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KWAME HOLMAN: Front-running Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry campaigned in Maine today, ahead of its caucus on Sunday. He picked up an endorsement from the governor. John Baldacci phoned it in after being injured in a car crash yesterday.
JOHN BALDACCI: Senator Kerry is my choice as the next president of the United States. (Cheers and applause)
SEN. JOHN KERRY: Thank you, governor, and we’re all sending you our best wishes that you’re feeling better.
KWAME HOLMAN: Kerry offered Maine voters some instructions for this weekend’s contest.
SEN. JOHN KERRY: I ask you to go out of here today, if you want this change, if you want these fights, if you want us to get control of and reclaim our own democracy in the United States of America again, and get the big money out of American politics and restore people’s voices to the halls of government, then we need to do the work between now and Sunday to do what we need to do at those caucuses. And I ask each and every one of you to do it.
KWAME HOLMAN: Meanwhile, Howard Dean targeted Washington state and Michigan. Both have caucuses Saturday. Speaking near Detroit, Dean talked about the perils of being the front-runner.
HOWARD DEAN: I know all about being the front-runner because I was for a long time. And when you’re the front-runner, the media is going to absolutely pelt you, and so is everybody else. And sooner or later people are going to see and get to know candidates well, and when they do, they’re going to want a candidate who says what they think, who’s not afraid to stand up to the right wing of the Republican Party, and who isn’t owned by anybody.
KWAME HOLMAN: Dean has not won a single contest yet. Today, he told supporters via e- mail that Wisconsin’s primary on Feb. 17 is a must-win. Dean wrote: “All that you have worked for these past months is on the line on a single day, in a single state.” Dean added that anything less than victory there will put him out of the race. Late today, Dean canceled his remaining Michigan events and moved his staff to Wisconsin. North Carolina Sen. John Edwards focused on Virginia and Tennessee, which hold primaries Tuesday. He spoke at Tennessee State University.
SEN. JOHN EDWARDS: I came here today to ask every person in this room to vote for me on Tuesday; to reach out to your friends, your neighbors, everybody you can touch and get them to the polls on Tuesday. I wish I could take all of you and your friends and neighbors right now and go vote, because I can’t change this country alone.
KWAME HOLMAN: Retired Gen. Wesley Clark also was in Tennessee last night. He said Kerry and Edwards had supported President Bush far too often.
GEN. WESLEY CLARK (Ret.): I don’t understand how John Kerry and John Edwards can criticize George W. Bush when they voted with him 70 percent of the time since he’s been president. Now that’s what I’m talking about: Washington politicians. I guess — I like them; I understand them; but I’m running for president because I’m not a Washington politician, and I’m not ever going to be. (Applause)
KWAME HOLMAN: Congressman Dennis Kucinich campaigned in Washington state today, while the Rev. Al Sharpton sought votes in Michigan.