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Washington Wrap

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Dotty Lynch, Douglas Kiker, Steve Chaggaris, Clothilde Ewing and Sean Sharifi of the CBS News Political Unit have the latest from the nation's capital.

One Way To Handicap The Democratic Debate: Our friends at The Hotline compiled this handy chart on the amount of time each candidate received at Thursday's debate.

Amount Of Talk Time

  • Dean: 14 min, 7 seconds
  • Kerry: 12 min, 31 seconds
  • Clark: 10 min, 36 seconds
  • Gephardt: 10 min, 2 seconds
  • Lieberman: 9 min, 26 seconds
  • Braun: 8 min, 39 seconds
  • Sharpton: 8 min, 28 seconds
  • Edwards: 8 min, 00 seconds
  • Kucinich: 5 min, 9 seconds

    Clark Personnel News: The Wesley Clark campaign, which got off to a rocky start, is trying to get back on course by putting out a roster of real staff being hired and fundraisers signing on.

    The Washington Post reports that Clark "has conducted successful forays into two important sources of financial support for Howard Dean – Hollywood and the Internet – and is trying hard to enlist Dean's donors." Among the Hollywood heavyweights considering backing Clark is producer Norman Lear, who had previously been leaning toward Dean. California businessman Eli Broad, who has a massive fundraising Rolodex, is also backing Clark and has indicated he'll raise money for him, the Post reports.

    The Post also reports that Clark's newly named director of Internet strategy, former Draft-Clark leader John Hlinko, says the campaign has signed up 100,000 supporters online. While paltry compared to Dean's claim of more than 460,000, it's a good start for a month-old campaign.

    Clark is also picking through the bones of the Graham campaign. The Des Moines Register says Clark's campaign has contacted Graham's "top Iowa campaign aides to gauge their interest in working for Clark in Iowa." Graham's press secretary, Jamal Simmons, has joined the Clark campaign as its traveling press secretary. (Simmons also worked as deputy communications director for Gore 2000.)

    More Clinton-Clark Ties: Eli Segal, assistant to the president in the Clinton administration, is Clark's chairman; Clinton Commerce Secretary Mickey Kantor is chairman of Clark's "steering committee"; Ambassador Dick Sklar, Clinton's U.N. ambassador, is Clark's C.O.O.; and Matt Bennett, who worked in the Clinton White House's Intergovernmental Affairs shop, and most recently at Americans for Gun Safety, is Clark's communications director.

    Diane Rogelle, formerly finance director for the DSCC, will run Clark's fundraising.

    Also, sources tell CBS News that Mark Fabiani and Ron Klain, from Gore 2000, are continuing as unpaid senior strategists to Clark, and that Fabiani's partner, Chris Lehane, will be coming on board soon. You'll recall Lehane recently left John Kerry's campaign in a huff over influence and strategy.

    Washington Wrap's man on the ground in New Hampshire, John Milne, filed this report on Clark's Granite State strategy, and what one pro sees as potential shortcomings:

    Clark named Steve Bouchard his New Hampshire political director shortly after a prominent state senator, Louis D'Allesandro, complained that the four-star general had not established a field organization.

    Bouchard is a veteran campaigner who had directed the state campaign for Sen. Bob Graham of Florida until he left the race this past weekend.

    Thursday's announcement appeared to be an effort to reverse the impression of disorganization among the Clark campaign. The last presidential campaign to get started has yet to open a state headquarters and until Thursday had not hired any staffers.

    But D'Allesandro - an early supporter of the Draft-Clark effort and one of the biggest rainmakers in Granite State politics, who was wooed by most of the campaigns – said of Clark's New Hampshire efforts so far: "If you aren't organized, the campaign isn't going anyplace; you need follow-up." D'Allesandro said that the general had personally asked the veteran Democratic lawmaker to host a house party in his Manchester home "and never followed up."

    D'Allesandro represents Manchester, a must-win city for any Democratic candidate in New Hampshire.

    D'Allesandro expressed concern over the sudden departure of Donnie Fowler, a New Hampshire field organizer for the campaigns of Bill Clinton in 1996 and Al Gore in 2000.

    Clark's press secretary, Kym Spell, defended the campaign's status in New Hampshire. "General Clark understands the importance of New Hampshire and the significance it has in shaping national opinions," Spell said.

    D'Allesandro was still concerned. "You would think the first thing a general would know, is the value of an organization on the ground."

    As California Goes, So Goes Alaska? On the heels of the successful recall of Gov. Gray Davis in California, foes of Alaska GOP Gov. Frank Murkowski are working a recall of their own.

    The Juneau Empire reports that activist and former Alaska Green Party chairman Soren Wuerth is organizing a meeting this weekend to finalize a ballot initiative to oust Murkowski.

    "We have several lawyers who are working with us already in framing this language, so watch out," Wuerth told the newspaper.

    Alaska is one of 18 states that permit the recall of state officials, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. To get the recall on the ballot, backers would need to get signatures from 25 percent of voters who cast ballots in the 2002 gubernatorial election, or almost 58,000 signatures. According to state law, if Murkowski were recalled, GOP Lt. Gov. Loren Leman would replace him.

    Alaska's constitution states that elected officials can be recalled for "lack of fitness, incompetence, (or) neglect of duties or corruption."

    "Neglect of duties is sort of what we're after here," Wuerth said. He also cited Murkowski's elimination of some government payments to seniors and his decision to appoint his daughter Lisa to replace him in the U.S. Senate as other reasons for a recall.

    Murkowski spokesman John Manly said the effort just doesn't make any sense.

    "You can't just throw out that the governor is incompetent," Manly said. "You have to prove that he's incompetent. You have to prove that he's neglected his duties. I think in order to make this thing have legs, you have to come up with some clear examples of where that happened."

    Street Fight: Armed with a warrant, FBI agents seized Philadelphia Mayor John Street's handheld BlackBerry computer Thursday, hours after city police discovered a planted bug in the mayor's office, reports the Philadelphia Inquirer. In its investigation of possible corruption in City Hall, the FBI also raided the accounting office of Jeanice Salter on Wednesday, where the accounting books of leading city officials and politically active non-profits are located.

    Raids were also conducted on the offices of a financial firm headed by two Street associates. Street says the FBI has told him he's not a "target" of the investigation, but legal experts say that he could be a "subject" of the investigation even if he's not the target.

    Following the seizure of the mayor's BlackBerry, the Inquirer reports that agents conducted several more searches including one at a business run by a prominent Muslim cleric, Imam Shamsud-din Ali, which received no-bid city contracts under the Street administration.

    Street is up for reelection in November. Rep. Robert Brady, who heads the Democratic city committee, called for the federal government to reveal the details of the investigation. "The innuendos are killing us," Brady said. "How can it not be related within a month of the election? What's it going to do? Boost his chances?"

    Weekend Calendar: A rather quiet holiday weekend. Dean, Clark and Lieberman are down all weekend. However, there's always some activity in New Hampshire, Iowa and South Carolina.

    Friday :
    All of the Democratic candidates except Howard Dean and John Kerry attend the NAACP Carolina Roundtable in Charlotte, N.C. President Bush gave remarks on U.S policy on Cuba in the Rose Garden, meets with the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom at the White House and then heads to Camp David. Vice President Cheney gave a speech on the war on terrorism at the Heritage Foundation in Washington. Commerce Secretary Don Evans headlines a Bush/Cheney fundraiser in Lubbock, Texas. Sen. John Kerry talks about health care in Portsmouth, N.H., and holds several meet-the-candidate events around the state. No public events scheduled for Dean.

    Saturday:
    Sen. John Edwards brings his national "work-week" tour to South Carolina. Rep. Dick Gephardt campaigns in Iowa, meets with Dallas County Democrats, attends roundtable on Tax Cuts vs. Health Care in Des Moines, does a press conference in Davenport, meets with Clinton County and Cedar County Democrats. Kerry attends a meet-the-candidate event in Dover, N.H., drops by Warner BookEnds in Warner, and attends house parties in Deerfield and Londonderry. Rep. Dennis Kucinich campaigns in Nebraska and Iowa. Rev. Al Sharpton campaigns at Howard University in Washington. No public events scheduled for Clark or Dean.

    Sunday:
    Gephardt
    campaigns in Iowa, meets with Muscatine, Louisa, Des Moines, Lee, Van Buren and Jefferson County Democrats. Kerry campaigns in New Hampshire, stops by a fire station and attends house parties in Berlin and Lancaster. Former Sen. Carol Moseley Braun attends town hall meeting sponsored by the Arkansas Black Legislative caucus in Little Rock. Sharpton preaches at Ebenezer AME Church in Washington. No public events scheduled for Clark, Dean, Edwards or Lieberman.

    Quote of the Day: "There are two ways for you to have lower prescription drug costs. One is you could hire Rush Limbaugh's housekeeper. Or, you can elect me president of the United States." – John Kerry at Thursday's debate in Phoenix, referencing Limbaugh's alleged penchant for prescription painkillers.