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Edwards cites Dean campaign as example

MOULTONBOROUGH, N.H. -- Presidential hopeful John Edwards said yesterday he's raising enough money to compete in the early states and invoked Howard Dean's 2004 fund-raising totals as a cautionary tale.

"Money will not decide who the nominee's going to be," Edwards said in an interview . "Everyone will remember Governor Dean who out raised everyone else by more than 2-to-1 and wasn't able to win the nomination."

Edwards's campaign reported it raised $9 million from April through June. It's a shortfall compared to Senators Barack Obama or Hillary Rodham Clinton -- his top rivals who best him both in the polls and fund-raising tallies.

"I like very much where I am," Edwards said, taking a break from his three-day vacation with his wife and two youngest children. "Among the three of us, I'm the underdog. I'm fighting. I like that place. It's always worked very well for me. That's the story of my life."

Edwards said he's on pace to run the $40 million campaign through the early states.

"We have at least three presidential candidates on the Democratic side who have plenty money to run a serious campaign in the early states, where the nomination will be decided," he said. "We will have plenty of money. We'll have more money than we had last time, a good bit more."

Thompson energizes GOP

HOLLYWOOD, Fla. -- Not yet a 2008 candidate, Fred Thompson energized young Republicans with a speech yesterday that was heavy on rhetoric and short on policy pronouncements. He branded Democrats as "the party of despair."

Chants of "Fred" and "Run, Fred, Run," greeted the actor and former GOP senator from Tennessee from many among the 350 people at the Young Republicans National Convention. The crowd interrupted his nine-minute speech with wild applause and mobbed him when he left.

"It makes me feel like the waters are pretty warm," Thompson said afterward. He has formed an exploratory committee to gauge support for a White House run and raise money. He is expected to announce presidential campaign plans to run soon.

While he has yet to join the 10-man Republican race, he has soared in polls, taken in at least several million dollars, assembled a staff and visited early primary states New Hampshire and South Carolina. (AP)

Giuliani jeered on flat tax

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Republican presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani ran into a buzz saw of opposition yesterday when he explained his opposition to a flat federal income tax.

Giuliani addressed a group of about 500 people in a standing-room only crowd at a town hall meeting at the University of North Florida, answering questions on a variety of topics from Iraq and Iran to Social Security and his plan for tax cuts.

Several dozen people wearing white flat tax T-shirts and hats and carrying signs jeered when Giuliani, in response to a question, said he would not be in favor of a flat tax.

"I have to study it some more," the former mayor said.

"I don't think a flat tax is realistic change for America. Our economy is dependent upon the way our tax system operates," he said. (AP)