WASHINGTON – Bowing to pressure, John Kerry (search) decided Wednesday to accept the nomination at the Democratic presidential convention in July, scuttling a plan to delay the formality so he could narrow President Bush's public money advantage.
"Boston is the place where America's freedom began, and it's where I want the journey to the Democratic nomination to be completed," Kerry said in a statement released by his campaign. "On Thursday, July 29, with great pride, I will accept my party's nomination for president in the city of Boston. From there we will begin our journey to a new America."
The statement ended four days of controversy over an idea that was supposed to remain a secret for several more weeks.
Several Kerry advisers had wanted him to forgo the nomination at the Democratic convention in late July and wait five weeks until Bush accepts the Republican nod. That would give both candidates the same time to spend $75 million in public money set aside for the general election.
But the plan leaked weeks before Kerry had intended, causing an uproar in his home town of Boston — site of the July 26-29 convention — and among Democrats who feared that voters would view the tactic as too political.
Kerry had planned to wait several weeks before deciding what to do, but word of his deliberations leaked last week, forcing his hand.
"We believe it is right to start the general election on the same day as our opponents, and we will continue to explore every way possible to level the playing field against the Republicans' five week advantage," Kerry said
One of those ways is having Kerry raise money for the Democratic National Committee (search), which could air ads to bolster Kerry's effort. However, the Kerry campaign would have little or no control over those commercials.