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Kerry to speed decision on run for presidency

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Kerry to speed decision on run for presidency

By Sue Kirchhoff , Globe Staff, 11/11/2002

WASHINGTON - Senator John Kerry suggested yesterday that, barring a ''revolution'' in his family or among his advisers, he would accelerate the timetable for deciding whether to run for president in 2004.

Appearing on ABC's ''This Week,'' the Democratic senator said that even under a sped-up process, he did not plan to file a statement of candidacy with the Federal Election Commission this week, a first step toward a presidential race. Aides had called such a filing a possibility, the Globe reported in Sunday's editions.

Kerry said he first wanted to consult with family, friends, and members of the Massachusetts delegation, including Senator Edward M. Kennedy, a fellow Democrat.

''I need to sit with colleagues in my delegation. I want to sit with my senior colleague who is a wise voice in American politics,'' Kerry said.

''I want to talk with many people, and I need to do that. I want to sit with my family, and I will try to accelerate that. There is no question I will try to accelerate that,'' he said.

Asked whether he could foresee any scenario under which he would not run, Kerry responded: ''You know, I can't say at this point. I guess a revolution within my family, certainly, would stop me. Broad dissent from people that I respect, who tell me they think it's a mistake, or something.

''But my gut tells me right now, and I'll just share with you, my gut tells me that we need to speak to this country's needs,'' he said.

Kerry for months has been preparing for a possible presidential campaign, traveling to key states, meeting with advisers and honing his message in appearances such as yesterday's high-profile television interview.

On Friday, Kerry met with Democratic leaders in New Hampshire, blaming the party's losses in midterm elections last week on its inability to frame a coherent, compelling message.

He reiterated those points yesterday, criticizing the Bush administration for a go-it-alone foreign policy that undermined US efforts around the world.

Kerry, who has been one of the most outspoken critics of the Bush administration's policies on Afghanistan and Iraq, suggested that Republicans will try to cast him as unpatriotic for his stances.

He said he was dismayed that Senator Max Cleland, a Georgia Democrat and a fellow Vietnam veteran who is a triple amputee, lost his reelection race after the GOP attacked him for voting against a bill to create President Bush's Homeland Security Department. Democrats generally support the proposal, but have had reservations about Bush's request for more authority over hiring and firing federal workers in the new department.

''If they want to go that route, I'm prepared to go that route, and I've got a bunch of veterans around this country who are prepared to stand up and define patriotism in ways these guys never understood,'' Kerry said.

Kerry said Democrats needed a consistent economic policy, and recommended that Congress block future cuts scheduled under Bush's $1.6 trillion tax cut law that would mainly benefit upper-income taxpayers. Kerry wants new tax relief for middle-income taxpayers instead.

Democrats are split on the tax bill and have been divided on whether to call for a repeal or to delay some of the tax cuts.

''There is some truth to the fact that we did not speak to the average worker in America,'' Kerry said.

In order to connect with ''mainstream America,'' Kerry said, ''we have to go out and organize in a way that we didn't. We have to speak to Americans with a clarity that we didn't. We have to show leadership and guts and determination within our own party.''

This story ran on page A3 of the Boston Globe on 11/11/2002.

© Copyright 2002 Globe Newspaper Company.

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