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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.

Meanwhile, In Other News... : Yes, there's STILL a debate in New Hampshire on Tuesday night, despite the story of the day (and perhaps the week, if not the month) being Al Gore's endorsement of Howard Dean.

This debate, at the University of New Hampshire in Durham, could be the OK Corral for some candidates, who've been stung by Gore's decision to back Dean and are scrambling to stop the apparent Dean juggernaut. Sparks are sure to fly.

Dean, apparently, is not too worried about debate prep. After a morning event in Harlem, he and Gore – and the media throng following them – jumped aboard three leased jets and flew to Cedar Rapids, for a repeat performance of the Gore endorsement. (You can hardly blame them for reveling in their moment.) Afterwards, Dean flies back across the country to New Hampshire for the debate, which will appear on WMUR and C-SPAN live at 7 p.m., and later on ABC's Nightline. The format is 45 minutes of questions with 60-second responses, followed by 45 minutes of conversation time among the candidates (read: bedlam). The debate will be moderated by Ted Koppel and WMUR's Scott Spralding.

Almost lost in the Gore endorsement news was another coup for Dean. The New Hampshire branch of the National Education Association recommended on Monday that its 14,000 members – that's a lot in a small New England state – vote for Dean in the Democratic primary on Jan. 27. Dean will join representatives from the teachers' union on Wednesday to accept the endorsement.

And, as if Al Gore all over the TV wasn't enough of a 2000 flashback for you, Ralph Nader will be in attendance at Tuesday's debate, at the invitation of fellow liberal Dennis Kucinich. Nader, the 2000 Green Party nominee, has appeared with Kucinich (although he hasn't endorsed him) while continuing to flirt with a repeat run in '04.

No word yet on where Bill Bradley, John McCain and Gary Bauer will sit during the debate.

How Sour Are My Grapes? The other candidates are coming to grips with the Big Gore Endorsement giving Dean more Big Mo. Their reactions ranged from miffed (Joe "I heard it first in the media" Lieberman) to snippy (John "This campaign is about the future not the past" Kerry) to silly (the group of, shall we say, self-important former Gore staffers who've "endorsed" Wesley Clark) to self-deprecating and funny (John Edwards' press secretary Jennifer Palmieri saying, "OK for Gore but what about Charles Barkley who told Jesse Ventura that Edwards is the only one who 'floats my boat.'")

Gen. Clark himself sounded a bit shrill on Tuesday. "There's a reason Karl Rove is supporting my friend, the former governor of Vermont," Clark said. "But I'm the only one who can take back the presidency and go toe-to-toe with George W. Bush on national security." Guess he didn't take Al Gore's advice on the 11th Commandment.

Staffers for the other campaigns got even more acerbic. One told CBS News, "So, as I try to stop laughing, the guy who introduced Willie Horton into American politics and pummeled Bill Bradley every day for being against Medicaid, now wants everyone to ignore Howard Dean's record? Did he sigh when he said this?"

Fallout From Janklow Conviction: The resignation of Rep. Bill Janklow, R-S.D., following his conviction for felony manslaughter Monday does more than remove a major figure from South Dakota politics. Under South Dakota law, Janklow's House seat, which he will quit on the day he faces sentencing in January, cannot be filled by gubernatorial appointment. Instead, the seat must be filled by a special election. And the race could have major implications for both the House, where Republicans currently hold a 229-206 advantage, and the Senate, where the GOP has a far-narrower 51-49 edge. (Both Houses have one independent who typically votes with the Democrats.)

In 2002, Janklow won a close race against Stephanie Herseth, a Democrat who has already indicated she will run again. If Herseth does run, Republicans in some circles have suggested that former Rep. John Thune should step into help the party hold the seat. A recent poll by CBS affiliate KELO showed Thune beating Herseth, 47 percent to 40 percent.

Thune, who lost a close race to Sen. Tim Johnson in 2002, has been contemplating a challenge to Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle in 2004. If Thune chooses to run for the House seat instead of taking on Daschle, that decision would all but "end Republican hopes to defeat" Daschle, the Washington Post concluded on Tuesday.

With Janklow's resignation, much more may be at stake than his future. On one hand, the Democrats and Herseth may have an unexpected second chance to pick up a House seat. In another permutation, Daschle may be spared a tough opponent. Either way, the conviction sets off a chain of political events barely related to the fatal August car crash for which Janklow was on trial.

Payday For Rev. Al: Al Sharpton is in the headlines again on Tuesday after New York City agreed to pay him $200,000 to settle a 12-year-old lawsuit. In his lawsuit, Sharpton alleged the city failed to protect him on Jan. 12, 1991, when he was stabbed before a rally in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn.

Sharpton was preparing to march in the rally in remembrance of Yusuf K. Hawkins, a black teenager who was killed by a group of whites in the Brooklyn neighborhood. Sharpton filed his suit months after the attack, but a settlement was reached just as jury selection was about to begin in state Supreme Court, reports the New York Times.

Sanford Rubenstein, Sharpton's lawyer, credits all the recent media attention Sharpton has received from his presidential bid as a useful negotiation tool. In a statement, Kate O'Brien Ahlers, a spokeswoman for the city's law department, said the city "strongly believes that the N.Y.P.D. acted appropriately" at the time of the attack, but that the "city could not predict how a jury might rule and therefore believed that a settlement was the best solution."

The money must come as good news to the Sharpton, whose campaign could likely use a loan. By the end of the third quarter Sharpton's presidential campaign had only raised $235,506 for the year and had a mere $24,070 cash-on-hand.

Quote of the Day: "Well, excuse me. He was the only major candidate who made the correct judgment about the Iraq war." -- Al Gore on why he trusts Howard Dean on national security. (multiple sources)

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