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The Morning Grind / Political Hot Topics

A bus, a bio, a bid for Al Franken?
One of John Kerry's new campaign ads promotes the candidate's Vietnam experience.
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CNN's John King on President Bush in Michigan.

The Veepstakes Game: CNN's Keating Holland on Kerry's decision.

CNN's Bill Schneider on Kerry and Bush in key states' polls.
Morning Grind
George W. Bush
John F. Kerry
Al Franken

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

  • LIFE STORY: John Kerry yesterday announced a $25 million advertising campaign, the largest single buy of either presidential campaign this year and one that comes as some Democrats have expressed concern that many voters know Kerry only by President Bush's ads. Two new spots to air this month in battleground states are designed to introduce Kerry to voters as a lifelong public servant in the military in Vietnam, a prosecutor and lieutenant governor in Massachusetts, and a member of Congress.
  • The Boston Globe: $25m ad campaign showcases Kerry's careerexternal link

  • ROAD TRIP: President Bush boarded a bus emblazoned "Yes, America Can," shed his suit jacket and set out across the Midwest on Monday to chat with supporters and offer himself as a sympathetic leader attuned to working-class values. The two-day bus tour through Michigan and Ohio, which together have lost more than 500,000 jobs during his term, was aimed at shoring up poll numbers suggesting that a majority of voters doubt that Bush understands their problems.
  • The Washington Post: President gets back on the busexternal link

  • HIP TO BE INTERESTED: Could it be that President Bush has made politics cool again for the arts in New York? Nothing in recent memory has stirred the far corners of this world like the prospect of the Republican National Convention at Madison Square Garden.
  • The New York Times: Republicans lure the arts to politics and protestsexternal link

  • MORE POMP: John Kerry says if he's elected president, he will push for 1 million more students to graduate high school within five years. In a series of events this week, Kerry is challenging President Bush on one of the signature issues of his presidency -- education. The Massachusetts senator voted for Bush's education policy known as No Child Left Behind, but now says the president has failed to back up the law with enough money to help schools raise academic standards.
  • The Associated Press: Kerry vows to increase graduation ratesexternal link

  • MORE MONEY THAN EVER: This year's presidential race -- fueled by more than a million donors, including many who have never given before -- is well on its way to becoming the country's first $1-billion political campaign, experts say. The money is coming in small donations and large ones, online and in the mail, from wealthy philanthropists and immigrants who can't even vote. In part, it represents unprecedented interest in the campaign from people throughout the country.
  • The Los Angeles Times: Bush, Kerry awash in moneyexternal link

  • DOCUMENTS CRITICIZED: A group of Vietnam veterans will release a letter today criticizing Democratic presidential candidate John F. Kerry's efforts to run as a "war hero" while releasing "only carefully screened portions" of his military records. The group consists of veterans who, like Kerry, served on "swift boats" during the conflict.
  • The Washington Post: Group says Kerry released edited version of military recordsexternal link

  • LET'S BE FRIENDS: Howard Dean yesterday said he wants his former presidential campaign -- renamed Democracy for America -- to play a key role in energizing grass-roots Democrats and independents to help elect Sen. John Kerry in November. Mr. Dean, who said he talks with Mr. Kerry regularly, plans to campaign for the Massachusetts senator in Alabama and other states.
  • The Washington Times: Dean vows action to support Kerryexternal link

  • TELLING SECRETS: The Bush administration is coming under fire for allegedly allowing political concerns to determine what it deems to be sensitive national security material after a series of document declassifications that critics contend were timed for strategic advantage.
  • The Boston Globe: Bush team takes hit on secret filesexternal link

  • HAUNTING IMAGES: As the U.S. military continued to reel from photographs of troops abusing Iraqi prisoners, President Bush volunteered yesterday that Iraq is better off now that Saddam Hussein is gone and his ''torture cells are closed," summoning an image that has haunted troops in recent days.
  • The Boston Globe: Bush invokes image of torture cellsexternal link

  • IN A PICKLE: The Pittsburgh-based H. J. Heinz Co. has been deluged with e-mails from unhappy consumers who want to know why it's involved in the presidential campaign. The company's emphatic answer is, "We're not," and it has hired some big-time Republican lobbyists to help spread the word.
  • The Washington Post: Heinz Co. relishes political neutralityexternal link

  • FRANKEN FOR SENATE?: As Al Franken considers challenging Senator Norm Coleman, Republican of Minnesota, for reelection in 2008, the comedian and liberal radio host is looking to his hometown senator for advice: Hillary Rodham Clinton.
  • The Associated Press: Franken seeks advice on bid for Senateexternal link

    Compiled by Heather Riley

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