Republicans celebrated gubernatorial victories in Mississippi and Kentucky, in elections that some political activists regarded as an early test of President Bush's strength prior to the 2004 vote. Bush campaigned on behalf of both Haley Barbour, the ex-Republican National Committee chairman who beat Mississippi incumbent Ronnie Musgrove (D), and US Rep. Ernie Fletcher. Fletcher defeated state Attorney General Ben Chandler (D) to become Kentucky's first GOP leader in 32 years.

In other voting results Tuesday:
• Philadelphia Mayor John Street (D) easily beat GOP challenger Sam Katz, benefiting from revelations that the FBI had bugged his office as part of a criminal investigation. Supporters portrayed that as a "dirty tricks" campaign against the black Democrat. Katz is white.

• San Franciscans approved an $8.50-an-hour minimum wage for most workers in the city, as well as a ban on "aggressive" panhandlers.

• Maine residents said "no" to allowing two Indian tribes to build a Las Vegas-style casino.

• By a 2-to-1 margin, Denverites quashed a proposal for mandatory stress-reduction programs.

Rival Democratic presidential candidates roundly criticized Howard Dean's comment that the party should court Southerners who display the Confederate flag on their pickups, at a debate in Boston's Fanueil Hall Tuesday night. The Rev. Al Sharpton told Dean: "You are no bigot, but you appear too arrogant to say 'I'm wrong.'" Dean said that although he considers the flag a racist symbol, "Poor white people need to vote their economic interest."

As Bush was due to sign a ban on a controversial abortion procedure, a federal judge questioned its constitutionality. "It seems to me the law is highly suspect," US District Judge Richard Kopf said at a hearing in Lincoln, Neb., where a women's reproductive rights group sought an order blocking the measure. Kopf previously found that Nebraska's ban on the procedure, called "partial birth abortion" by opponents, was unconstitutionally vague, and the US Supreme Court later overturned it.

CBS-TV cancelled plans to air "The Reagans," a controversial miniseries about the former president and first lady Nancy Reagan, during the November ratings period, announcing the four-hour production would run on its Showtime cable channel instead. Conservatives, prominent Republicans, and friends of the Reagans denounced the show as biased, unkind, and historically inaccurate. But CBS's decision was criticized by media groups. "Networks must not allow special-interest groups to dictate programming," said Herb Sargent, president of the Writers Guild of America, East.

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