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Another Crack at Kerry

By Jonathan Finer
Friday, January 28, 2005; Page A06

First he helped torpedo John F. Kerry's presidential campaign by pronouncing the Massachusetts Democrat "Unfit for Command" in a book, subtitled "Swift Boat Veterans Speak Out Against John Kerry," that he co-wrote last year.

Now insurance broker Jerome Corsi says he is taking aim at a different target: Kerry's Senate seat.

"I plan to move to Massachusetts later this year and to run against John Kerry in 2008," said Corsi, 58, who is a managing partner at the U.S. Financial Marketing Group and lives in Denville, N.J. "I plan to begin working with the Republican Party to see if I am the candidate they want."

Corsi, who is not a military veteran, teamed up with former naval officer John O'Neill to write "Unfit for Command," which focused attention on Kerry's Vietnam War service record. But just before the book went on sale, Corsi apologized for inflammatory postings about Muslims, Catholics and the pope that he made a year earlier on the Free Republic Web site. "That is old news," Corsi said in a telephone interview this week. "First of all, as I have stated many times, they were written to be provocative, to stimulate debate, not as my true beliefs."

Tim O'Brien, a Massachusetts Republican Party official, said he has not spoken with Corsi. "We think Senator Kerry has been weakened by his failed run for president, and we will be looking to recruit a quality candidate. I would leave it at that," he added.

State Democratic Party Chairman Phil Johnston told the Boston Herald, which first reported Corsi's intentions, "Carpetbaggers spreading lies and smears are not welcome in our state."

Corsi, who lived in Massachusetts from 1968 to 1972 while earning a doctorate at Harvard University, said he will begin looking for a condominium in Boston soon after the publication in April of his next book, "Atomic Iran."

"I don't know that I'll be able to afford Beacon Hill," he said, referring to the neighborhood where Kerry resides. "But I'll find someplace nice."

N.H. Won't Relinquish First

It has been said that to residents of New Hampshire only two political issues really matter: the income tax and the first-in-the-nation presidential primary. The former, they don't have and don't want; the latter, they never want to relinquish.

But one candidate for Democratic National Committee chairman, New Democrat Network founder Simon B. Rosenberg, has declared his opposition to the pivotal role played by homogenous New Hampshire and Iowa, which hosts the first presidential caucus. The DNC formed a committee last month to reexamine its electoral calendar.

"If we are to give our presidential nominee the strongest chance of winning in 2008, it is essential to create a new system that allows our candidates to speak to and hear from all parts of our 21st century America," Rosenberg said on his Web site.

The Granite State's Democratic Party is fighting back. This week it announced the formation of a committee made up of 20 of the state's most prominent Democrats to protect and promote its primary. New Hampshire's primary has come first since 1920. (The District held an earlier primary last year, but it was not binding.)

"We offer an even playing field for candidates, so the one with the biggest war chest or the most name recognition doesn't necessarily win," said Nick Clemons, executive director of the New Hampshire Democratic Party. "We're confident that the DNC will keep us first."

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