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Monday, August 30, 2004 - Page updated at 12:00 A.M.

Campaign Notebook
Kerry to keep low profile this week


LAURA RAUCH / AP
Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry and his wife, Teresa Heinz Kerry, arrive at St. Mary's Our Lady of the Isle Catholic Church in Nantucket, Mass., yesterday.
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NANTUCKET, Mass. — John Kerry reached his island retreat at 2 a.m. local time yesterday, after taking a red-eye flight from Seattle on his campaign jet, for a week of ceding the political spotlight to President Bush.

Bush did the same for Kerry during the Democratic convention in Boston, staying largely out of sight at his Texas ranch. This week, while the president campaigns through battleground states and accepts the Republican Party nomination Thursday in New York City, Kerry has a quieter agenda. He'll kite-surf the Nantucket Sound breezes, ride his $6,000, U.S.-made racing bicycle and dine with wife Teresa Heinz Kerry at restaurants in this old whaling port.

Kerry's sole campaign outing will be a trip to Nashville to address the American Legion national convention Wednesday. Bush will be there tomorrow.

Aides to Kerry describe the stay as a "working vacation" because he'll get daily staff briefings on policy and will work on speeches.

First lady won't label anti-Kerry ads unfair

WASHINGTON — First lady Laura Bush said yesterday that campaign advertisements accusing Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry of lying about his Vietnam War record were not unfair.

In an interview with Time magazine released yesterday, Mrs. Bush said ads by a group called Swift Boat Veterans for Truth criticizing Kerry were no different from attack ads that have been aimed at President Bush.

"Do I think they're unfair? Not really. There have been millions of terrible ads against my husband," Mrs. Bush told Time.

The Kerry campaign criticized Mrs. Bush's remarks and accused the Bush organization of coordinating with the Swift Boat Veterans, which is barred under campaign finance rules.

"Mrs. Bush's statement in support of the Swift Boat smear ads is more sad evidence that these attacks have been coordinated from the top down at the White House," Kerry spokeswoman Stephanie Cutter said.

The Bush campaign has denied colluding with the Swift Boat Veterans on the ads.
 
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Last week, a top lawyer for the Bush campaign, Benjamin Ginsberg, resigned after disclosing he was providing legal advice to the veterans group.

President woos miners, steelworkers in West Virginia

WHEELING, W.Va. — President Bush portrayed himself as a friend of steelworkers and miners in West Virginia yesterday on the eve of a Republican National Convention likely to spotlight his domestic policies.

At a raucous campaign rally in Wheeling, a manufacturing hub sandwiched between the swing states of Ohio and Pennsylvania, Bush lambasted Democratic John Kerry as a tax-and-spend liberal who has flip-flopped about his commitment to West Virginia's coal industry and exhibited "upside-down logic" toward the war on terrorism.

"We've been through a recession, we've been through corporate scandals, and we've been through ... a terror attack. And yet we've overcome these obstacles. We've overcome them because we've got great workers in America," Bush said to the roar of an estimated 10,000 supporters, many of them waving large blue and yellow "W's".

The Wheeling rally was part of a weeklong tour of key states leading up to Bush's arrival at the convention in New York on Wednesday. The president, appearing without a jacket or tie, met privately with half a dozen unionized steelworkers, including a registered Democrat who introduced him to the audience as a "man of steel" who had saved jobs by slapping 30 percent tariffs on steel imports in 2002 and 2003.

Bush also drew attention to his administration's support of clean-coal technology, regarded as a linchpin of the industry's future, by describing a 160 percent rise to $447 million in clean-coal research spending as evidence of his commitment to make the United States less dependent on Middle Eastern oil.

"I'm running against a fellow who is kind of shifting. A while ago he said coal is a dirty source of energy. Then he decided he wanted to come to your state, and knock on your door. And then he said, now, well, I am for legislation that is supporting clean-coal technology," Bush said of Kerry.

Meanwhile, the Kerry campaign issued statements accusing Bush of undermining the steel industry by abruptly scrapping his tariffs last December, 16 months ahead of schedule. The Kerry camp said Bush also has underfunded clean-coal technology and cut funding for mine safety.

Convention confetti pictures Bush, Cheney

NEW YORK — Pictures of President Bush will rain down on Republican National Convention delegates Thursday night after he accepts their nomination for a second term.

The president's picture and those of his wife, Laura, and Vice President Dick Cheney and his wife, Lynne, adorn hundreds of pounds of confetti that will be dropped along with 120,000 balloons and streamers during the convention's closing minutes.

The confetti was made by the Sunnyvale, Calif.-based company Confoti, which uses digital imagery to create confetti pictures.

Kennedy kin Shriver to be at convention

NEW YORK — Maria Shriver — niece of Ted, Bobby and John F. Kennedy, and needless to say a Democrat — will be a spectator at the GOP convention this week.

Shriver will be on the convention floor tomorrow night to watch her husband, California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, give his prime-time speech.

"This is something that only Schwarzenegger could probably do, have one of the Kennedys attend a Republican convention," said delegate Josh Valdez of Los Angeles.

Shriver is refusing interviews and leaving the convention quickly after Schwarzenegger's speech without participating in public events.

"She's the wife of the governor and is going to be there to see him give one of the biggest speeches of his life, and it's very important for them as a family," said Schwarzenegger spokesman Rob Stutzman.

This isn't Shriver's first GOP convention. As a journalist for NBC she attended several, said spokeswoman Terri Carbaugh.

Kerry would offer Iran a deal, Edwards says

WASHINGTON — A John Kerry administration would propose to Iran that the Islamic state be allowed to keep its nuclear-power plants in exchange for giving up the right to retain the nuclear fuel that could be used for bomb-making, Democratic vice presidential nominee John Edwards said in an interview yesterday.

Edwards said if Iran failed to take what he called a "great bargain," it would essentially confirm that it is building nuclear weapons under the cover of a supposedly peaceful nuclear-power initiative. He said that Kerry would ensure European allies were prepared to join the United States in levying heavy sanctions if Iran rejected the proposal.

Edwards' notion of proposing such a bargain with Iran, combined with Kerry's statement last December that he was prepared to explore "areas of mutual interest" with Iran, suggest Kerry would take a sharply different approach with Iran than Bush would.

The United States has not had diplomatic relations with Iran since its 1979 revolution, and Bush has lumped Iran as part of an "axis of evil" that included North Korea and the former government of Iraq. He has said Iran "must abandon her nuclear ambitions."

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