CBSN

Washington Wrap

white house washington, dc
AP
Dotty Lynch, Douglas Kiker, Steve Chaggaris and Clothilde Ewing of The CBS News Political Unit have the latest from the nation's capital.

I'll Be Back … With Specifics: Arnold Schwarzenegger says he just needs a little time before he's ready to discuss those pesky issues like education, energy policy and immigration.

The Sacramento Bee reports that Schwarzenegger told reporters in Riverside on Thursday: "You always want fast answers; I want to have good answers."

At this point, any answers or specifics would be nice. The actor has generally avoided them thus far in his campaign to replace Gov. Gray Davis, should he be recalled on Oct. 7. The Bee reports that Schwarzenegger said Thursday that he did not know if state workers would have to be fired to balance the state budget; that his position on school vouchers was still evolving; and that he has no position on Prop 54, which would restrict the use of racial date in state decisions.

But, as the Bee reports, at this point there doesn't seem to be much need for Schwarzenegger to delve into the details, with huge crowds still gathering to see him make short campaign speeches. The San Francisco Chronicle reports that his public campaigning for Thursday – which, of course, drew throngs of fans and potential supporters – lasted just 20 minutes.

Schwarzenegger also put a new radio ad out on Thursday. The 30-second spot is part of the actor's voter registration drive. He's following the lead of Jesse Ventura, who was elected governor of Minnesota, in part, by getting support from some younger males who had never voted before.

"On Oct. 7, we the people of California have the opportunity to send a message to the political establishment that we want action and we want change," he says in the spot, which will run on rock-and-roll stations, as well as news and talk stations.

Schwarzenegger also got into a bit of hot water on the money front after his campaign accepted a $2,500 contribution from the Los Angeles deputy sheriff's union. This despite a pledge by the actor not to accept contributions from special interests, which have been a main target of his (brief) campaign speeches and a television ad released earlier this week.

"We reported the check, but before it went into the account we realized it was a conflict of interest, so we returned the check," Schwarzenegger said.

One of Arnold's GOP rivals, former baseball commissioner Peter Ueberroth, admitted he needs to sharpen his style a bit after a lackluster performance in the debate earlier this week. He tells the Chronicle that he's a political novice with much to learn. "I'm a rookie," he said. "Now I know the rules, and I'll have a little more fun next time."

Gov. Gray Davis, meanwhile, has been tapped to give the Democratic response to President Bush's weekly radio address. If you're awake and listening to the radio on Saturday morning, be sure to tune in.

Meanwhile, a three-judge panel is scheduled to rule today on a lawsuit alleging that the recall would disenfranchise minority voters in Monterrey.

Foley Drops Out: Rep. Mark Foley, R-Fla., announced today he's abandoning his bid for the U.S. Senate, saying he needs to attend to his ailing father.

Foley's announcement comes as a surprise since he had been running hard banking around $3 million as of June 30. That's about $2.5 million more than his nearest GOP rival, former Rep. Bill McCollum, and about equal to potential Democratic candidate, Rep. Peter Deutsch. Foley, who instead will seek re-election to the House, said he would return donations to any contributor that wants a refund, reports the AP.

In a letter to supporters, Foley wrote that he started thinking about his political future when his father was diagnosed with cancer two weeks ago.

"For the past 49 years of my life, both of my parents have been at my side every step of the way," he wrote. "Until recently, they have attended virtually every candidate forum, fund-raiser and community event in which I've participated."

"Now it is my turn to be there when they need me."

For years, the single Foley has been dogged by rumors of his sexual orientation and in May he avoided discussing it after a Florida alternative newspaper published a story about the buzz. "My mother and father raised me and the rest to believe there are certain things we shouldn't discuss in public," he wrote in an e-mail to supporters in May. "Some people may think that's old-fashioned, but I believe it is a good rule to live by."

As for the fallout, the remaining four Republicans will now have to scramble to catch up to either Deutsch or incumbent Sen. Bob Graham, who hasn't said whether he'll seek re-election to the Senate while he seeks the Democratic presidential nomination.

The four Republicans are Reps. McCollum and David Weldon, state House Speaker Johnnie Byrd and state Sen. Daniel Webster. The Democrats waiting for Graham's decision include Reps. Deutsch, Alcee Hastings and Allen Boyd, Miami-Dade Mayor Alex Penelas and former state Education Commissioner Betty Castor.

Don't Forget The Indies: CBS News Election and Survey Unit's Anthony Salvanto has been looking at some poll data and is finding that the independents - who'll likely make up a large percent of the voters in next year's primaries - are, well, independent. Here's his take:

As the race for the Democratic presidential nomination moves into high gear, we'll hear a lot of talk about Democratic voters, but remember that in many states (including New Hampshire) the electorate will have both registered Democrats and independents in it, and the independent vote can be quite different from the partisan vote.

(The 2000 races offered some great examples of this: In the Republican New Hampshire primary, John McCain narrowly lost to George W. Bush among self-identified Republicans, but independents cast over 40 percent of the ballots in that state and went for McCain by a whopping 3-to-1 margin, helping him to victory. On the Democratic side, Al Gore won with the support of over 60 percent of Democrats, holding off Bill Bradley, who tightened the race by capturing most of the independents. In Michigan's GOP primary, two-thirds of self-described Republicans went for Bush while two-thirds of independents went for McCain.)

Heading into the 2004 contests, the latest CBS News poll, conducted August 28-29, already shows some real contrasts between Democrats and independents nationwide in terms of what they seek in a nominee. Just 28 percent of Democratic voters would prefer their party's standard bearer be someone who supported the war with Iraq, while 41 percent of independent voters would prefer the Democratic nominee be someone who backed it. And there's a bigger difference on the issue of tax cuts: 41 percent of the nation's Democrats say they'd prefer a nominee who would eliminate President Bush's recent cuts, but half of independents would prefer a Democrat who would keep those cuts in place.

Unlike 2000, only one of the parties will have a heated nomination contest this time. When that happens, it's a good bet that many independents, when they can, will go where the action is in an attempt to make their vote more meaningful; so independents of all leanings, both conservative and liberal, could be casting ballots in the Democratic contests. It will be worth keeping an eye on how the Democratic candidates try to woo both independents and hard-core partisans at the same time, given what may be serious differences of opinion between the two groups.

What's Happening: With the campaign season in full swing, presidential candidates past and present will be hitting the stump. For their 100th birthday celebration on Saturday, the Teamsters have nabbed both former President Bill Clinton and Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., who'll speak separately in the afternoon, and Teamster-endorsed candidate Rep. Dick Gephardt, who gives the evening's keynote address to the 4,000 attendees.

All the Democratic presidential candidates, save Bob Graham and Al Sharpton, are also planning on stopping by the Service Employees International Union meeting in Washington on Monday. The SEIU's PAC conference begins on Sunday with around 1,500 union members gathering to share strategies for the 2004 elections. The union, which hasn't endorsed anyone yet, is a potential kingmaker here. Gephardt, Dean and Kerry are all in serious contention.

On Monday, Democrats and Republicans alike will be tuned into the Supreme Court as it takes a look at campaign fundraising. In a one-day, rare September session, the court will look at whether new campaign finance laws and its ban on soft money is in tune with freedom of speech rights. The court hasn't set a deadline for its decision, but lawyers on both sides say they expect a ruling before the first presidential primary in January.

Tuesday will also be important for the Democrats as they head to Baltimore for yet another presidential forum sponsored by the Congressional Black Caucus.

Friday 9/5:
President Bush addresses employees at the Langham warehousing company and headlines a Bush-Cheney fundraiser in Indianapolis, and then goes to Camp David for the weekend. Howard Dean opens campaign headquarters in Phoenix. John Edwards campaigns in Iowa and meets with Democratic activists in Council Bluffs, Dunlap, Denison and Storm Lake. Bob Graham attends fundraising lunch in Dallas.

Saturday 9/6:
Dean campaigns in California and meets with the San Francisco SEIU Local 250. Edwards will visit the Clay County Fair and then attends Democratic activist events in Spirit Lake, Cherokee, Le Mars and Sioux City, Iowa. Graham discusses education policy with teachers in Des Moines. Dennis Kucinich visits the Painter's Central Regional Conference in Cleveland and then travels to Wisconsin for the "Fighting Bob Best" in Baraboo.
Other: Teamsters 100th anniversary celebreation in Washington. Willie Nelson and Ani DiFranco perform a benefit concert for Rep. Dennis Kucinich's presidential campaign in Cleveland.

Sunday 9/7:
Edwards will speak at a service of the Greater Grace Temple in Detroit. Graham campaigns in Iowa and attends a Dallas County Steak Fry. Kucinich in Columbus at Farm Aid with Willie Nelson.
Other: SEIU PAC conference begins.

Monday 9/8:
President Bush headlines a Bush/Cheney fundraiser in Nashville. Vice President Cheney attends fundraiser in Roanoke, Va. Dean addresses a rally at the University of Maryland. Edwards holds town hall meeting in Merrimack, New Hampshire.
Dean, Edwards, Gephardt, John Kerry, Kucinich, Joe Lieberman and Carol Moseley Braun address the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) at the Washington Hilton.
Other: U.S. Supreme Court hears oral arguments on legal challenges to the
McConnell v. FEC Campaign Finance Reform Act; arguments will last four hours.

Tuesday 9/9:
President Bush attends fundraisers in Jacksonville and Ft. Lauderdale. Edwards addresses "Politics & Eggs" in Bedford and then campaigns in Derry.
Other: Congressional Black Caucus holds its Democratic presidential debate at Morgan State University in Baltimore at 8pm EDT.

Quote of the Day: "It's not the best time to put a rookie in charge of our country's future. It hasn't been a good time to have a cowboy in charge of our future, but we also don't need a waffler in charge of our country's future." - Joe Lieberman, who criticized Howard Dean during Thursday's debate, went after John Kerry for his claim this week that he voted "just to threaten Saddam Hussein." He managed to slip in a couple barbs against President Bush and Dean at the same time. (Boston Globe)