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Kerry files papers for presidential committee

Senator cites need for 'better, different, kind of politics'

Sen. John Kerry:
Sen. John Kerry: "I want to go out and fight for a better set of choices for our country."

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WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Sen. John Kerry filed papers Wednesday with the Federal Election Commission, formally establishing an exploratory campaign committee for a possible 2004 bid for the White House.

The move, announced in advance by the Massachusetts Democrat over the weekend, allows Kerry to begin fund raising and take initial steps toward a national campaign.

Kerry is the second Democrat to make such a move, joining Vermont Gov. Howard Dean who filed papers this past spring. Other Democrats considering throwing their hats into the ring include: former Vice President Al Gore, House Minority Leader Richard Gephardt of Missouri, Sens. John Edwards of North Carolina, Joe Lieberman of Connecticut, Joe Biden of Delaware, and Senate Democratic leader Tom Daschle of South Dakota.

In a statement released by the committee, Kerry sounded a lot like a candidate, saying his exploratory effort would reflect a "better, different, kind of politics."

"I want to go out and fight for a better set of choices for our country, and I want to start building a national organization right away to help me in that effort," Kerry said. "We're going to build a grassroots organization of Americans who love their country and want to make it stronger."

Kerry's committee said that articles of incorporation would be filed in Massachusetts Thursday. Also, about $3 million currently in the Kerry Committee -- established for his Senate campaigns -- will be transferred to Kerry for President, Inc.

Kerry, who will be 59 on December 11, was a decorated Navy officer in Vietnam and became an antiwar activist upon his return home. In congressional testimony in 1971, he asked the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, "How do you ask a man to be the last man to die for a mistake?"

He voted against committing U.S. troops in the 1991 Persian Gulf War but supported the October congressional resolution authorizing the use of force to disarm Iraq in the current standoff.

This week, Kerry delivered a biting critique of President Bush's tax policy, saying its costs would be passed onto "our children." Kerry also accused the administration of using the threat of war with Iraq to distract attention away from the nation's economy.

Over the weekend, Kerry said that Americans are concerned about "job security, income security, retirement security, health security, education security, physical, personal security and of course national security."

Kerry was first elected to the Senate in 1984 after serving as Massachusetts' lieutenant governor and as a state prosecutor.

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