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Washington Wrap

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

Do We Feel a Draft?: Supporters of retired Gen. Wesley Clark are waiting with bated breath to learn whether he'll jump into the presidential race, and they're keeping an eye on his speech tomorow night to the Knox County Democrats in Tennessee. But another draft movement for a Tennessee Democrat, who's not speaking at the Knox County event, is buoyed by a recent poll showing their man's competitive with President Bush.

A Zogby poll conducted for Draft Gore 2004 shows Al Gore in a statistical dead heat with President Bush, 48 to 46 percent, among likely voters. Among independents, Gore is ahead 47-43 percent.

"These results are stunning, considering that Al Gore is the only potential candidate who's been out of the limelight since last December," says former Gore volunteer and Draft Gore Chair Monica Friedlander. "The strength of support and staying power Gore enjoys clearly indicate that he has an excellent chance of beating George Bush in 2004."

"Four years ago at this time Bush held a lead of more than 10 points over Gore, and Gore still won the popular vote in 2000," added Bill McCormack of Draft Gore. "Gore is in a perfect position for 2004."

The poll, conducted from Sept. 5-9, also shows Gore leading all Democrats with 24 percent. Howard Dean comes in second with 16 percent, followed by Sen. Joe Lieberman with 12 percent, 11 percent for Sen. John Kerry, 7 percent for Rep. Dick Gephardt and 2 percent for Sen. John Edwards.

When Democrats were asked if they feel Gore should run again, 52 percent said yes.

Meantime, a new USA Today/CNN/Gallup poll asked Democrats who they support, with or without Wesley Clark in the race.

If Clark runs, 9 percent of Democrats said they'd support him; that's very close to the frontrunners. The poll shows Gephardt at 15 percent, Dean at 13 percent, Lieberman with 12 percent and Kerry, 11 percent. Without Clark, the top four gain about two percent each.

Senate On His Mind: Democratic sources tell CBS News that former Atlanta Mayor Andrew Young has "all but announced" that he'll run for the Georgia Senate seat being vacated by fellow Democrat Zell Miller. Michelle Nunn, daughter of former Sen. Sam Nunn, has decided against running, in deference to Young.

"This will give us a great advantage," a Democratic Party source said. "The Republicans have a four-way divisive primary contest while we'll have a very strong candidate in place."

The most recent Cook Report says that the 71-year-old Young "would bring gravitas to the race in the form of stature and a deep well of experience." In addition, his role in bringing the Olympics to Atlanta in 1996 has earned him some recent praise. He is currently the [resident of Goodworks International in Atlanta.

On the other hand, his past record includes some controversy, including his work with the PLO when he was ambassador to the United Nations. Cook also mentions that he is very "Atlanta-centered" something that might cause him problems in other parts of Georgia.

Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee Communications Director Dan Allen tells CBS News that they are not so sure Young is so formidable. "The last time he was on a statewide ballot was in 1990 when he ran third for governor behind Zell Miller and Roy Barnes," Allen said.

Democrats are also hopeful that a new poll showing Colorado Sen. Ben Nighthorse Campbell's re-elect rating at 38 percent will help them recruit a strong candidate. Democrats say Rep. Mark Udall would make the strongest candidate, but that former Sen. Gary Hart would also do well against Campbell.

Republicans feel they've had a good week with the decision of Sen. John Edwards not to seek re-election in North Carolina and former Rep. Dan Glickman's decision not to challenge Republican incumbent Sen. Sam Brownback in Kansas.

Bush-Cheney Hit The Trail: After a stop in Ft. Stewart, Ga., home of the Army's 3rd Infantry, President Bush will attend a fund-raiser for former RNC Chairman Haley Barbour, who's running for governor of Mississippi.

Mr. Bush will be in Jackson for the lunchtime event, before heading off to Houston for a fund-raising event at the Power Center, a community center that holds a bank, Christian school and a branch of Houston Community College. Barbour is running against Gov. Ronnie Musgrove, in a contest that is expected to be the most expensive in Mississippi history.

Vice President Dick Cheney hits North Carolina to raise money for Senate candidate Rep. Richard Burr and Rep. Robin Hayes, considered one of the few vulnerable incumbent GOP members.

The president's job approval ratings, meanwhile, is at its lowest level since the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, according to the latest CNN/USA Today/Gallup Poll survey, which found a slim majority - 52 percent - approving of the overall job the president is doing. That's down from a mid-April rating of 71 percent. In the aftermath of 9/11, Mr. Bush's approval ratings were at 90 percent.

Mr. Bush's re-elect numbers showed him beating an unnamed Democrat by four percentage points, down from a double-digit lead two weeks ago, USA Today reports.

Democratic pollster Mark Mellman tells USA Today that Mr. Bush's latest approval rating reflects political reality more than his post-9/11 levels. "Reality is setting in," Mellman said.

The Republican National Committee, however, points out that its pollster, Matthew Dowd, predicted back in April that the president's approval rating would come to earth eventually and that the 2004 election would be a close one. In a memo sent to reporters Friday, the RNC's Jim Dyke said: "The country is very polarized and this election is going to be extremely close. Not since Vice President Bush's victory in 1988 has a presidential candidate received more than 50 percent of the popular vote."

Weekend Ahead:

Friday 9/12:
Howard Dean visits Lebanon, Concord and Manchester, N.H., before finishing the night at a house party in Windham. John Edwards campaigns at Swett's Restaurant in Nashville, Tenn. Dick Gephardt gives "major" policy speech in Des Moines, Iowa. Bob Graham has two fundraisers in New York. John Kerry met with college students to talk about helping middle-class families afford college in Columbia, S.C. Dennis Kucinich attends the New Hampshire AFL-CIO's "Conversations with the Candidates" in Hooksett. Carol Moseley Braun speaks at the Chicago Women in Government Relations meeting.

Saturday 9/13:
Dean, Edwards, Gephardt, Graham, Kerry, Kucinich and Moseley Braun will join former President Bill Clinton and Sen. Tom Harkin's at the 26th annual Harkin Steak Fry at Balloon Field in Indianola, Iowa. Prior to the event, Dean meets with volunteers in Des Moines and will ride to Indianola with undecided Iowans; then holds a pre-fry rally, while online supporters can plug in and watch a "virtual" steak fry; Graham attends Latin Festival in Des Moines; Kerry attends Story County Democrats Pancake Breakfast in Ames, meets with Iowa State Student Leaders at Iowa State University; and Kucinich attends rally in Columbus.

Joe Lieberman kicks off Operation: Libermania and canvasses New Hampshire. Al Sharpton scheduled to speak to the AKA sorority in Woodridge, N.J.

Other: Retired Gen. Wesley Clark speaks at the Knox County Democrats Truman Day Dinner at the Knoxville Convention Center.

Sunday 9/14:
Dean campaigns in Iowa, attends meet and greet in Denison, the Clay County Fair in Spencer and a fundraiser for state Sen. Beall in Somers before heading to Sioux City for an economic town hall meeting. Kerry has brunch with Palo Alto County Democrats and then lunch with Dickinson County Democrats. Moseley Braun attends Candidate Forum at University of Texas– Pan American & Hispanic Caucus in Edinburgh. Sharpton campaigns in Delaware, with stops at the Bethal AME Church, Union Baptist Church, University of Delaware, Delaware State University, an Urban League picnic and a fundraiser. Other: Bill Clinton heads to California and attends several church services with Gov. Gray Davis in south-central Los Angeles, then gives a keynote speech at a conservation international dinner in Santa Monica.

Quote of the Day: "It's a sad day in Tennessee, but a great day in Heaven." -Songwriter Merle Kilgore on the death of country music legend Johnny Cash. Kilgore co-wrote Cash's classic "Ring of Fire" and was best man at his wedding. (AP)