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KWAME HOLMAN: Democratic front- runner John Kerry and rival John Edwards both campaigned in Ohio today, the third largest of the ten states holding contests tomorrow. Kerry began his day in Maryland, where he attacked President Bush and his war on terrorism.
SEN. JOHN KERRY: I don’t think we democrats or independents or moderate thoughtful Republicans ought to shy away for a moment from standing up in front of America and making it clear that there is a better way to make America safe than this president has chosen. This president has in fact created terrorists where they didn’t exist.
KWAME HOLMAN: Polls show Kerry with a lead over Edwards in Maryland, and in the other Super Tuesday states as well, by wide margins in most. Edwards has tried to cut into that lead by sharpening what he says are differences between Kerry and himself. Yesterday during a New York City debate sponsored by CBS News and the New York Times, Edwards said Kerry’s spending plans would increase the federal budget deficit.
SEN. JOHN EDWARDS: He overspends in terms of being able to pay for all his proposals, he overspends by $165 billion in his first term, which means he would drive us deeper and deeper into deficit. My point is very simple about all this: This is the same old Washington talk that people have been listening to for decades.
KWAME HOLMAN: Kerry reminded Edwards where he works.
SEN. JOHN KERRY: Last time I looked, John ran for the United States Senate, and he’s been in the Senate for the last five years. That seems to me to be Washington, D.C.
KWAME HOLMAN: The hour-long debate also included Congressman Dennis Kucinich and the Reverend Al Sharpton, who occasionally had to fight for air-time.
REV. AL SHARPTON: I want us to be able to respond for tell us it a two-way debate.
SEN. JOHN KERRY: This is my turn.
KWAME HOLMAN: On the campaign trail in Toledo, Ohio, today, Edwards was asked if he was hurting the Democrats’ chances in the November election by staying in the race.
SEN. JOHN EDWARDS: No, I think exactly the opposite. What I have seen happening in the country is as long as there is a serious substantive discussion going on among Democrats, which is what we’ve seen the last few weeks between Senator Kerry and myself, we get a lot of attention from the American people. And it’s harder for George Bush to get attention. That’s I think part of the reason that both myself and John Kerry are beating President Bush nationally in the polls.
KWAME HOLMAN: Edwards said he needs to win a substantial number of delegates, but plans to stay in the race regardless of the outcomes tomorrow. Meanwhile, Kerry told a Boston television station he was taking nothing for granted, and that the fight for the nomination could go well beyond Tuesday.