John Kerry on the Campaign Trail

In a post-event availability, Kerry responded to the news of day, pushing back a Newsweek report on his connections to Democratic fundraiser Johnny Chung. Kerry stood before the "Plane Jane" and stated blankly of the charge, "This is old news. It's been fully vetted. It was investigated and the moment we learned anything about that contribution, we returned the entire contribution. It's one of the reasons why I have been such an advocate of campaign finance reform."

As for rival Democrat Howard Dean accepting Kerry's earlier challenge to a one-on-one debate, the Senator demurred, "We're in a seven-state primary. I don't have the time right now, very simple, and we have another couple of states after that suddenly. I have a schedule."

Pat Healy of the Boston Globe challenged, "But you have a down day on Wednesday."

The Senator quickly shot back, "I need it. So do you."

Seemingly undaunted by the below-the-donut temperatures, Kerry dodged a commitment to return to the Peace Garden State if and when a fall campaign occurs; Kerry did, however, pledge to local television stations that if he were to win the presidency, he will return to North Dakota during his first term.

Kerry leads into the Feb. 3 contests with a swing through the Southwest, hitting New Mexico and Arizona for the first time in months. On E-Day, the Senator will stop in Washington State before jaunting back to Boston for a brief day of rest.

The Kerry campaign continues to advertise in all Feb. 3 states, rotating veterans-centered ads in North Dakota and South Carolina and Spanish language ads in Arizona and New Mexico.

On Monday in New Mexico, Kerry will receive the endorsement of New York Attorney General Elliot Spitzer. Over the weekend, Kerry picked up the endorsements of Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm, Rep. Sander Levin, and Washington Gov. Gary Locke.

Miss-sur-e/Miss-ser-ah

ST. LOUIS, Mo., Jan 28—No longer able to quibble over the semantics of being labeled the frontrunner, Sen. Kerry boarded "Elaine," a 737 green and purple striped Miami Air charter bound not for the sun-filled fun of South Beach but instead cruising west toward the bellweather state of Missouri.

Once aboard, Communications Director and Gore campaign veteran David Morehouse faced his first critical decision of the flight. Choosing among Matrix Revolutions, Hulk, School of Rock, Master and Commander, and Daddy Dare Care, Morehouse reflected on his immense political experience and made the call: School of Rock it would be.

So it was that Jack Black, who has headlined fundraisers for Kerry's rival Senator John Edwards, displayed his antics on movie screens throughout the cabin as the Senator held court over the ever-burgeoning traveling press corps.

As Kerry began his 6-day, 7-state charge toward the third of February, he remarked, attempting to lower expectations by the sentence, "We're going in strong. We're going in in pretty decent shape, call it competitive -- it's the best way to put it. I'm going in in a competitive position."

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