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US candidates on swing-state tour

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US candidates on swing-state tour

US presidential candidates George W Bush and John Kerry are continuing to tour states that may hold the key to victory in the election on 2 November.

Mr Kerry is in the west, visiting Nevada and Colorado on Friday.

Mr Bush is further east, starting with a second day's campaigning in Pennsylvania, before moving on to Ohio and Florida.

Mr Kerry has asked Al Gore, defeated by Mr Bush in 2000, to campaign with him in Florida this weekend.

Mr Gore is seen by many Democrats as the personification of an election they feel was stolen, and as such could be useful in bringing out the vote.

On Thursday, after taking part in a carefully staged Ohio goose hunt, Mr Kerry re-emerged at a rally in Columbus alongside Dana Reeve, widow of Christopher Reeve, the late, crippled star of the Superman films.

Mr Kerry again stressed his support for stem-cell research and criticised Mr Bush's "extreme political ideology that slows instead of advances science".

Mr Bush was in neighbouring Pennsylvania, where he mocked his rival's hunting trip: "He can run - he can even run in [camouflage] - but he cannot hide."

The president told a rally that Mr Kerry "would move America down the road to federal control of health care which would lead to lower quality and health care rationing".

He, by contrast, would "lower costs and give more control and choices to the American people".

Wives' 'row'

Laura Bush, the president's wife, has played down a row with John Kerry's wife, Teresa Heinz Kerry, 66, who had said of the First Lady: "I don't know that she's ever had a real job."

Mrs Bush said: "It doesn't matter to me. It was perfectly all right. She apologised and she didn't even really need to apologise."

In an interview with Reuters news agency, she said her husband had "really great intuition", but disputed reports he made "gut instinct" decisions.

The president talked at "great length" with advisers, Mrs Bush said.

Separately, campaign finance monitors said the 2004 campaign would be the most expensive on record - costing about $3.9bn, up from $3bn in the last presidential election.

Larry Noble, executive director of the Center for Responsive Politics, said: "The biggest reason is the increase in giving by individuals to candidates and parties."

Story from BBC NEWS:


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