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In the Spotlight

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News Headlines
News & Features
Campaign 2004

Candidate Bio
John Kerry
Political affiliation:
Democratic Party
December 11, 1943
Denver, Colorado
Married to Teresa Heinz; two daughters --Alexandra and Vanessa. Three stepchildren. Catholic.
U.S. Senator
Bachelor's degree, Yale University, 1966; law degree, Boston College, 1976.
Navy officer, awarded Silver Star, Bronze Star with Combat "V," three Purple Hearts for Vietnam War service, 1966-70; spokesman, Vietnam Veterans Against the War, 1971; Middlesex County, Mass., prosecutor, 1976-78; lawyer in private practice, 1979-1982; Massachusetts Lieutenant governor, 1983-85; U.S. Senate, 1985-present.
On the Issues
Audio Final presidential debate (10/13/04)
George W. Bush and John Kerry debated in Tempe, Arizona.
Audio Second presidential debate (10/8/04)
George W. Bush and John Kerry held their second debate in St. Louis, Mo.
Audio Vice presidential debate, Cleveland, Ohio (10/5/04)
John Edwards and Dick Cheney meet in their only debate.
Audio First presidential debate, Miami, Florida (9/30/04)
George W. Bush and John Kerry's first of three debates.
Audio Johnston, Iowa (1/4/04)
Seven Democratic candidates debated, two weeks before the Iowa caucuses.
Audio New Hampshire (12/9/03)
Eight of the Democratic candidates ganged up on front-runner Howard Dean
Audio NY Debate (9/25/03)
Ten Democratic candidates for president debate in New York, sponsored by MSNBC.
Audio Highlights
Links and Resources
Web site:
Document johnkerry.com
Minnesota Web site:
Document johnkerrymn.com
Campaign Blog:
Document blog.johnkerry.com
Campaign contributors:
Document Political Money Line
Document Federal Election Commission
Candidate Pages

John Kerry

U.S. Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., won the Democratic nomination for president in July, the only Democrat left standing in a field that at one time numbered 10. In winning the nomination, Kerry survived several shake-ups of his campaign after former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean spent most of 2003 as the frontrunner. But the Iowa caucuses, and an ill-timed scream, doomed Dean, and forced out Sen. Richard Gephardt. And Kerry rolled on Super Tuesday, forcing his primary competitor, Sen. John Edwards, out of the race. In June, Kerry named Edwards his choice for vice president.

Kerry did not get a large bounce after the Democratic National Convention in Boston, and then in late August, the Republican Convention in New York, coupled with a strong ad campaign by Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, heavily damaged Kerry, who never recovered from a sharp drop in the polls, even though the final election result was close.

Minnesota delegates bring convention enthusiasm back home
Minnesota Democrats are returning home after wrapping up the four-day Democratic National Convention in Boston. The convention ended Thursday evening, after Sen. John Kerry accepted the party's nomination for president. Minnesota delegates uniformly cheered Kerry's remarks -- but the event is only the first step in what's sure to be a tough three months.
Kerry defines himself as a soldier, father and man of values
Soldier, father and man of values - John Kerry sought to define himself Thursday night to an American public still unfamiliar with the Democrat determined to replace President Bush. Kerry accepted his party's nomination in the embrace of an adoring hometown crowd, an affectionate introduction by his two daughters and a loyal lineup of fellow Vietnam veterans.
Pro-choice Catholics in Democratic delegation feel the heat
Sen. John Kerry is just the third Catholic ever nominated to be president of the United States. In 1928, Al Smith, and again in 1960, Sen. John F. Kennedy -- both Democrats -- had to answer questions from voters about the role of their religion in governing. Now, some politicians are answering the same question, but this time it's coming from their church.
Convention speeches from John Edwards and others
We feature the best speeches from the third night of the Democratic National Convention, including the remarks of vice presidential hopeful John Edwards.
MPR coverage of the 2004 Democratic National Convention
The Democratic National Convention met was held in Boston July 26-29, 2004. The convention nominated John Kerry to run for president. In this special section, MPR News explored several facets of the Democratic politics, you can also hear all the major speeches, and read the Editor's Notebook, a convention blog.
Kerry nominated; Edwards revives theme of two Americas
Sen. John Kerry collected the Democratic presidential nomination late Wednesday, as delegates to the party convention cast their votes for him. Kerry, a four-term Massachusetts senator, was in his Boston hotel when convention delegates formally bestowed the prize he won in a series of primaries and caucuses last winter and spring. He will deliver his acceptance speech Thursday evening. His running mate, Sen. John Edwards, spoke Wednesday night, reviving his primary campaign theme of two Americas -- one for the rich, and one for everyone else.
Kucinich delegates: What to do?
As the hour grew near to nominate John Kerry as the Democratic presidential candidate, about 60 delegates, including nine Minnesotans, struggled to find a way to show party unity and still express their support for Rep. Dennis Kucinich. Kucinich has urged supporters to back Kerry, but some delegates are leaning toward simply calling themselves "present" during the vote Wednesday night.
House Democrats on the back shelf at convention
In Washington, they're big dogs. But at the Democratic National Convention the party's House members can barely get a bone, relegated to early speaking slots with little television exposure and scant attention because of the single-minded focus on beating President Bush.
Minnesota DFLers united despite differences
Democrats in Boston have approved a new platform that more than doubles the space given to defense and foreign policy issues. It also touches on the controversial issues of abortion rights and gay and lesbian unions. But despite the tangle of thorny issues, Minnesota delegates say they are unified behind Sens. John Kerry and John Edwards in a way that they haven't been in recent years.
Delegates from elsewhere have advice for Minnesota Democrats
In 2000, the Minnesota delegation was seated in the risers as Democrats nominated Vice President Al Gore for the presidency in Los Angeles' Staples Center. This year, Minnesota Democrats have a front-row seat at Boston's Fleet Center. Many factors affect a delegation's seating, but one of them is likely the state's status as a newly-minted battleground state.
Heinz Kerry touts husband's character; Obama wows the delegates
Democrats assailed President Bush's handling of the Iraq war Tuesday night and painted a vivid portrait of John Kerry as a decorated war hero. "He earned his medals the old-fashioned way, by putting his life on the line," Teresa Heinz Kerry told the party's national convention.
Courting the veterans vote
Delegates to the Democratic National Convention in Boston are hearing an emphasis on Sen. John Kerry's war record. Convention organizers are hoping to portray Kerry as someone strong on defense. But it may be a tough sell among at least one group of voters -- veterans.
Democrats sell themselves as the party of strength
Democrats have wrestled their message down to one word: strength. A strong economy. Strong community. All under the vision of a strong leader. They can't use the word or its variations enough at their national convention. They used it 106 times in the text of the platform they were adopting in Boston on Tuesday, a document called "Strong at Home: Respected in the World."
Clinton assails Bush, issues call to send Kerry to White House
Bill Clinton stirred the opening night of the Democratic National Convention Monday with a summons to send John Kerry to the White House, accusing President Bush of botching both the economy and the war on terror. "Strength and wisdom are not opposing values," the former president said sarcastically of the man who followed him into office. He said Republicans "need a divided America, but we don't."
Kerry officials push positive spin on tight Midwest races
As the Democratic National Convention officially opened in Boston on Monday, strategists for Sen. John Kerry's campaign in the Midwest attempted to minimize the strong showing in Minnesota polls by President George Bush in a state that historically has been a Democratic stronghold.

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