Kerry boosted in presidential bid

Democratic frontrunner Senator John Kerry has gathered crucial new support for his presidential campaign after a leading black politician endorsed him.

    Kerry is the Democratic frontrunner

    Kerry arrived in South Carolina on Thursday, which will hold one of seven

    primary elections and caucuses next week, and promptly received the backing of

    c

    ongressman Jim Clyburn.

    Clyburn's decision

    is a new boost to the 60-year-old senator and a blow to rival John

    Edwards, who was born in the state and has been leading in opinion

    polls there.

    At an appearance with Clyburn at a technical college just

    outside Columbia, Kerry kept up his attacks on Bush over the Iraq

    war and particularly job losses in the US economy, which have badly

    hit states like South Carolina.

    Television debate 

    The senator has made a stunning comeback in his bid to be the

    Democratic candidate to take on President George

    Bush in the 2 November presidential election, routing six

    rivals in the first two state votes.

    All seven remaining Democratic candidates are due to take part in

    their first televised debate together since Kerry's victories and

    the Massachusetts senator is expected to become the new target.

    Kerry also faces a major test in the so-called "Super Seven"

    votes on Tuesday, mainly in the southern states which are the home

    territory of rivals Senator John Edwards and retired four star

    general Wesley Clark.

    Meanwhile,

    Howard Dean has replaced his campaign manager, Joe Trippi, mastermind of

    the former Vermont governor's Internet-fuelled rise to prominence

    last year.

    Dean campaign

    He has also ordered spending cuts, following his third-place

    finish in Iowa and second place in New Hampshire this week.

    "We are having to husband our resources," said Dean, who last

    year raised more money in one year than any Democratic presidential

    candidate in history.

    "We had really geared up for what we thought was going

    to be a front-runner's campaign and it's not going to be a

    front-runner's campaign. But it's going to be a long, long war of

    attrition and we're now preparing for that"

    Howard Dean,
    Democratic presidential contender

    "We are worried about money. We want to be careful about money.

    But we are not broke," Dean told reporters as he announced that Roy

    Neel, a former advisor to ex-vice president Al Gore, had been

    brought in as campaign manager.

    Amid widespread concern about the health of his campaign, Dean

    has also asked staff to wait two weeks for their next salaries.

    Dean said: "We had really geared up for what we thought was going

    to be a front-runner's campaign and it's not going to be a

    front-runner's campaign. But it's going to be a long, long war of

    attrition and we're now preparing for that."

    Key votes 

    Dean has always billed himself as an insurgent fighting the

    Washington establishment, but the appointment of Neel is a shift to

    a power broker from the federal capital.

    Apart from South Carolina, next Tuesday's votes will be in

    another key southern state, Missouri, as well as Arizona and New

    Mexico in the west and Oklahoma and North Dakota in the mid-west.

    And on 7 February there will be caucuses in Michigan and Washington

    state.

    Dean is expected to concentrate on Missouri and Michigan, where

    he went on Thursday, because it has a higher number of delegates at

    stake.

    He said: "I am going to work like hell and we are

    going to win."

    SOURCE: AFP


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