Joined by Illinois Senate nominee Barack Obama, one of the Democratic Party's rising stars, [John F. Kerry] attacked President [George Bush] for cutting $1.8 million from Illinois' federal allocation for job- training programs. The presumptive Democratic presidential nominee used Chicago's significant public high school dropout rate -- at least 30 percent -- to highlight the administration's cuts in job- training funding across the country.
"I think the African American community is motivated right now," said Obama, a state senator. "They are still mad about Florida. They believe that this administration does not have their interest at heart." Obama -- who generated the highest African American turnout in last month's Democratic primary election since 1992 -- said his job is to help bring out the minority vote for Kerry. Obama added that he thinks Kerry will be so strong in the state that "we hope to take Illinois out of play sometime in the summer."
Earlier, Kerry attended a fundraising breakfast that collected about $100,000 in donations, according to a Kerry spokesman. In his remarks, the Democratic candidate questioned the administration's handling of Iraq. "This administration has been gridlocked by its own ideology and its own arrogance," Kerry told two dozen donors. "We can succeed, but, boy, it's a lot tougher than it has to be."
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