Breaux Positions Himself Against Bush for 2004

Three-term Sen.. John Breaux, D-LA., has asked a liberal arts college in New Hampshire -- the state where the first presidential primary is traditionally held -- for an opportunity to participate in a lecture series that traditionally features Presidential candidates.

Officials at St Anselm's College in Goffstown, NH, right outside Manchester -- the state's largest city -- say Breaux contacted them recently expressing interest "and asking to be invited" to speak at the college's "New Hampshire Institute of Politics."

The Institute conducts an ongoing lecture series focused on giving potential presidential candidates a platform to air their ideas. The lecture series also often books political pundits, national luminaries and former candidates.

Breaux's visibility in the 50-50 Senate has increased in the last 4 months. He has emerged as a leader of a fragile coalition of 15 Democrats and 2 Republicans who have proven critical in crafting compromises on the budget, tax cuts, campaign finance and education reform.

Breaux's growing influence has prompted repeated questions about whether he might have White House ambitions. Breaux has repeatedly and unequivocally said no, and Breaux staffers said Tuesday they were not aware of any plans for the Senator to visit or speak in New Hampshire.

Officials at St Anselm's say they not only have been contacted by Breaux, but another Democratic Senator, Joseph Biden, D-Del., has also asked for a chance to speak.

Biden has already visited New Hampshire once this year prompting speculation about his White House hopes. He campaigned for the Democratic nomination in 1988 and still has some supporters in New Hampshire.

It is not too early!!!

House Minority Leader Dick Gephardt has scheduled a jam-packed political visit to New Hampshire on July 7, 8, and 9. Gephardt is slated to speak at 3 separate gatherings of Democratic party activists across the state.

The Missouri Democrat ran unsuccessfully for the Democratic nomination in 1988. And in 2000 Gephardt had a large campaign organization ready to go but opted against opposing Vice President Al Gore for their party's nomination. Prominent democrats nationwide discouraged Gephardt from challenging Gore arguing that his best contribution to the party would be helping Democrats win a majority of the House and becoming Speaker.

Politicians traditionally discourage early speculation about their presidential hopes. But Senator John Kerry, D-Mass., has let it be known that he is considering a run and his friends say he is very serious.

Former Vice President Al Gore has said he has not yet made up his mind about seeking office in the future. And Sen.. Joe Leiberman, D-Conn.., Gore's 2000 running mate, has said he will hold off on his own plans until Gore makes a determination. However, Leiberman has reached out to various key Democratic constituencies, just in case.

Others prominently mentioned as possible candidates include Sen.. Evan Bayh, D-IN, Sen.. John Edwards, D-NC, and former Sen.. Bob Kerrey, who ran in 1992, but in the wake of revelations that he killed civilians in Vietnam said recently he is not a candidate.

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