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The Morning Grind / Political Hot Topics

Kerry's message turns to war

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Stay with CNN for ongoing updates from the campaign trail and analysis of reactions to the 9/11 panel testimony of national security adviser Condoleezza Rice.
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CNN's Jeff Greenfield reviews highlights of the testimony.

CNN's Joe Johns on senators' reactions to Rice.

Democratic commissioner Timothy Roemer tells CNN's Anderson Cooper that Rice left questions unanswered.
Carlos Watson:  A look at the testimony

• Transcript:  Rice testimony
• Clarke vs. Rice:  Testimony
• Gallery: Key 9/11 testimony
• Gallery: Commission members
• The Candidates: Bush | Kerry
Morning Grind

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

  • BACK TO WISCONSIN: In his first visit to Wisconsin since he emerged victorious in its February Democratic primary, John Kerry on Thursday took a somber tone eulogizing Wisconsin's recent war dead even as he assailed the Bush administration's failure to secure broad international cooperation for the ongoing war in Iraq. But the event was meant to highlight a program that he contends will create 10 million new jobs.
  • The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: In talk, Kerry promises jobs, eulogizes war deadexternal link

  • MESSAGE MEDDLING: Kerry set out every day this week to talk about a peacetime economy and ended up discussing war. He was nudged in the new direction by a week's barrage of bad news -- of heavy gunfire between U.S. troops and Iraqi gunmen, of mounting casualties and strengthening anti-American forces.
  • The Los Angeles Times: War is diverting Kerry's attacks on fiscal frontexternal link

  • PITTSBURGH PLANS: A Pittsburgh appearance by President Bush will culminate a weekend of high-profile political visits to the city beginning next Friday. While the White House won't confirm the president's plans, local Republicans have been notified to expect him at an April 19 Senate fund-raiser. The president's appearance will come three days after Kerry comes to town to raise money and greet supporters.
  • The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: Bush, Kerry, Cheney all heading this wayexternal link

  • SHRUM WARS: Details of media consultant Jim Margolis' departure from the Kerry campaign offer a glimpse into the machinery and growing pains of a presidential campaign as it switches from a primary to a general-election footing. It is then that the risks and rewards grow exponentially, along with the potential financial return to consultants. But the details also underscore the growing influence of Kerry's senior strategist Bob Shrum.
  • The New York Times: Two central figures on the Kerry media team go toe to toeexternal link

  • JOB KILLER: Kerry's plan to force higher fuel standards on the auto industry is radical environmentalism that would kill thousands of Michigan jobs, the Bush campaign said Thursday. The Bush campaign said the same thing about Vice President Al Gore when he was the Democratic presidential candidate in 2000 but to little effect; Gore won Michigan handily.
  • The Detroit Free Press: Bush campaign: Kerry would kill auto jobsexternal link

  • CASH AND KERRY: Dining on matzos, macaroons and chicken, 1,362 people in attendance at a Kerry fund-raiser in Chicago, along with others, contributed $2 million to his campaign. So far this year the Kerry campaign has raised $50 million, with $26.7 million of that coming via the Internet. Kerry is in the midst of a 20-city fund-raising tour to stock up on cash in advance of the fall campaign.
  • The Chicago Tribune: Illinois Democrats ring up at least $2 million for Kerry runexternal link

  • OHIO VETS: Kerry's Democratic presidential campaign on Thursday announced plans to seek votes among Ohio military veterans through a new Ohio Veterans for Kerry organization. The group will attend veterans meetings and make phone calls to seek support for Kerry, said its leaders. They said veterans around the country are upset by Bush administration cuts to veterans programs and believe a decorated Vietnam War combat veteran like Kerry would treat them better.
  • The Cleveland Plain Dealer: Ohio Democrats set up veterans' group for Kerryexternal link

  • CARTER'S CRITIQUE: Former President Jimmy Carter on Thursday called the Bush administration's decision to wage war against Iraq "ill-advised and unnecessary," adding the resulting campaign "has turned out to be a tragedy." Carter also slammed Bush's environmental policies. Carter made the comments at the Rio R.V. Park in Brownsville, Texas, after wrapping up a four-day birding trip with his wife, Rosalynn, in the lower Rio Grande Valley.
  • The Houston Chronicle: Former President Carter takes president to taskexternal link

  • COLORADO COMBAT: Colorado Gov. Bill Owens is being "duplicitous" by wavering on his endorsement of Bob Schaffer now that Peter Coors is in the Republican Senate primary, an angry Schaffer spokeswoman charged Thursday. Her comments were part of the confusion, hurt feelings and shifting political alliances that marked what could be the first day of a bitter GOP primary race.
  • The Rocky Mountain News: Schaffer camp angryexternal link

  • CONSERVATIVES FOR SPECTER: Many conservatives are supporting Sen. Arlen Specter over the more conservative Rep. Pat Toomey in Pennsylvania's GOP primary. From the White House on down the party ladder, the view is that only Specter can hold the seat for the president and the Republicans in November. As well, many believe that Specter has come through for several conservatives inside and outside Congress, behind the scenes and sometimes out front, on various bills and causes.
  • The Washington Times: Conservatives loyal to liberal Specterexternal link

    Compiled by Mark Rodeffer

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