexternal link

SHOWING HIM THE MONEY: A surge in Internet fund-raising arrived just in time for John F. Kerry this month. The presumptive Democratic presidential nominee started March with $2.4 million in the bank to counter the record $110 million campaign treasury amassed by President Bush, according to the monthly campaign finance report Kerry filed Saturday with the Federal Election Commission. Kerry's financial outlook improved quickly after he nearly swept the Super Tuesday primaries March 2. He has collected at least $14 million online since then, and is challenging donors to give another $5 million to $6 million this week.

The Boston Globe: Bush's coffers dwarf Kerry'sexternal link

UNEXPECTED HELP: Sen. Charles Hagel on Sunday became the second Republican senator to break ranks with the Bush-Cheney campaign's characterization of John Kerry, the presumptive Democratic nominee, as soft on defense issues. Hagel joined fellow Vietnam veteran Sen. John McCain in criticizing ads sponsored by the Bush campaign that call Kerry, a senator from Massachusetts who also is a Vietnam veteran, "weak on defense."

The Los Angeles Times: Kerry gets some help from GOP senatorexternal link

CALL FOR CALM: A pair of former presidential candidates from the major political parties appealed for more civil debate in the campaign yesterday and warned that Americans will sit out the election if the current tone continues. The unusual bipartisan appeal was made by Senator John McCain and Senator Joseph I. Lieberman, at the close of a week of intensified political barbs between President Bush and the presumptive Democratic nominee, Senator John F. Kerry of Massachusetts.

The Boston Globe: McCain, Lieberman urge civilityexternal link

READING IN: Adding to his vacation reading list of historical biographies and award-winning fiction, John Kerry asked to see sections of a new book by a former White House counterterrorism chief that accuses the Bush administration of trying to falsely link Iraq to the September 11 terrorist attacks, the senator said yesterday.

The Boston Globe: Kerry requests book on Iraq by ex-Bush officialexternal link

GOING FAST: Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee John F. Kerry spent nearly as much as he raised last month and had little campaign cash left as March began, according to a monthly campaign finance report to the Federal Election Commission.

The Associated Press: Kerry reports money going fastexternal link

FABRICATION ACCUSATION: Republican campaigners, continuing to highlight John Kerry's statements that he had been endorsed by "foreign leaders," assert that this is part of a pattern of fabrications and exaggerations going back to his Massachusetts campaigns. For his part, Kerry has accused President Bush of misleading the United States into war in Iraq and being duplicitous on other issues, such as the cost of the Medicare prescription-drug legislation.

The Washington Times: GOP sees pattern of fabrication by Kerryexternal link

BIG SPENDER?: President Bush's re-election campaign on Sunday pressed its case that John Kerry would either raise taxes more substantially than he has acknowledged or deepen the budget deficit. Mr. Bush's campaign manager, Ken Mehlman, released an analysis that he said showed a $1 trillion gap over the next decade between spending increases Kerry has called for during the campaign and the tax increases he has already supported.

The New York Times: Bush aide sees $1 trillion gap in Kerry's plansexternal link

Compiled by Heather Riley


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