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Inside Politics

On our way to 'New York, New York'

By Lauren Gracco

A crowd gathers to watch a taping of "Crossfire" at Sinatra Park in Hoboken, New Jersey.
Election Express
New Jersey
Philadelphia (Pennsylvania)

HOBOKEN, New Jersey (CNN) -- A small crowed gathered to watch a taping of CNN's "Crossfire" today at Sinatra Park. Even Old Blue Eyes himself was there, or rather a very convincing Frank Sinatra impersonator.

While the show dished a healthy dose of politics, some of the people in the crowd had their own thoughts on political matters.

At one point, a car passed by, its occupant stating loudly "Vote for W!"

Soon after, a voice in the crowd shouted, "McGreevey must go!" Not once, or twice but three times in total.

But it wasn't all shouting. Poking over the tops of heads in the crowd of on-lookers was a sign, which simply stated: "Kerry and Fonda perfect together."

And with the City skyline in the backdrop, "Sinatra" got the last shout as he topped off the show with a few bars of "New York, New York", which is where we will be headed tomorrow as the CNN Election Express heads across the water on its way to the Republican National Convention.

Scandal overshadows convention preparations

By Eileen McMenamin, Senior Election Express Producer

We're in Hoboken, not only because we're a stone's throw from New York City, but because New Jersey has been rocked by scandal with Democratic Gov. James E. McGreevey's resignation.

Oddly enough, it was a close state when we first picked the location; the polls were a lot tighter. But now, they have opened up a little bit more for Sen. John Kerry.

Polls aside, the governor stepping down took center stage.

While the spotlight is on the scandal, that doesn't change the fact that New Jersey borders New York, and there are preparations that need to be made for the Republican convention.

I think McGreevey is interested in talking about port security, which is obviously very important being right across the river. But it seems like the only thing anyone else wants to talk about is his resignation and the sex scandal.

Skyline and convention on the horizon

By CNN anchor Judy Woodruff:

Posted 1 p.m. ET

With less than one week to go before the kickoff of the Republican National Convention in New York City, we at "Inside Politics" started making our way north from our home base in Washington, D.C.

Monday, we stopped in Philadelphia, the birthplace of the United States of America, to do a little looking backwards in appreciation, as well as forward as our trip takes us closer to New York City.

Accompanied by the red, white and blue CNN "Election Express Bus," we parked outside Philadelphia's historic Museum of Art, known for its outstanding collection and the role its front steps played in the movie "Rocky." Most of us remember the scene where Sylvester Stallone ran up those steps with the stunning downtown landscape of Philadelphia laid out behind him.

But the visit was about politics, not sports, and we wanted to consider not just the City of Brotherly Love, but politics across the state of Pennsylvania with its 21 electoral votes

Long a mosaic of America with big steel factories, coal mines and railroads dominating the economic landscape, the state has two major population centers -- Pittsburgh on the west, and Philadelphia in the east, with the center of the state left to the Pennsylvania Dutch.

Al Gore won the state in 2000.

Judy Woodruff hosted Monday's "Inside Politics" from the Philadelphia Museum of Art in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

President Bush has tried to take Pennsylvania away from Democratic hands, visiting the state 32 times since he's been in office. But the latest polls show his efforts may have not paid off. John Kerry is leading in all the public polls, which Democratic Gov. Ed Rendell told me Monday is due in no small part to a dismal jobs future.

Republican State Party Chairman Alan Novack on the other hand said the economy is starting to turn. He and other GOP'ers are counting on a successful Republican convention next week to give them a lift. That's not so very different from Republicans across the country who would like to see George Bush's approval rating hovering in the 40s, a number they want to see move higher.

After leaving the nation's past behind us, we are making our way closer to the country's future as we inch toward New York City with a stop in Hoboken, New Jersey, a state, like Pennsylvania, that went to the Democrats in 2000. Today, "Inside Politics" will be live at Sinatra Park with the New York City skyline, and the upcoming GOP convention, in the background.

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