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Inside Politics
The Morning Grind / Political Hot Topics

Soft money, new poll numbers, and the psychology of defeat

Stay with CNN for the latest updates, reactions and perspective on the evolving situation in Iraq and its impact on the U.S. political season.
CNN's John King on efforts to soften the Bush image.

CNN's Kelly Wallace on Kerry and the running-mate question.

CNN's Bill Schneider on the great divide in American politics.
• The Candidates: Bush | Kerry
Morning Grind
John F. Kerry
George W. Bush
Ralph Nader

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

  • PSYCHOLOGY OF DEFEAT: A generation of Ralph Nader supporters will come of age November 2 at Dartmouth College, and they're planning to vote for John Kerry. Al Gore lost here in 2000 by 7,200 votes, and many Democrats blamed Nader, who drew 22,000 votes. It is this psychology of defeat, a fear of throwing the election to Bush, that will steer Naderites, as well as many undecided voters, to Kerry's side, campaign officials say.
  • The Boston Globe: Pragmatism drives N.H. Naderites to Kerryexternal link

  • LET THE SOFT MONEY BEGIN!: The Federal Election Commission stepped aside Thursday from regulating the unlimited contributions that have been flowing into the 2004 presidential race from the Democratic side, setting the stage for an outpouring of money from Republican donors who have mostly remained on the sidelines.
  • The Los Angeles Times: Panel won't restrict unlimited political spending by groupsexternal link

  • BUSH POLL NUMBERS DOWN: Six months before the November election, President Bush has slipped into a politically fragile position that has put his reelection at risk, with the public clearly disaffected by his handling of the two biggest issues facing the country: Iraq and the economy.
  • The Washington Post: Bad signs for Bush in history, numbersexternal link

  • PARTY PREP: New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson, chairman of the Democratic National Convention, yesterday expressed confidence that rising costs will not prevent the party from putting on an event that can provide all the "pizzazz" needed to showcase John Kerry's presidential candidacy.
  • The Boston Globe: Convention head downplays concernsexternal link

  • DIFFERENCE OF OPINION: John Kerry has spent this week campaigning relentlessly on the problems in the nation's health care system and maintaining that President Bush has failed to address them. The Bush campaign has countered furiously, saying Mr. Kerry's proposals are far too expensive and would inevitably lead to government micromanagement of private health care.
  • The New York Times: Biggest divide? Maybe it's health careexternal link

  • BACKFIRE: Republicans believe that Democrats, who have used reports of Iraqi prisoner abuse as an avenue to attack President Bush on the war, might be overplaying their hand -- especially in light of the videotaped slaughter of an American businessman by al Qaeda terrorists.
  • The Washington Times: Democrats' attacks seen backfiringexternal link

  • BANK RESERVE: President Bush asked Congress yesterday to approve a new $25 billion "contingency fund" for operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, but members of both parties in Congress indicated strong reservations about giving the Pentagon the free hand it is seeking to spend the money.
  • The Washington Post: Congress hesitant to write 'blank check'external link

  • (200) MILLION DOLLAR MAN: President Bush's campaign has hit the $200 million mark in fund-raising, doubling his 2000 record in less than a year, a tabulation of donations through April posted on the campaign's Web site shows. The Republican incumbent has raised almost twice as much as John Kerry, the presumptive Democratic challenger.
  • The Associated Press: Bush raises $200m, far beyond Kerryexternal link

  • BUZZWORD: If there was a question about whether John Kerry has any qualms about invoking Bill Clinton in his quest for the White House, they were resolved this week after his visit to the former president's home state. By the time he finished his trip, the Massachusetts senator had dropped Clinton's name at least a dozen times. He had tried to imitate Clinton's drawl. And he had visited Doe's Eat Place, a smoky barbecue joint that was a renowned hangout for Clinton and his staff.
  • The Los Angeles Times: In Arkansas, Kerry finds key word to be 'Clinton'external link

  • BACK TO BASICS: President Bush said yesterday that high schools, with federal help, must get back to basics by ensuring that students have mastered essential skills to prepare them for college or the job market.
  • The Washington Times: Bush challenges high schoolsexternal link

  • RELIGIOUS RITES: The Roman Catholic bishop of Colorado Springs has issued a pastoral letter saying that American Catholics should not receive communion if they vote for politicians who defy church teaching by supporting abortion rights, same-sex marriage, euthanasia or stem-cell research.
  • The New York Times: Bishop would deny rite for defiant Catholic votersexternal link

    Compiled by Heather Riley

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