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CAMPAIGN NOTEBOOK

McCain to hold fund-raiser on rival Romney's home turf

Senator John McCain will hold a fund-raiser next month in Massachusetts, home state of his presidential rival Mitt Romney.

The Arizona Republican will gather June 18 with supporters at the Taj Boston hotel, the former Ritz-Carlton Boston overlooking the Public Garden, McCain's campaign confirmed.

Organizers include Jane Swift, the state's former acting governor, and Jean Inman, former chairwoman of the Massachusetts Republican Party.

Meanwhile, former governor Paul Cellucci is helping to organize another fund-raiser next month on behalf of a third GOP presidential candidate, former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani. The date and location have yet to be announced.

The three Republicans who held the governor's office from 1991 to 2003 have split in the race for the 2008 Republican presidential nomination. Former governor William F. Weld is backing Romney, who was Massachusetts governor between 2003 and 2007, while Cellucci is supporting Giuliani, and Swift has endorsed McCain.

Edwards: US is less safe
MONTGOMERY, Ala. -- Democratic presidential contender John Edwards argued yesterday that President Bush has made the nation less safe and the Republican candidates are trying to become "a bigger, badder George Bush."

Edwards made his remarks one day after he challenged the idea of a global war on terror, calling it an ideological doctrine advanced by the Bush administration that has strained the US military and emboldened terrorists.

Bush told reporters yesterday that Edwards's view was naive.

A short time later, during an appearance in Montgomery, Ala., Edwards answered back: "George Bush has made America less safe and less respected in the world. What we are seeing now in this campaign is John McCain, Rudy Giuliani, and the other Republicans running for president of the United States are trying to be a bigger, badder George Bush. Is that really what America wants over the next four years?"

Edwards, who supports a timetable for withdrawing from Iraq, said he would keep the country safe by going "after terrorists where they are."

"There is an entire new generation of young people in the Islamic world sitting on the fence," he told reporters, and their status as adults "depends on whether America can change this dynamic that George Bush has created that America is a bully, that we are selfish and that we don't care anything about what is happening in other parts of the world."

At least one Republican presidential candidate, Mitt Romney, scoffed at Edwards's comments on the global war on terror.

"Remember that old Edmund Burke quote, it's a famous quote, 'The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.' And that, I am afraid, is the boiled down version of what John Edwards said, is that good men should do nothing. Put their head in the sand and hope it all goes away," Romney told an audience in Jacksonville, Fla.

The Edwards campaign later issued a statement, saying: "We don't need more political huffing and puffing, we need a smart strategy that uses American power to stop terrorists from hurting us and to stop people from becoming terrorists in the first place."

Edwards was making his first campaign trip to Alabama since entering the race. He met privately with several prominent Democrats at the Alabama Education Association headquarters, including Lieutenant Governor Jim Folsom Jr. and veteran civil rights lawyer Fred Gray of Tuskegee. He also attended a $1,000-per-person fund-raising reception hosted by the plaintiff law firm of former lieutenant governor Jere Beasley.

Alabama has moved its presidential primary to Feb. 5, an increasingly crowded date with about a dozen states planning to vote. (AP)

Clinton on healthcare
WASHINGTON -- Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton said yesterday that an ounce of prevention is worth billions of dollars to the healthcare system as she called for far-reaching changes to curb rising costs.

"Our healthcare system is plagued with underuse, overuse, and misuse. It is, simply put, broken," the New York senator said in a speech to George Washington University medical school students.

Clinton, who fought and lost a major battle on healthcare reform in the 1990s while her husband was president , outlined seven changes designed make the system more cost effective.

At the top of her to-do list: pushing health insurance companies to pay for preventive health care for diabetes, heart disease, and other chronic illnesses, to reduce the likelihood of expensive treatments or surgeries later on.

She also reiterated her call to expand electronic medical records as a way of reducing paperwork costs and dangerous errors from misread charts.

She also wants to bar health insurance companies from cherry-picking only the healthiest patients, and increase the use of generic prescription drugs.

The speech was the first of what she said would be a series of speeches on her plans to lower costs, improve the quality of care, and expand insurance coverage.

Clinton argued that her proposals would save the system $120 billion a year and cut the average family's health costs by $2,200 a year. (AP)

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