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Inside Politics
The Morning Grind / DayAhead

Bush vs. 'Bubble Boy'

By John Mercurio
CNN Political Unit

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CNN's John Mercurio goes over Morning Grind items at the FleetCenter in Boston.

CNN's Bill Hemmer and the 'Political Pop' panel.

CNN's Carol Costello talks with the Rev. Jesse Jackson.
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Day Two: Tuesday

• Theme: "A Lifetime of Service and Strength"

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• 8:15 p.m. ET: Sen. Ted Kennedy

• 9:30 p.m. ET: Barack Obama

• 10 p.m. ET: Ron Reagan

• 10:20 p.m. ET: Teresa Heinz Kerry
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Morning Grind
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BOSTON, Massachusetts (CNN) -- We were worried yesterday that we'd gone too far in our reporting on Teresa Heinz "Shove it!" Kerry. Little did we know that we'd be writing this morning about John Kerry's "Bubble Boy" photo-op, pictures of President Bush picking his nose and cheerleading at Yale, and a 1975 quote in which Teresa called Ted Kennedy a "perfect bastard."

Kerry heads north today, rallying supporters in Norfolk, Virginia, and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and (we hope, for his sake) avoiding more unflattering photo-ops that might lead others to make comparisons to Dukakis in the tank. Or call him "Bubble Boy," as the Boston Herald does this morning.

Other than the obvious goofiness of both pictures, the two have little in common. As Camp Kerry noted last night, and we agree, NASA required Kerry, along with astronauts-turned-senators Bill Nelson and John Glenn, to wear the weird-looking but precautionary suits as they toured a sterile facility at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida. Dukakis made the fatal decision to climb into the tank in 1988 specifically to counter perceptions that he was weak on national defense.

Of course, Bush-Cheney feels differently. They emailed the Kerry and Dukakis photos to reporters last night, under the headline, "Earth to Kerry." Defying their "do no evil, speak no evil" edict this week in Boston, Kerry aides responded by sharing pictures of Bush wearing matching kimonos with Australian Prime Minister John Howard, picking his nose at a baseball game and leading a cheer at Yale.

"The only candidate who plays dress-up is George W. Bush. He is the one who put on a flight suit, landed on an aircraft carrier and said 'mission accomplished," a Kerry official sniped to the New York Daily News.

Note to Camp Kerry: This is what you get when you invite thousands of journalists to Boston and hold a convention with no news.

More Teresa talk

Speaking of which, Day Two at the FleetCenter brings freshly scrubbed speeches tonight from a host of party bigs, including Howard Dean, Ted Kennedy and Ron Reagan. Teresa Heinz Kerry also speaks this evening about her husband, although we doubt anyone can truly scrub her speech.

Teresa takes another hit today from the Herald, which she must view as the Boston equivalent of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.

The Herald digs up a 29-year-old quote from a little-known book in which she calls Kennedy a "perfect bastard" and refers to the "putrid" Democratic Party.

Now, we have to say that 29 years seems like an awful long time to be held accountable for your words. If the Herald ever chose to dig up anything the Grind muttered in 1975, well, we could be in a whole mess of trouble.

Labor pain

A more recent comment stirring debate today was made by SEIU President Andy Stern, who told the Washington Post's David Broder on Monday that the union movement is in "crisis" and might benefit more if the Kerry-Edwards ticket loses this fall.

"I don't know if [the union movement] would survive with a Democratic president," Stern, a possible candidate to succeed AFL-CIO president John Sweeney in next year's AFL-CIO presidential election, told the Post in a story published today. Stern said labor leaders would become partners in the establishment created by the new administration. Asked if a Kerry presidency would help or hurt the internal union reforms, he said, "I think it hurts."

In a statement released this morning to the AP, Stern clarified his remarks and reiterated his union's support for Kerry. "Let me be clear: It is SEIU's top priority to help elect a president who will stand up for America's working families," he said in a statement. "That is why we are spending an unprecedented $65 million to win in November. I am personally committed to help send John Kerry to the White House because he has always fought for working families."

Nursing a mild cold, John Edwards arrives at Boston Logan Airport at 4 p.m. ET today, a day ahead of his acceptance speech. CNN has purchased usage rights of three photos taken today of him at home in Raleigh while he was working on his speech.

The pictures show Edwards working with TelePrompTers standing in his living room, sitting on a couch in his office writing, and stretching at the side of his desk.

Nursing a mild cut on his knee after a fall from his knobby-tired bike, President Bush remains down in Crawford, Texas, for another day of rest and relaxation.


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