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Wednesday, July 28, 2004 - Page updated at 12:00 A.M.
Convention digest: Smith talks up Kerry as key to "responsible leadership"
Smith, D-Tacoma, was one of 30 speakers including senators, House members and labor leaders who addressed delegates briefly in the non-prime-time hours between 4 and 7 p.m. ET.
The Washington congressman gave a short pep talk for Kerry, saying the Massachusetts senator would bring vision back to the White House. He said Kerry would promote a clean environment and increase benefits for veterans.
"I know the difference responsible leadership means to our country," Smith said.
He told the story of loading trucks for UPS to help pay his tuition and become the first member of his family to graduate from college.
His father, a ramp serviceman at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport who died when Smith was 19, had insurance benefits through the Machinists union that ensured Smith could afford to stay in school. Smith graduated from Fordham University in 1987 and from the University of Washington Law School in 1990.
"This campaign, this cause, this fight, is our chance to give [our children] the future our families worked a lifetime to give us," Smith said. "It's our chance to make John Kerry the next president of the United States."
Kerry, ex-crewmates to arrive on water taxi
Democratic National Convention headliner John Kerry plans to make his grand entrance into Boston this morning via water taxi.
Kerry, who commanded a Navy swift boat in the Vietnam War, will travel across Boston Harbor to Charlestown Navy Yard with several of his former crewmates.
Gubernatorial candidate and King County Executive Ron Sims is a delegate, but he's not your average delegate. While Sims said he's enjoying the excitement of the convention and the political speeches, the real point for him is fund raising. Parties and meetings pack his schedule.
He's meeting with Democratic leaders, especially members of the Congressional Black Caucus, hoping to get money and support for his underdog bid to become the Democratic nominee for governor. The front-runner, Attorney General Christine Gregoire, decided to skip the convention, in part so she could stay home and raise money.
Union chief says Kerry loss could fuel change
The head of the largest union in the AFL-CIO says the labor movement is in crisis and might be more motivated to change if Democrat John Kerry is not elected president, even though he doesn't want to chance it by keeping George W. Bush in the White House.
Andy Stern, president of Service Employees International Union, with 1.6 million members, said in an interview Monday with The Washington Post that the effort he is leading to restructure organized labor would lose momentum under a Democratic president.
Asked if a Kerry presidency would help or hurt the internal union deliberations about change, Stern said, "I think it hurts."
Some labor leaders quickly disagreed.
"Ridiculous," said Teamsters President James P. Hoffa. "I think it's divisive ... and I think the best thing to do is just disregard his comments."
A statement from AFL-CIO President John Sweeney said Kerry "is going to be a great president for working families."
Republicans distribute Kerry clean-suit photo
Republicans distributed a photo of Democratic candidate John Kerry wearing a head-to-toe protective suit yesterday in comparison to a famously unflattering photograph of Michael Dukakis in a tank that helped sink his presidential bid in 1988.
Late-night comedians made fun of the picture and President Bush's re-election campaign e-mailed it under the caption "Earth to Kerry." "Bubble Boy," read the headline on the front page of the Boston Herald, a newspaper that has not been a supporter of Kerry.
The photograph was taken Monday at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Fla., when Kerry and astronauts-turned-U.S.-senators John Glenn of Ohio and Bill Nelson of Florida were required by NASA to wear the clean suits to tour the Discovery shuttle, scheduled to launch in March.
The 1988 picture of the large tank with Dukakis' helmeted head sticking out of the gun turret was the butt of many jokes.
Most voters uncertain where Kerry stands on key issues, poll finds
WASHINGTON A majority of voters say they know little about John Kerry's positions on key issues, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.
The survey found that Kerry and President Bush remain virtually deadlocked, with 48 percent of registered voters supporting Bush and 46 percent Kerry. Independent candidate Ralph Nader won 3 percent. In mid-June, Kerry held a four-point lead over Bush and was tied with Bush in a Post survey two weeks ago.
More than half 54 percent say they are unfamiliar with Kerry's positions; only one in four is similarly uncertain about where Bush stands. Nearly half of all Democrats 46 percent and a majority of political independents say they are not sure what Kerry stands for.
In virtually every measure tested, Kerry's image has eroded in recent weeks. He has lost his double-digit advantage over Bush as the candidate viewed by voters as more honest and more understanding of their problems.
The president also is now seen by voters as the candidate who better reflects their values and has increased his advantage as better able to keep the country safe and secure. The proportion of voters who rate Kerry as "too liberal" has increased, rising from 36 percent in June to 40 percent.
A total of 1,202 randomly selected adults were interviewed July 22-25 for this survey. Margin of sampling error for the overall results is plus or minus 3 percentage points.
Local TV viewership of network coverage tops national average
A slightly higher percentage of local viewers tuned in to network coverage of the Democratic National Convention on Monday night than the national average, according to overnight Nielsen ratings.
About 11.1 percent approximately 187,035 households of the Seattle-Tacoma market watched convention coverage on KING, KOMO or KIRO. KING drew nearly half those viewers, with a 5.3 rating, followed by KOMO with a 3.6 rating and KIRO with a 2.2 rating. A rating is the percentage of total households in a market that have televisions.
Nationally, about 10 percent or more than 10 million of the country's households followed the convention on one of the three major networks. CBS had a 3.4 rating in the overnights, followed by ABC and NBC at 3.3 each.
Meanwhile, PBS, which aired three hours of coverage compared with the other networks' one hour, drew a 2.4 average rating. KCTS averaged a 2.2 rating locally during its coverage.
Seattle Times staff reporter Pamela Sitt contributed to this report.
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