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POLITICS IN BRIEF

Heinz Kerry: Bush unwilling to change

Teresa Heinz Kerry said yesterday that President Bush is unwilling to change, a character flaw that shows ''inattention and indifference" rather than strength. Speaking to the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, the wife of Democratic Senator John F. Kerry said her husband is a more capable leader who would respond to issues important to Hispanics, something she said the Republican incumbent has not done. She said of her husband, ''His value in understanding complexity and not being afraid to face it and take action and follow through have been a trademark throughout his life." Of Bush, the Republican-turned-Democrat said the president ''demonstrates he cannot and will not change." (AP)

Republicans tune with mock debates

President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney have been sparring with mock-debate partners since midsummer, getting ready for Democrats John F. Kerry and John Edwards. In late July, Bush began practicing with Senator Judd Gregg, Republican of New Hampshire, inside the White House residence, officials said. Gregg also played Al Gore in debate preparation in 2000. Cheney started debate rehearsal in early August, jousting with Representative Rob Portman, an Ohio Republican and longtime Bush family friend. The Commission on Presidential Debates has proposed three presidential faceoffs and one vice presidential debate from Sept. 30 to Oct. 13. (AP)

Colleges' grade low in registering voters

The semester just started at most schools, but the grade is already in for more than a third of the nation's colleges on the assignment of helping to register young voters -- a C or worse. Harvard University's Institute of Politics and The Chronicle of Higher Education sent surveys to 815 colleges and universities in August to determine whether they met the spirit of the Higher Education Act. Passed in 1998, the law requires any university receiving federal funds to request sufficient voter registration forms for its entire campus four months before registration deadlines. Some 249 schools responded to the survey, released yesterday. Seventeen percent met the requirement. (AP)

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