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Washington Wrap

Dotty Lynch, Douglas Kiker, Beth Lester and Clothilde Ewing of the CBS News Political Unit have the latest from the nation's capital.



Tuesday's Headlines:

* Has Howard Dean Learned to Control His Famous Temper?

* GOP Decries Ad That Compares Bush to Hitler

* Bush Campaign Raises At Least $120 Million in 2003

* Who, If Anyone, Will Iowa Senator Harkin Endorse?

* Former Senator Bill Bradley Endorses Howard Dean

* Candidates Gather in Iowa for NPR-sponsored Debate

Anger Management: Howard Dean, it seems, is finding his temper these days instead of losing it. Angry, red-faced Dean's transformation to Mr. Nice Guy should be one of the day's top stories.

The Washington Post reports that Dean -- once an insurgent outsider and now firmly entrenched as the frontrunner for the Democratic presidential nomination -- has been "striking a more conciliatory tone and signaling how he would run in the general election." The Post also takes a look at a new ad from Joe Lieberman that alludes (though not by name) to Dean's anger. Dean media consultant Mandy Grunwald told reporters that "it's pretty clear" who they were talking about in the line "it will take more than extreme anger" to defeat Bush

Dean -- whose campaign has been built in part at least on his populist, anti-war, anti-establishment rhetoric – "is toning down attacks on his Democratic rivals and avoiding the back-and-forth criticism that has defined much of the presidential campaign," the Post reports.

Dean stayed above the fray in Sunday's debate and the Des Moines Register reports he also refused to take the bait offered by the other Democratic candidates on Monday, choosing instead to focus his criticism on President Bush.

Hitler Ads Move On: If you think the main fight is between Democrats, now the Republican National Committee is getting in on the act. Over the weekend, the RNC began calling for the removal of two ads from liberal-leaning 527 MoveOn.org's website. The ads, which feature graphic red and black images, compare the policies of George W. Bush to those of Hitler in both substance and process. The result is massive indignation from both Republican and Jewish groups. According to an RNC press release, "This is the worst and most vile form of political hate speech."

MoveOn.org says that the ads were two of 1,512 ads submitted for its "Bush In 30 seconds" contest and that all ads were censored for legality but not for content. MoveOn.org released a statement saying that neither was their ad and "their appearance did not constitute endorsement or sponsorship by MoveOn.org Voter Fund." The organization now says the ads were unacceptable, saying that, "We agree that the two ads in question were in poor taste and deeply regret that they slipped through our screening process." Move On says that the two ads sank to the bottom of the balloting of the "Bush in 30 Seconds" contest and are no longer available from MoveOn.org – only the RNC's website now features them.

Missouri Shows Bush The Money: President Bush traveled to Missouri on Monday telling 1,100 supporters that his first term's achievements reflected his commitment "to seize opportunities instead of letting them slip away," the St. Louis Post Disptach reports. Bush touted his record on everything from fighting terrorism to cutting taxes, while making sure not to let the $2.8 million he pocketed at the fundraiser slip away either. The timing of the checks also means that some of the money can be added to Bush's 2003 reports and a Bush campaign official tells CBS News that it will bring Bush's total to "more than" $120 million.

The New York Times reports how Bush combined the trip with a visit to the Pierre Laclede Elementary School where he focused attention on "No Child Left Behind," the education bill he signed into law two years ago this week.

Harkin Watch: Iowa Sen. Tom Harkin will decide this week whether to endorse or stay neutral in the Iowa caucuses. Dean sources tell CBS News they are not sure but think it will be their man or no one. Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack has decided to stay above the fray, reports the Des Moines Register. Sources close to Harkin said last week he had been weighing an endorsement of Dean, but a former aide told CBS News that he may not endorse any of the candidates after all.

Bradley Joins Gore:The Washington Post says Bill Bradley's endorsement of Howard Dean "had been rumored for weeks, and Dean's rivals appeared to take it in stride, arguing that in the early-voting states, people have seen enough of the candidates to make their own judgments."

Radio Day: Today in Iowa, NPR will host a radio-only debate among 8 of the 9 Democratic presidential candidates from 2pm to 4pm CST. The debate will feature the last-minute edition of John Edwards, who will participate by car phone. Rev. Al Sharpton and Wesley Clark will not participate.

Quote of the Day: "Howard Dean should take his tax-hiking, government-expanding, latte-drinking, sushi-eating, Volvo-driving, New York Times-reading... Hollywood-loving, left-wing freak show back to Vermont, where it belongs." (Washington Times, citing a Club for Growth ad which will start running in Des Moines on Wednesday)

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