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Yankees invade Atlanta 

When former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean told Georgia Democrats at their annual Jefferson-Jackson dinner April 3 that he "represented the Democratic wing of the Democratic Party," you had to wonder how many in attendance had actually visited that wing.

One couldn't help but imagine shudders going through bidness-first Dems such as House Speaker Terry Coleman, who has about as much in common with Dean as Jimmy Carter does with Augusto Pinochet.

Such was the dissonance at the swanky fete headlined by the two New England yankees -- Dean and U.S. Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass. -- who hope to beat President Bush in 2004.

Neither Dean nor Kerry fully connected with the surprisingly energized crowd. The famously stiff Kerry, recovered from recent prostate surgery, showed he could loosen up a little, notably joking that a man without a prostate could be elected president. After all, he said, a number of Republicans had been elected without a heart.

But it was the homegrown Secretary of State Cathy Cox who received the heartiest applause of the evening, bringing up plenty of questions about who will be the favored candidate if she and Lt. Gov. Mark Taylor vie for the governorship in 2004, as expected.

All told, the dinner raked in some $900,000 for the party. Party executive director, Jeff DiSantis, says the event brought in nearly $300,000 more than previous high for a J&J dinner.

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