Colorado will decide this fall whether to revamp its system for allocating electoral votes -- and that could have a big impact on this year's presidential election.
Election officials have announced that the November ballot will include a proposal to replace the state's winner-take-all system with one to divvy up its nine electoral votes in proportion to a candidate's popular vote.
The plan would practically guarantee both President Bush and Democratic nominee John F. Kerry at least some of the state's electoral college votes. If such a system had been in place during the 2000 election, Al Gore, who lost Colorado with 42 percent of the popular vote, would have received three of the eight electoral votes it then had. That would have given the former vice president -- who lost the electoral college, 271 to 266 -- one more electoral vote than Bush, 269 to 268.
Julie Brown, director of Make Your Vote Count, which collected signatures to put the issue on the ballot, said the plan would more accurately reflect the wishes of Colorado voters. But Katy Atkinson, a GOP consultant who is heading the opposition, said it is an attempt to help Kerry in a state that leans Republican. She also said the proposal would lessen the state's significance to presidential candidates, because fewer votes would effectively be in play.
Only two states do not use winner-take-all rules. Maine and Nebraska award some of their electoral votes to whomever wins the popular votes, and the states allocate the rest according to which candidate wins each congressional district.
Stem Cell Research
With polls showing support for embryonic stem cell research, President Bush is getting pressure from fellow Republicans to expand his policy on federal funding for the cutting-edge science.
In a letter to party leaders, Rep. Michael N. Castle (R-Del.) urged the GOP platform committee to endorse a policy allowing tax dollars to be spent on research involving cells extracted from five-day-old embryos that would otherwise be discarded.
Three years ago, Bush announced a decision to fund work on only cell lines created before Aug. 9, 2001 -- once thought to number as many as 78, but in reality is fewer than 25.
Ever since Sen. John F. Kerry (Mass.) and Ronald Prescott Reagan hammered the issue at last month's Democratic National Convention, Castle has worried that Republicans were losing political points.
"It is important to show the embryonic stem cell research is not a so-called wedge issue and that it does have bipartisan support," he said.
Iraqis Want Bush Ads Clipped
It isn't just Democrats who say they are put out by Bush's campaign ad invoking the Olympics as he touts his foreign policy record. Some members of the Iraqi soccer team competing in Athens also want him to knock it off. "Iraq as a team does not want Mr. Bush to use us for the presidential campaign," Iraqi midfielder Salih Sadir told SI.com, the online magazine of Sports Illustrated. "He can find another way to advertise himself."
The Bush ad, citing Afghanistan and Iraq, notes that thanks to Bush, at "this Olympics, there will be two more free nations -- and two fewer terrorist regimes."
Sadir's teammate, fellow midfielder Ahmed Manajid, was more blunt about Bush: "How will he meet his God after having slaughtered so many men and women?"
The Iraqi players noted they are pleased that the invasion rid them of Iraq's tyrannical former Olympic Committee head: Uday Hussein, son of Saddam and known for torturing underperforming athletes.
Staff writers Ceci Connolly and John F. Harris contributed to this report.