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Democrats Nominate Kerry for President - 2004-07-29

The U.S. Democratic party has formally nominated Senator John Kerry to run against President George Bush for the White House in November.

After all of the speeches and often fiery political rhetoric on the third day of the convention, it was the traditional "roll call" of the 50 U.S. states and territories that made Mr. Kerry the Democratic party candidate for president.

The roll call was preceded by the highlight speech of the night from Senator Kerry's vice presidential choice, Senator John Edwards.

Describing Mr. Kerry as a proven leader with a distinguished military record who will keep Americans safe at home and respected abroad, Mr. Edwards took aim at what he called a campaign of negativism by Republicans. He declared they are taking the "lowest road" to try to win the highest office in the United States.

"Between now and November, you, the American people-you can reject this tired, old, hateful, negative, politics of the past. And instead you can embrace the politics of hope, the politics of what's possible, because this is America, where everything is possible," he said.

Mr. Kerry received more endorsements Wednesday from retired military leaders, among them the former chairman of the Joint (Military) Chiefs of Staff, General John Shalikashvili.

"John Kerry has also made it crystal clear that no matter how strong we might be, success in a war on terror or in bringing peace and stability to Afghanistan and Iraq will likely elude us unless we bring friends and allies to our side," he said.

A number of African American leaders addressed the convention, focusing on everything from societal inequalities and racial division to Iraq. "Bring the troops home, send Bush to Texas. It's time to send John Kerry and John Edwards to the White House this November. Keep hope alive! Keep hope alive!," said civil rights leader Jesse Jackson.

Al Sharpton, one of two African-Americans who competed with Senator Kerry for the Democratic nomination, won roars of approval from the delegates, with a fiery address. He said Republican control of government had made many things worse, and he brushed aside President Bush's recent overture to African-Americans, in which he asserted Democrats take the black vote for granted.

"We didn't come this far playing political games. It was those that earned our vote that got our vote. We got the civil rights act under Democrats. We got the voting rights act under a Democrat. We got the right to organize under the Democrats," he said.

Dennis Kucinich, the former Cleveland mayor and one-time Democratic presidential challenger to Senator Kerry, drew a comparison between the needs of poor and working class Americans, and money the United States has spent in Iraq.

"I have seen weapons of mass destruction in our cities. Poverty is a weapon of mass destruction. Joblessness is a weapon of mass destruction. Homelessness (is) a weapon of mass destruction. Racism (is) a weapon of mass destruction. Fear a weapon of mass destruction. We must disarm these weapons," he said.

Senator Kerry formally accepts the Democratic nomination in Boston Thursday night, as the convention draws to a close.

Republicans hold their convention in New York City at the end of August to nominate President Bush to seek a second term in the White House. The U.S. general election takes place on November 2.