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Washington Wrap

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

Bloomberg Sets A Record: A new poll by The New York Times finds that Mayor Mike Bloomberg has a positive job performance rating of only 24 percent, the lowest of any New York City mayor since the Times started polling in 1978 and a decline of 7 percent since January.

"By almost every measure, city residents have a gloomy view of the economy, the quality of life in the city, and New York's prospects," the Times reports. "Asked to rate the condition of the city's economy, 73 percent said it was bad and 62 percent said its condition had taken a personal toll on their lives."

Bloomberg's rating were even lower with minorities, with only 15 percent of blacks and 19 percent of Hispanics giving him a positive job rating. The Times says his moves to balance the city's budget and his personal style both account for the negative evaluations.

New York Gov. George Pataki's rating is better than Bloomberg's, but it has also plummeted from 82 percent following the attack on the World Trade Center to 42 percent now.

One respondent from the Bronx explained her problem with Bloomberg in quintessential New York terms: "He's not a New Yorker and he's not a fighter. You have to be crazy to run this town because we're a bunch of crazy people. You've got to kick down doors. Rudy's crazy and he was effective. Bloomberg doesn't have the gusto to really deal with the issues in an aggressive manner."

The Winners in Wisconsin: From the Lexis-Nexis archives:

The New York Times
By HOWELL RAINES

MILWAUKEE, June 12 (1983) - When Senator Alan Cranston's victory in the Wisconsin straw poll was announced Saturday, no one smiled more broadly than Tom Ochs, the lone Glenn staff member assigned to the state convention here.

''Thanks for stopping by,'' Mr. Ochs shouted in the direction of the jubilant Cranston supporters. For, like many other political professionals here, Mr. Ochs had concluded that Senator John Glenn of Ohio might benefit most from the straw poll outcome, even though he declined to campaign actively and received only 2 percent of the vote.

Senator Cranston upset former Vice President Walter F. Mondale, getting 39 percent of the 2,035 votes to Mr. Mondale's 36 percent. Senator Gary Hart of Colorado was third with 22 percent.

The vote has no official standing, since it produced no convention delegates. But by showing that Mr. Mondale can be vulnerable among liberal, activist Democrats, the outcome raised the possibility that, as some Democratic strategists have speculated, the lesser-known candidates could divide Mr. Mondale's support and enhance Senator Glenn's prospects.

''If you assume that Mondale is bleeding, maybe hemorrhaging, then the other front runner gains,'' said Victor Kamber, a key Cranston adviser. ''So Glenn gains.'' Mr. Kamber went on to contend that Senator Cranston now has a claim to front-runner status along with Mr. Mondale and Senator Glenn.

Straw ballots involve only a tiny fraction of Democratic voters. But the votes, which have so far been taken in Massachusetts and Wisconsin, are nonetheless meaningful increments in a long, grinding process. They are the first cuts in a whittling process that will trim the field from six candidates to one in the space of just over a year.

That was then. This Saturday, Raines will probably be off fly fishing, but Howard Dean and John Kerry - perhaps the Cranston and Mondale of '04 - will be fighting it out in another Wisconsin straw poll. Gephardt is taking the Glenn position - ducking the event in the hopes that staying away is a better option than coming in third or fourth.

The expectations this time are tilting Dean's way. "If he can't win in a Wisconsin straw poll," one pundit said, "where can he win?" The problem is even if Dean wins, what does that really mean? By the fall of '83 Cranston, the peacenik of the field, was struggling and the "mo" he achieved from Milwaukee had worn off.

The political reporters of the summer of '03 will be chewing over this all weekend. Results will be known at noon CDT on Saturday.

Graham's Good Day: It should be a sunny entry today in Bob Graham's notebook: Not only is he extremely rich, he's climbing in the Democratic presidential campaign polls and scored some points with environmentalists.

The latest Quinnipiac poll showed Graham in fourth place among the nine Democratic presidential wannabes. He still trails Lieberman (22 percent), Gephardt (17 percent) and Kerry (15 percent). But Graham came in just ahead of John Edwards, Howard Dean and Al Sharpton, all of whom registered 5 percent. Carol Moseley Braun (4 percent) and Dennis Kucinich (1 percent) brought up the rear.

In his U.S. Senate financial disclosure forms, Graham and his wife, Adele, reported having assets worth between $7.7 million and $31.6 million, the AP reports. Graham's wealth comes from his position as a director of the Graham Companies, which he and his brothers started years ago to transform the family's cattle ranch into the town of Miami Lakes, Fla. He owns large chunks of South Florida real estate, including a golf resort. In addition, his wife listed between $500,000 and $1 million in dairy and beef cattle.

On Thursday, the Senate shot down a Graham proposal to make offshore drilling more difficult. The Miami Herald reports that even in losing, Graham might have won credit for taking a strong pro-environment stance, particularly in California and Oregon, where offshore drilling is a thorny issue.

Busy Weekend: It's a jam-packed weekend for the Democratic presidential candidates.

In Wisconsin tonight, Howard Dean, John Kerry, Dennis Kucinich and Al Sharpton will vie for the affections of the state's Democrats.

Before and after Milwaukee, Kerry visits Iowa, including making a speech on Friday to unveil his energy policy in Cedar Rapids. He'll be back in Dubuque, Waterloo, Olewein and New Hampton on Saturday.

Dean also hits Iowa this weekend, with Saturday stops planned in Waterloo, Des Moines and Iowa City.

Carol Moseley Braun campaigns in Washington on Saturday, where she will speak to the National Women's Political Caucus Conference. Later in the day, she keynotes a fundraising event for Florida A&M University in Newport News, Va.

After the Wisconsin event, Kucinich campaigns in California, with events in Santa Rose and Van Nuys.

Bob Graham hits New Hampshire Friday and Saturday, after which he attends a Hingham, Mass., fundraiser and then heads back to NYC for more fundraising. (The end of the 2nd quarter approacheth.)

Also in New Hampshire is Dick Gephardt, who visits Manchester, Portsmouth and Hampton on Friday.

On Saturday, Gov. Bill Richardson of New Mexico – who we are considering referring to as Mr. Vice Presidential Candidate In-waiting – speaks to the Iowa Democratic Party's Hall of Fame dinner on Saturday night. This event will be a prelude to Richardson's keynote speech at the Florida J-J on June 28.

President Bush, meanwhile, is vacating and father's daying in Kennebunkport.

Good Night, David: Those of us at the Washington Wrap want to express our sadness at the death of David Brinkley. Douglas Kiker's father worked with Brinkley at NBC News and introduced him to his wife, Susan. Dotty Lynch's first job was as a researcher at the NBC News Election Unit and worked with Brinkley on the '68, '70 and '72 elections.

After the '68 election Brinkley moved to New York and interviewed Lynch for a job as his researcher. She failed to get the position, possibly because she found it difficult to answer his questions. "I felt as if I were talking to a TV set," she said. "Every time he'd ask me something, I'd wait for someone, maybe Chet, to give the answer," Lynch said.

Despite the odd first interview, Brinkley became a wonderful mentor and friend and he will be remembered with a very wry smile.

Quote of the Day: "As far as my return to California, I'm trying to be national security adviser. ... I have my hands full now -- I think you can tell. [Running] is not on my radar screen … I really do look forward to returning to California in the near future." – National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice on the possibility of her running for governor of California. (Chicago Tribune)