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  • America Votes

    Election news from across the Knight Ridder network and the Web

    Thursday, March 25, 2004

    We're taking a spring break 

    We've been blogging the presidential primaries since late January. But with all due respect to the states that haven't voted yet, the season is essentially over. John Kerry has mathematically won the Democratic nomination and George W. Bush will be back on the Republican ticket.

    There are still surprises to come. But for now, it's mostly Kerry vs. Bush, rumors and allegations, and ads slamming each other. This is our cue to make a graceful exit. But we'll be back when the election heats up again during the summer conventions in New York and Boston.

    Before we go, here are some of our favorite bloggable moments from the campaign trail that you might have missed:

  • Breakfast with Sharpton, without waffles
  • Clark's son rips the coverage, campaign
  • John Kerry, boyhood hero
  • Cable? It's all blather
  • Send 'em all to Ranger School
  • No vacancy at the Virginia Primary Motel
  • Back to the 'liquid' diet
  • The love bus
  • Now back to the real issues
  • A Bush look-alike, up to no good
  • Ted Kennedy, Green Bay Packer?
  • Protecting us from a 'flood of garbage'
  • It's one of those little states
  • Something about Mary Cheney
  • Give peas a chance
  • E-voting goes smoothly - as far as we know
  • Not afraid to speak her mind
  • Kerry wins American Samoa - quietly
  • Homes away from home

    Thanks for joining us and watch this space this summer for more insider information hot off the campaign trail.

    - Ellen Dunkel, Knight Ridder Digital
    posted by Ellen Dunkel at 10:49 AM
  • Wednesday, March 24, 2004

    Gay Republicans feel jilted 

    President Bush's support for a federal constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage has put his gay supporters to the test and jeopardized the million votes he got from them in the last election.

    Log Cabin Republicans, a gay group that backed Bush in 2000, has been airing a television ad against the amendment in seven swing states.

    That advertising campaign is being helped along with $100,000 from Michael Huffington, the former Republican congressman who was once married to columnist Arianna Huffington but is now outspoken about being bisexual. Huffington said he has supported every Republican presidential nominee since Nixon, but he is not sure whom he will vote for in November.

    Other gay Republicans also said Bush's support for the amendment left them in a quandary.

    - Laura Kurtzman, Kate Folmar, San Jose Mercury News

    posted by Ellen Dunkel at 9:55 AM

    What's in a name? 

    A well-known name usually helps when you're running for office. (See also: Schwarzenegger, Arnold.) But what if your name is John Ramsey and you're the father of JonBenet, the child beauty queen whose 1996 murder was never solved.

    Ramsey is considering a bid for the Michigan state house and says he hopes voters in northern Michigan will focus on his business experience and positions instead of the mystery.

    Ramsey and his wife, Patsy Ramsey, said Monday they were ready for a new chapter in their lives after moving last fall from Atlanta, Ga., to Charlevoix, Mich., their longtime summer home.

    The Ramseys were living in Boulder, Colo., when 6-year-old JonBenet was found beaten and strangled in the basement of their home on Dec. 26, 1996. A cloud of suspicion surrounded the girl's parents, who insisted an intruder committed the crime.

    posted by Ellen Dunkel at 9:54 AM

    Top 10 ways Kucinich can win 

    Remember Dennis Kucinich? He's still in the race, as is Al Sharpton, despite the fact that Sharpton already endorsed Kerry.

    Kucinich was on "The Late Show With David Letterman" Monday night to remind people he exists and to present the Top 10 List. The topic: Top Ten Ways Dennis Kucinich Can Still Be the Next President of the United States.

    10. "Keep doing what I'm doing - I'm winning, right?"

    9. "Constitution is amended stating presidents must be 35 or older, a natural-born citizen and named 'Dennis'."

    8. "Act like a boob so people will perceive me as more Presidential."

    7. "You want crazy campaign promises? Fine! If I'm elected everybody gets a million bucks."

    6. "Enter and win next 'American Idol'."

    5. "Announce your running mate will be a plate of fudge - people love fudge."

    4. "Just wait till I unleash my new campaign slogan: 'Kucizzle in the Hizzle!'"

    3. "According to the order of presidential succession, if George W. Bush were to resign today, along with Dick Cheney and about 300 other people, the presidency passes to a congressman from Ohio."

    2. "Get the governors of every state to rig the election."

    1. "I'm praying for a sex scandal."

    posted by Ellen Dunkel at 9:21 AM

    Tuesday, March 23, 2004

    Kerry attacks Bush's stand on Chavez 

    Presumed Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry is accusing the White House of failing to promote democratic reforms in Venezuela, focusing attention on an issue that Democrats believe could hamper President Bush's quest for Hispanic votes in Florida.

    Kerry, a Massachusetts senator, issued the statement on his campaign website, charging that Bush's passive approach to backing opponents of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez reflects a larger record of "sending mixed signals by supporting undemocratic processes in our own hemisphere."

    The message from Kerry was an attack on Bush's image on Latin America policy, but strategists said it was primarily intended to further erode the president's standing among Cuban-American voters in Florida, who view Chavez as an ally of Fidel Castro and support stronger U.S. action to assist a recall vote against him.

    - Peter Wallsten, Miami Herald

    posted by Ellen Dunkel at 9:30 AM

    Homes away from home 

    John Kerry and his wife, Teresa Heinz Kerry are on a skiing/snowboarding vacation in Idaho. But they're not exactly staying at the Motel 6. They're staying at one of their many homes, this one in the wooded mountains of Ketchum. Located near the banks of the Big Wood River, the nearly $5 million house is a reassembled barn, originally built in England in 1485, and brought to Idaho by Heinz Kerry's late husband, H. John Heinz III.

    The Kerrys at leat five homes and vacation getaways valued at nearly $33 million. Some are private escapes for the family, while others serve as prime spots to host fundraisers and exclusive gatherings for wealthy donors. All reflect the couple's status -- he is a four-term Massachusetts senator, she is heiress to the $500 million family ketchup fortune -- with breathtaking vistas, elegant furnishings and enclosures that protect the property from prying eyes.

    Each home has a place in the family's life, with its own history and mission, from the preppy island of Nantucket and Boston's Beacon Hill to the Pittsburgh countryside, from the Idaho mountains to the nation's capital.

    posted by Ellen Dunkel at 9:21 AM

    Will early start lead to voter fatigue? 

    The presidential election looms seven long months away.

    Yet the candidates have already kicked their campaigns into high gear with nasty television ads, rapid-fire sparring and an intensity usually reserved for October.

    Some fear the early start - believed to be the earliest ever for a presidential campaign - will lead to widespread voter fatigue.

    "I'm really worried about that, to tell you the truth," said Sherry Bebitch Jeffe, a University of Southern California political analyst. "If it maintains for seven months as negative as it is now, I'm worried the campaign will turn voters off."

    - Sandy Kleffman, Contra Costa Times

    posted by Ellen Dunkel at 9:11 AM

    Monday, March 22, 2004

    A campaign finance loophole 

    Right up to the day before the Nov. 2 election, voters could see television ads accusing President Bush of limiting abortion and spoiling the environment. Four groups - nonpartisan but distinctly liberal - say the rules of the campaign finance law don't apply to them, a claim no one is disputing.

    NARAL Pro-Choice America, the Planned Parenthood Action Fund, the League of Conservation Voters and the Defenders of Wildlife Action Fund can be on the air attacking Bush and promoting Democrat John Kerry when most other groups can't - and at a time when voters are paying close attention to the presidential race.

    posted by Ellen Dunkel at 1:41 PM

    Kerry gets a boost in online donations 

    A surge in Internet fund-raising arrived just in time for Sen. John Kerry this month.

    The presumptive Democratic presidential nominee started March with just $2.4 million in the bank to counter the record $110 million campaign treasury amassed by President Bush, according to the monthly campaign finance report Kerry filed Saturday with the Federal Election Commission.

    Kerry's financial outlook improved quickly after he swept the Super Tuesday primaries March 2. He has collected at least $14 million online since then, and is challenging donors to give an additional $5 million to $6 million this week.

    Next week, Kerry will start a national fund-raising tour aimed at raising $15 million to $20 million more by early May.

    posted by Ellen Dunkel at 12:48 PM



    This blog is compiled and edited by:

  • Ellen Dunkel, producer for Knight Ridder Digital's National Desk.
  • John Murrell, minister of information for SiliconValley.com.

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    Over the course of the campaign, this blog was titled Hot Off The Trail and featured entries from Knight Ridder reporters.

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