- The Washington Times - Monday, November 1, 2004

MILWAUKEE — Sen. John Kerry charged through four key states yesterday, promising supporters he would remember their hard work and life stories and asking them to make the “magical moment” happen by voting today.

Starting his day in Florida — the center of the disputed 2000 presidential election — Mr. Kerry flew to Wisconsin for a large rally in downtown Milwaukee.

“Wet as you may be, cold as you may be, are you ready to move America in a new direction?” he asked a crowd of screaming supporters jamming the city’s rain-soaked streets. “Are you ready to put common sense back into the decisions that affect our lives? You ready to put America back to work? You ready for new leadership for this great nation of ours?

“This is a kind of magical moment that we get to in the last hours of the most blessed gift on the face of the planet, our democracy, your vote,” Mr. Kerry said.

Throughout the day, he savored the moments in front of enthusiastic crowds.

“I tell you, you guys look so wonderful,” Mr. Kerry told the cheering Milwaukee crowd. “Wet and bundled and all huddled up. You’re the best.”

They began chanting: “One more day. One more day.”

Mr. Kerry smiled and said, “It may be one more day, but I promise you this: I will never forget this rally in the rain here in Milwaukee. Unbelievable. You’re unbelievable.”

His election-eve swing also took him through Ohio, Florida and Michigan, where he appealed to swing voters and “thinking people.”

“We want independents, moderate Republicans, thinking people to help change the direction of our country,” he said at a rally in Joe Louis Arena in Detroit, in hopes of energizing enough voters to put him over the top in Michigan, which seemed safely in his column up until recent weeks.

He made a quick stop in Florida, where he told an enthusiastic crowd at the Orlando International Airport, “You know the job we have to get done in the next hours.”

In Wisconsin, Mr. Kerry stressed the historic nature of today’s election, saying the whole world’s fate rests on it.

“Tomorrow, the choice of a lifetime is on that ballot,” he said. “This is the most important election of our lives.”

The reverberations will be felt beyond our borders, he said.

“The hopes of the whole nation — the hopes of families that I’ve been privileged to meet all across our country — are on the line,” he said. “The hopes of the whole world are on the line tomorrow.”

He used the gathering as an opportunity to invoke one of his political heroes.

“In 1960, it was Wisconsin that lifted John Kennedy over the top into the presidency, and I’m counting on you in 2004,” he said.

Mr. Kerry flew to Cleveland for a late-night rally before flying back to LaCrosse, Wis., for the night. He will return to Boston today to vote.

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