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POLITICS IN BRIEF

Kerry apologizes to 3 former aides

CONCORD -- John F. Kerry called three former aides yesterday to apologize for saying his campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination will be "better off" without them. The Massachusetts senator made the calls hours after he said in an interview that the firing of campaign manager Jim Jordan on Sunday proved his ability to make tough decisions. Within days of Jordan's dismissal, Kerry's press secretary and deputy finance director quit. "When you change one person, it is not at all unusual that a couple of people that person hired, that I barely know, who are not really involved with me, decide to go," Kerry said. Separately, Teresa Heinz Kerry told reporters in Boston that if her husband loses, she believes he will not run again. "I think this is his one shot at it," she said. "I don't think that he would do it again." (AP)

Washington, D.C.

Edwards targets Iowa in new TV ad

Democratic presidential contender John Edwards, who trails his top rivals in Iowa, yesterday aired his second ad this week in the early caucus state. The new 30-second commercial focuses on the North Carolina senator's proposal to restore jobs lost under President Bush. Edwards favors blocking unfair trade agreements and eliminating tax cuts for companies that move jobs overseas. "Did you know that we're in an economic recovery right now? What they call a `jobless economic recovery.' Where I grew up, if you don't have a job, you don't have a recovery," Edwards told residents at a town hall meeting in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. (AP)

Clark opts to stick with public funds

Democratic hopeful Wesley K. Clark, who flirted with the idea of skipping public financing of his campaign despite a late fund-raising start, announced yesterday he will stay within the system. The decision means Clark will be limited to $45 million in overall primary spending and will face state-to-state spending caps. He will be eligible for up to about $19 million in government funding for his campaign. Clark, who started his campaign in late September, raised $3.5 million in the first two weeks. He expects to raise at least $6 million in the current fund-raising quarter, which runs from October through December. That would have him finishing the year with less than half the amount that money front-runners Howard Dean and John F. Kerry have raised.

(AP)

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