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Kerry makes seventh trip to Minnesota - this time to Metrodome
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An estimated 30,000 people showed up for the rally with John Kerry outside of the Metrodome. (MPR Photo/Tom Scheck)
Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry held a rally in Minneapolis Thursday night in front of an estimated crowd of 30,000 people. Kerry used the event to motivate his supporters to make sure that a Democratic presidential candidate wins Minnesota for the eighth straight time. Recent polling shows Kerry with a narrow lead in Minnesota, but Republicans say the state is changing and Kerry's stance on the war on terrorism is unpopular with voters.

Minneapolis, Minn. — Minnesota voters are getting plenty of attention this week from the Kerry and Bush campaigns. President Bush was in Rochester on Wednesday. John Kerry's running mate, John Edwards, was on the Iron Range on Tuesday.

Last night, John Kerry spoke to thousands of cheering supporters outside of the Metrodome. It didn't take Kerry long to warm up the crowd on this brisk night. Kerry offered a litany of problems he blames on the president, including a sputtering economy, rising health care costs and for the problems in Iraq.

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Image A final word

"This president has a record he can't run on, he has a record he can run away from and that's exactly what he's doing," Kerry said.

The event was by far the largest of any of Kerry's seven visits to Minnesota this year. And the partisan crowd seemed to eat up every attack on President Bush.

Kerry says Bush failed to take the necessary action to capture Osama Bin Laden in Afghanistan. He says the president should have relied on a greater number of U.S. troops in Afghanistan instead of Afghan warlords.

"Not using the most trained military in the world, that was hungry and itching to avenge us for what happened in New York and Washington and Pennsylvania. That was a a colossal failure of leadership and judgment by a president of the United States," he said.

Kerry says worker take-home pay has decreased during the Bush presidency. He also says Bush fought a proposed extension in unemployment benefits and is the first president in modern times to change the nation's overtime rules. Kerry says, if elected, he would remember the concerns of middle class and low income workers. At the end of his speech, Kerry told the crowd that their homework was to door-knock, man telephone banks and convince neighbors to vote for Kerry.

"Tell them that the deficit and what happens to our children is on the ballot on November 2nd. Tell them that Social Security and whether we save it and make it strong for the next generation is on the ballot. Tell them that our character as a country and our ability to take care of our children and have a decent education and lift our schools up is on the ballot," Kerry said.

Both the Kerry and Bush campaigns are rallying their loyal supporters to do as much as possible on their behalf. Both candidates traveled to their core party bases this week. Bush was in Rochester, a heavily Republican area while Kerry spoke in Hennepin County, where more Democrats voted in 2000 than any other county in the state.

After Kerry's speech, several supporters say Kerry's speech was encouraging. Roberta Zeug, a nutrition scientist at the University of Minnesota, was happy to hear Kerry say that the U.S. can't drill itself out of its energy problems and should focus on renewable energy.

"I also really liked what he said about our dependence on foreign oil. That he was thinking, that he actually said it for the first time, that maybe we need to look to science instead of our dependence on foreign oil," Zeug said.

Dennis Anderson of Oakdale says he likes Kerry's approach regarding foreign policy. Anderson, who was wearing a medal from Vietnam and a USS Kittyhawk hat, says Kerry would be better skilled at foreign diplomacy.

"We have a lot of friends in the world and George Bush has done a lot to alienate those people. We live on this planet together. We can't use our arrogance because we have military and economic might in this country," he said.

Kerry's critics maintain it would send the wrong message to elect Kerry during the war in Iraq. Republican Congressman John Kline held a news conference with some military family members several hours before Kerry arrived in Minneapolis. Kline, who is a retired Marine colonel, says voters should look at Kerry's voting record to see how he would handle the military as president.

"His record in the United State Senate of voting defense budgets, of voting against weapons systems that we need, of voting against the intelligence community that we're now so dependent on give an indication of what that might be an frankly that's just not a risk that we in the United States and we in Minnesota can take," Kline said.

The parade of presidential ticket visits continues on Friday when Vice President Dick Cheney stops in Rosemount.

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