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The Morning Grind / Political Hot Topics

Kerry targets escalating war costs, deficit

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

DETRIMENTAL DEFICIT: John Kerry yesterday focused on the record $422 billion federal deficit and the growing cost of the Iraq war to question the president's fiscal stewardship, job creation record, and government priorities.

The Boston Globe: Kerry rips handling of war and economyexternal link

OUT OF TOUCH: As the US death toll in Iraq passed 1,000 yesterday, the Bush campaign turned attention away from the battlefield and toward its Democratic rival, sharply escalating its attacks on John Kerry over his position on Iraq and his stand on national security, despite its promises to address domestic issues.

The Boston Globe: Bush campaign portrays Kerry as out of touch on terrorismexternal link

KETCHUP RACE: Bush Country Ketchup - marketed as an alternative to Heinz - has lost out to W Ketchup as a media darling due to a labeling issue.

The New York Times: A ketchup too spicy for the GOPexternal link

KERRY THREAT: Stepping up the battle over national security, Vice President Dick Cheney warned on Tuesday that the country would be at risk of a terror attack if it made "the wrong choice" in November, and President Bush accused Senator John Kerry of adopting the antiwar language of Howard Dean.

The New York Times: Cheney warns of terror risk if Kerry winsexternal link

CATHOLIC LEEWAY: Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, the Vatican's arbiter of doctrinal orthodoxy, has given Roman Catholic voters leeway under certain circumstances to vote for politicians who support abortion rights, U.S. Catholic officials said yesterday.

The Washington Post: Catholic voters given leeway on abortion rights issueexternal link

TWO OUT OF THREE: President Bush may skip one of the three debates that have been proposed by the Commission on Presidential Debates and accepted by John Kerry, Republican officials said yesterday.

The Washington Post: Bush likely to bow out of one debateexternal link

CALIFORNIA PARTY LINE: Democrats tighten their hold on the seaside while the GOP increases its dominion inland. The widening breach reflects national trends.

The Los Angeles Times: State's geography hews party lineexternal link

CLINTON IN "FINE" SPIRITS: Former President Bill Clinton was talking and taking liquids yesterday, a day after undergoing an operation to relieve four severely clogged arteries.

The Washington Times: Clinton in 'fine' spirits after surgeryexternal link

ENDORSEMENT DEAL: The board of the Log Cabin Republicans voted overwhelming on Tuesday night against endorsing President Bush because of his support for an amendment banning gay marriage.

The New York Times: Gay activists in the GOP withhold endorsementexternal link

TOO LIBERAL TO LEAD: President Bush yesterday attempted to paint John Kerry as a far-left Democrat, comparing the challenger's views on the Iraq war to those of Howard Dean, who was rejected by his own party as being too liberal to be elected president.

Washington Times: Bush ties Kerry to party's far leftexternal link

COMING UP SHORT: Bush fell well short of meeting his military obligation, a Boston Globe reexamination of the records shows: Twice during his Guard service -- first when he joined in May 1968, and again before he transferred out of his unit in mid-1973 to attend Harvard Business School.

The Boston Globe: Bush fell short on duty at Guardexternal link

RECORDS RESURFACE: President Bush ranked in the middle of his Air National Guard flight class and flew 336 hours in a fighter jet before letting his pilot status lapse and missing a key readiness drill in 1972, according to his flight records belatedly uncovered Tuesday under the Freedom of Information Act.

The Associated Press: Lawsuit uncovers new Bush guard recordsexternal link

CHANNELING TRUMAN: As he frames the nation's foreign policy debate in sweeping terms, Bush is arguing that like President Truman after World War II, he is restructuring America's national security strategy to meet a transcendent new threat.

The Los Angeles Times: Bush invokes Truman in promoting global strategyexternal link

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