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Kerry to Continue Campaigning During First Days of Convention

Kerry spoke Monday about innovative ways he would lead the country during a town-hall meeting at the Kennedy Space Center. The candidate cited the importance of fostering scientific advances, providing health coverage for the uninsured, and repairing America’s image abroad.

“We need to modernize our health care system and push the boundaries of medical exploration,” Kerry said. “We can use technology and the promise of discovery to strengthen our health care system and help millions of Americans.”

He also promised the kind of statesmanship that could roll back the hatred of America which he said was caused by President Bush’s military approach to the war on terror.

A Florida poll published Sunday put Kerry and President Bush in a statistical dead heat, with Kerry receiving support from 47 percent of those polled, Mr. Bush 44 percent and independent Ralph Nader three percent.

The telephone poll of likely voters was conducted July 15-19 by the independent firm Research 2000 for the South Florida Sun-Sentinel and The Florida Times-Union.

Kerry returned to the campaign trail Monday after a brief surprise appearance at a Yankees-Red Sox game Sunday night in Boston where he threw out the first pitch.

A mixture of cheers and boos greeted Kerry as he threw a pitch that sank before getting to the catcher.

Kerry did not tell the reporters traveling with him that they were going to the game in Boston until they were already en route. He was originally scheduled to fly directly from Ohio to Florida, but had secretly arranged for the Boston detour.

“The idea of missing a Yankees-Red Sox series right before a convention week was not acceptable, so we changed the policy,” Kerry told reporters on the plane.

During Kerry’s seven-day pre-convention he is visiting “historic cities that symbolize the American spirit and values,” according to the campaign.

The trip began Friday in Aurora, Colo., where Kerry was born. The trip also included stops in Sioux City, Iowa and Columbus, Ohio. After traveling to Cape Canaveral, Fla., Kerry will also visit Norfolk, Va., and Philadelphia, Pa. before heading to Boston.

While campaigning in the battleground state of Ohio on Sunday, he spoke with Columbus residents as part of his “front porch” visits with Americans, telling them “I am here today to talk with you about the economic challenges facing this state and this city and what we can do together to give new life to your dreams.”

As Kerry’s trip continues Monday night, most political observers will be focused on Boston, where the first evening of the convention will be underway. Former Presidents Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter will speak along with Sen. Hillary Clinton, and Former Vice President Al Gore.

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