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• The Candidates: Bush | Kerry
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WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Check out the links below to hot political stories around the country this morning.

MARRIAGE DEBATE: Dick Cheney said yesterday that homosexual couples should have equal freedom under the law and reiterated his 2000 campaign stance that states should have the right to decide what constitutes marriage.

The Washington Times: Cheney sidesteps marriage debateexternal link

PARK PLACE: The lead organizer of the largest rally planned for the Republican National Convention said yesterday that the rally would not be held if a judge upheld a ban on protesters using the Great Lawn in Central Park on Sunday.

The New York Times: Group will rally in park or not at all, leader saysexternal link

FUNNY TALK: After weeks of charge and countercharge in the presidential campaign, comedian Jon Stewart tried Tuesday to get to the bottom of the debate over John Kerry's military service in Vietnam.

The Washington Post: Stewart probes Kerry on military serviceexternal link

GRUDGE MATCH: O'Neill is helping run what is arguably the most aggressive outside campaign to defeat John Kerry thus far in the presidential election cycle.

The Boston Globe: For Kerry detractor O'Neill, the feelings still run deepexternal link

POLITICAL ART: Visual artists, almost always Democratic, are joining in gallery shows, sales and auctions to raise money for the presidential campaign.

The Los Angeles Times: The political canvasexternal link

PLATFORM FORMING: The platform on which GOP candidates will run this fall is shaping up to look decidedly conservative, reflecting the views of President Bush and the party's base. Efforts to insert more moderate language on controversial issues such as abortion and same-sex marriage into the 95-page statement of party principles begin Wednesday when the Republican Platform Committee opens two days of hearings in Manhattan.

USA Today: GOP debates 'unity' plank in platformexternal link

LEGAL LINK: The Bush campaign's top outside lawyer said Tuesday that he had given legal advice to the group of veterans attacking Senator John Kerry's Vietnam War record and antiwar activism in a book, television commercials and countless appearances on cable news programs.

The New York Times: Bush campaign's top outside lawyer advised veterans groupexternal link

KERRY UNSCRIPTED: After a day in which he worked to both shine a light on his political agenda and cast doubt on the Republicans' upcoming convention, John Kerry last night diverted from his script and instead took on critics of his Vietnam War record.

The Boston Globe: Kerry calls critics of his war record 'petty'external link

DIVERSIONARY TACTICS: With his campaign for the presidency engulfed in disputes over his Vietnam War service record, John Kerry accused President Bush on Tuesday of using "fear and smear" to divert attention from four years of White House failures.

The Los Angeles Times: Kerry accuses Bush of 'fear and smear'external link

PREEMPTIVE STRIKE: John Kerry returned to the political wars Tuesday, firing a preemptive shot at next week's Republican National Convention with a warning that four days of "slogans and personal attacks" cannot cover up a four-year record of economic failure.

The Washington Post: Kerry makes preemptive strike on Bushexternal link

DAD KNOWS BEST: Not many people foresaw the postwar difficulties the administration has endured in Iraq. Of the few who did, one stands out. President George H.W. Bush.

The Associated Press: Bush's father foresaw costs of Iraq warexternal link

DEAR DIARY: John Kerry's own wartime journal is raising questions about whether he deserved the first of three Purple Hearts, which permitted him to go home after 4 1/2 months of combat.

The Washington Times: Diary refutes Kerry claimexternal link

Compiled by Heather Riley

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