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Inside Politics
The Morning Grind / DayAhead

Kerry, on a roll

By John Mercurio
CNN Political Unit

Singing his praise: Coldplay's Chris Martin endorses John Kerry while accepting his Grammy award Sunday night.
Singing his praise: Coldplay's Chris Martin endorses John Kerry while accepting his Grammy award Sunday night.

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DEMOCRATIC CONTESTS
Tuesday, February 10: Tennessee and Virginia primaries

Tuesday, February 17:
Wisconsin primary

When is your primary? For more key dates in the 2004 election season, see our special America Votes 2004 Election Calendar
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WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Yesterday, John Kerry won his 10th primary/caucus, all but one (Iowa) by double digits. Tomorrow, the Massachusetts liberal is poised to sail past the two Southern moderates in Tennessee and Virginia. He probably won't even break a sweat.

Today, we hear he'll win backing from Rep. Nita Lowey of New York, Sen. Jay Rockefeller of West Virginia and the Amalgamated Transit Unions (180,000 members in cities across the country). On Wednesday, even more labor backing: He'll pick up support from the Alliance for Economic Justice, a group of 18 unions that helped Dick Gephardt, well, finish fourth in Iowa. Could Gerry McEntee be far behind?

And while we haven't confirmed this, we think it's safe to report that some Wisconsin bigs are headed Kerry's way later this week.

That's all well and good. But the endorsement that put Kerry (or at least his 20- and 30-something aides) over the top last night came from Coldplay's Chris Martin (aka Mr. Gwyneth Paltrow to some), who dedicated his Record of the Year Grammy award to the late Johnny Cash and John Kerry, "who hopefully will be your president one day."

Kerry couldn't have drawn better publicity if he had staged a wardrobe malfunction with Justin Timberlake.

And so it goes, Week Four of the Kerry Comeback, which finds John Frontrunner Kerry continuing to cement his seemingly invincible aura of invincibility. His fund-raising has gone from bust to gangbusters. Three months ago, he followed a dog puppet on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno; now he's getting shout-outs at the Grammys. And, perhaps even more importantly, he's actually winning votes.

So, aren't we due for a major campaign shakeup here?

Not that we're advocating such a thing, of course. But are we the only ones who are shocked that the best the hard-working researchers at the Republican National Committee can unearth is a paper trail showing Kerry, in the past 14 years, changed his position on Iraq's chemical weapons? Do they really want to let the Democrats' war hero face their president this fall?

Stay tuned. We shouldn't say more (mostly because we don't really know much more). But we're led to believe that if Republicans have their way, this race isn't over.

Also today, Howard Dean aides told supporters they'll have until midnight to decide which one of three new "Switch2Dean" ads they think the former Vermont governor ought to run in Wisconsin on Tuesday.

The Dean campaign says it has brought in $1.13 million since the Wisconsin appeal began. Perhaps the most compelling ad, which all run 30 seconds, features a Boston Red Sox fan named Steve, who says he grew up in Massachusetts and consequently "knew a little bit about John Kerry."

"My beliefs, personally, were a little bit more in line with Howard Dean's. Most of the country thinks that it's all the same thing. Howard Dean is not all the same thing. My name's Steve. I just got laid off two weeks ago. I'm taking my country back."

"We've always said that we're a people-powered campaign. That support comes from hundreds of thousands of people, so we have the added advantage of drawing upon the wisdom and ideas of all of our supporters. In December, we put up a thread on the campaign weblog, www.blogforamerica.com, and solicited ideas for ads. The ideas were fantastic, and now we've enlisted the ad producers to help us win the all-important February 17 primary in Wisconsin," Steve McMahon, Dean's media adviser, said in a press release.


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