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The Morning Grind / DayAhead

Our hair's better than your hair

Kerry quotes Teresa: 'You just lost the bald vote'

By John Mercurio
CNN Political Unit

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CNN's John King on Bush's campaigning in North Carolina.

CNN's Bill Schneider on what poll respondents say about Edwards.

CNN's Barbara Starr on the GOP's criticism of Edwards' military votes.
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Morning Grind

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The six words President Bush used to dismiss John Edwards probably didn't make it into new TV ads Bush-Cheney will launch Friday in North Carolina. (Asked yesterday for the difference between Edwards and his own running mate, Bush tersely replied, "Dick Cheney can be president. Next?")

But surely we haven't seen the last of that sentiment.

Yep, you read that right. Bush-Cheney, which carried North Carolina by 13 points in 2000, is going up tomorrow with its first-ever ads in the Tar Heel State, home of Liddy Dole, Jesse Helms, NASCAR legend Richard Petty ... oh, and John Edwards.

The good people of North Carolina haven't backed a Democrat for president since 1976, but John Kerry's decision to pick Edwards forces Republicans to play defense -- for a while, at least -- in a state they'd love to ignore.

Bush-Cheney press folks declined to discuss the new ads with The Grind last night. "Nothin for u 2night," Terry Holt wrote in an e-mail that looked more like a personalized license plate.

The suspense will end at 11 a.m. ET, when Mehlman/Wallace/Dowd plan to hold a conference call unveiling their new TV spot.

Meanwhile, Kerry and Edwards continue their "Better Hair" tour today in Florida and New York. Following an 11 a.m. ET rally at the Ft. Lauderdale-Hollywood airport, they head to New York City, where John and Teresa tape their hour long interview with CNN's Larry King at 5:15 p.m.

The interview will air tonight on CNN's "Larry King Live" at 9 p.m. (Will John and Elizabeth drop by to join the chat? What about those adorable Edwards towheads? Stay tuned.)

Next stop for Kerry-Edwards tonight: The celeb-studded fund-raiser at Radio City Music Hall, scheduled to begin at 6:55 p.m. ET.

Dave Matthews, on tour this summer with Galactic, will introduce Kerry and Edwards in a program featuring Mary J. Blige, Jon Bon Jovi, Chevy Chase, Whoopi Goldberg, Meryl Streep, Paul Newman, Sarah Jessica Parker, John Mellencamp, Wyclef Jean, John Fogerty ... Expected money haul: Lots.

Kerry-Edwards has organized buzz-generating events in more than 20 states today -- rallies, press conferences and what-not.

Scheduled thus far: New Hampshire, Maine, Nevada, Iowa, Missouri, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Louisiana (led by Lt. Gov. Mitch Landrieu, brother of Mary), Oregon (with the lead singer of Everclear), Washington state, Arizona, Wisconsin (led Gov. Jim Doyle), Colorado (led by former Transportation Secretary Federico Pena), New Mexico, Virginia, Texas, Alabama and Nebraska. (What happened to Wyoming?)

Supporters will be sporting new Kerry-Edwards campaign signs hot off the presses.

"Better Hair" travels to West Virginia and New Mexico tomorrow and concludes Saturday in Edwards' North Carolina, where they can catch one of Bush-Cheney's new ads.

Edwards' campaign manager, Peter Scher, tells CNN that he expects his new boss to be off the trail early next week.

The would-be VP's first solo trip will probably be next Wednesday or Thursday.

Speaking of Kerry's "better hair" comments, we hear that wife Teresa wasn't crazy about the line. (Smart woman.) The Senator, who repeated the line at several stops Wednesday, told reporters last night that she scolded him, "You just lost the bald vote."

No word on how the half-dozen bald or shaved-headed Secret Service agents protecting the coiffed candidates viewed the remark.

CNN's Mike Roselli contributed to this report.


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