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Inside Politics
The Morning Grind / Political Hot Topics

Kerry meets with rivals old and new

The prison abuse scandal and instability in Iraq hurt Bush's job approval rating.

Journalist alleges Rumsfeld set up secret program that led to abuse.

CNN military analyst Maj. Gen. Don Shepperd on Rumsfeld's trip.
Gallery: Abuse at Abu Ghraib prison (Contains graphic content. Viewer discretion advised.)

• FindLaw: Taguba Report
• The Candidates: Bush | Kerry
Morning Grind
John F. Kerry
George W. Bush
Howard Dean

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

  • FACE-TO-FACE: Democrat John Kerry will meet today with independent presidential candidate Ralph Nader, the longtime consumer advocate who is blamed by many Democrats for Al Gore's loss in the 2000 election. Mr. Nader said he doubted Mr. Kerry would ask him to withdraw from the race, and repeated his long-standing position that dropping out is not an option. Mr. Nader has pushed for a meeting with Mr. Kerry since he wrapped up the primary race about two months ago.
  • The Associated Press: Kerry to meet Nader, talk 'common policies'external link

  • MAKING NICE: They were once the fiercest of rivals, the refined senator from Massachusetts and the scrappy ex-governor of Vermont, but for 24 hours this week, John Kerry and Howard Dean made it look as if they were the best of friends.
  • The Washington Post: Kerry, Dean adjust to new realitiesexternal link

  • POLITICAL REVIVAL: Resurrecting a theme that helped scuttle the first President Bush's reelection hopes in 1992, John Kerry contended yesterday that the current incumbent is unresponsive to the concerns of average Americans, from drivers and summer vacationers worried about gas-pump prices to older adults struggling with layoffs and health care premiums.
  • The Boston Globe: Kerry revives '92 election theme to attack Bushexternal link

  • LAURA TO THE RESCUE: With the president's approval ratings at the lowest in his presidency -- in the mid-forties -- and a Gallup poll of last week finding that 58 percent of those surveyed disapproved of the way he is handling the war in Iraq, Laura Bush hits the road to shore up support for her husband.
  • The Washington Post: Laura Bush, out of the garden and into the frayexternal link

  • JEWISH VOTE: Bush reelection strategists have long hoped that White House policies that focus on fighting terror and spreading democracy through the Mideast would make longtime Jewish Democrats into Republican voters. Jews account for 4% of voters nationwide. But in some of this year's battleground states -- particularly Florida, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Nevada and Missouri -- a few Jewish votes could make a big difference.
  • The Los Angeles Times: Bush gains in efforts to win over Jewish voteexternal link

  • PROTEST PLANS: Boston's main police union is planning to set up a picket line at the FleetCenter when construction begins for the Democratic National Convention in three weeks, and has applied for 29 additional permits to protest outside of the delegation welcome parties scheduled for the night before the convention begins in late July.
  • The Boston Globe: Police plan to broaden convention picketingexternal link

  • TAKING CREDIT: Like many of its predecessors, the Bush White House has used the machinery of government to promote the reelection of the president by awarding federal grants to strategically important states. But in a twist this election season, many administration officials are taking credit for spreading largess through programs that President Bush tried to eliminate or to cut sharply.
  • The New York Times: White House is trumpeting programs it tried to cutexternal link

  • PRIMARY VICTORIES: John Kerry secured three more primary election victories Tuesday, winning in Oregon, Arkansas and Kentucky to pad his insurmountable lead in the campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination.
  • The Los Angeles Times: Kerry snares three more primariesexternal link

  • 'HEARINGS HURT': The House Armed Services Committee chairman yesterday said the ongoing Senate hearings into prisoner abuse in Iraq are hurting the U.S. military's ability to wage the war. "We've got 135,000 kids over there that need leadership, and their leadership can't be dragged back to Washington every couple of days to focus on seven people. And that's what's happened," said Rep. Duncan Hunter, California Republican.
  • The Washington Times: House leader scorns hearingsexternal link

  • LOOK AT ME!: Earlier this year, John Kerry had little trouble attracting national attention as he racked up a series of primary election victories. Since then he has been far less visible, struggling almost daily to compete for attention with the news out of Iraq and the bully pulpit of the White House.
  • The Washington Post: Kerry vies for screen timeexternal link

  • RIGHT HOOK: Bush was the target of more than three times as many jokes on late-night television during the first four months of this year as John Kerry according to a media watchdog. The comedians and their handlers say that's typical of the attention drawn by an incumbent.
  • The Los Angeles Times: Just how powerful is a comic's punch?external link

  • PARTY POOPER: A charitable organization closely tied to House Majority Leader Tom DeLay announced yesterday that it has canceled a series of parties and other events it had scheduled around the Republican National Convention, after it drew sharp criticism from public watchdog groups.
  • The Washington Post: Group cancels events for GOP conventionexternal link

    Compiled by Heather Riley

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