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Kerry to Accept Democratic Nomination at Convention Close - 2004-07-29


Senator John Kerry is set to accept his party's nomination for president, in a speech that marks the culmination of the four-day Democratic National Convention Thursday night. Democratic delegates representing all U.S. states and territories and Americans living overseas nominated Mr. Kerry shortly before midnight Wednesday.

After three days of speeches by Democratic Party leaders and other citizen supporters, Senator Kerry takes center stage to accept his party's nomination for president.

Senator Kerry won medals for his service during the Vietnam War and has served for nearly two decades in the Senate. He has said his background, combined with his work on the Senate Foreign Relations and Intelligence Committees, make him more than qualified to challenge President Bush in November's presidential election.

He is to be introduced by Max Cleland, a former senator from Georgia, who lost both legs and an arm during the Vietnam War.

Mr. Kerry's two daughters, Vanessa and Alexandra, are also to speak to the 4,300 delegates and party dignitaries, to give a more personal introduction to their father. Alexandra told ABC's Good Morning, America, she is "wonderfully overwhelmed" when she sees all the support for her father.

"There is, sort of, the dad that you play with and hang out with, and then there is a little bit of the dad who is running for president,? she said. ?The personality is connected and the same, but I think in order to digest it, I, at least, look to him as the leader up on the stage, separately, in some ways."

Other speakers include former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, who is expected to emphasize Mr. Kerry's foreign experience.

Former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Richard Holbrooke, called John Kerry a "fundamental internationalist," in comments Wednesday to a forum of 600 international leaders, who were observing the convention.

"It is relevant that he is the son of a foreign service officer,? Mr. Holbrooke said. ?It is relevant that his father served in Berlin at the height of the Cold War, that he was educated partly in Europe, that he speaks foreign languages, that his wife, as I hope all of you saw last night, is easily fluent in four or five languages. It is relevant that he served in Vietnam. That is not just campaign biography, but what happened to him in Vietnam is centrally important."

Not everyone was supportive of Senator Kerry, though. Former New York City mayor, Rudolph Giuliani, a Republican, said he is backing President Bush and criticized the Democratic presidential nominee on NBC's Today show.

"I am focusing just on this year, on getting the president and vice president re-elected, because I think it is critical to being able to continue the war on terrorism in a very determined way, and not go back to playing defense, like we used to do against terrorism,? Mr. Giuliani said. ?I think it is critical to the way in which this war will be conducted, from the point of view of consistency, as opposed to going back to a much more inconsistent approach, which is what I think John Kerry would do. Just look at his record."

President Bush's Republican party holds its nominating convention in New York at the end of next month. In Boston, hundreds of protesters continue to rally in a fenced-in area near the convention site. The demonstrators include military veterans against John Kerry, Christian fundamentalists, and human rights advocates.

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