Gearing up to accept the presidential nomination at his party's convention next week, John Kerry (search) on Saturday outlined the path — figuratively and literally — the Democratic ticket will take on its journey to Election Day.

"We intend to crisscross this country reminding people that what matters is not the narrow values that divide — but the shared values that have always united every American: faith and family, strength and service, responsibility and opportunity for all," Kerry said in the weekly Democratic radio address.

As he did in a Denver speech Friday, Kerry discarded his usual criticism of President Bush to promote a more positive message.

Kerry, who was courting voters in Sioux City, Iowa, on Saturday, said the campaign "is about listening and learning from Americans who believe in their hearts that tomorrow can be better than today."

Presenting an optimistic outlook for the country, Kerry said he and running mate John Edwards (search) value good-paying jobs, affordable health care, independence from Mideast oil, a strong military and good relations abroad.

"We're taking this trip with the hope that we can begin a new conversation in this country," he said.

The Massachusetts senator plans to roll into Boston on Thursday to accept his party's nomination. After officially becoming the nominees, Kerry and Edwards, along with their families, will embark on a coast-to-coast tour of 21 states in two weeks.

Traveling by bus, train and boat, the pair plans strategic stops in every region of the country, including the battleground states of Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania.