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Washington Wrap

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



A Post-Saddam Primary: The capture of Saddam Hussein has spawned a series of "major foreign policy" speeches from the Democratic presidential candidates, all of whom recognize the former Iraqi president's demise could well prove a political boon for President Bush.

In a previously scheduled speech, Howard Dean visits Los Angeles on Monday to speak to the World Affairs Council, where he will be introduced by former Secretary of State Warren Christopher. Dean says he'd hunt down terrorist "sleeper cells," spend billions to prevent terrorists from obtaining weapons of mass destruction. He also will propose increased intelligence sharing and joint anti-terror military operations.

Dean also released the names of his foreign policy advisers on Monday, and the list is chock-full of former Clinton administration folks and old Washington hands, including former national security adviser Tony Lake, former State and Defense department official Mort Halperin, academic Benjamin Barber, Brookings' Ivo Daalder, retired Marine Corps Gen. Joseph Hoar, retired Air Force Gen. Merrill McPeak, Reagan administration trade official Clyde Preskowitz, former Assistant Secretary for African Affairs Susan Rice, economist Jeffrey Sachs and former CIA Director Stansfield Turner.

Sen. John Edwards, D-N.C., delivered a foreign policy speech in Des Moines on Monday, calling the capture of Saddam Hussein "a very positive step. We need to build on this success by addressing the threats posed to the world by the combination of tyrannical leaders, rogue nations and a worldwide proliferation of dangerous weapons." Edwards said he would create a "Global Nuclear Compact" that he says would reinforce the current Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. Edwards' plan would "help nations develop peaceful uses for nuclear energy in exchange for strict controls over waste storage and harsh multilateral penalties for trying to divert nuclear programs to military use."

Edwards also would strengthen the U.N.'s enforcement capabilities on nuclear weapons malfeasance, secure the "loose nukes" in the former Soviet Union, which he would pay for by canceling the Bush administration's missile defense system and so-called bunker buster bombs.

Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass. – also in that hotbed of foreign policy, Des Moines, on Tuesday – will deliver an address in which his campaign says he'll outline immediate steps America should take in order to seize the opportunity presented by the capture of Saddam Hussein to forge an international coalition and to rebuild and stabilize Iraq.

Retired Gen. Wesley Clark is in the Hague testifying at the war-crimes trial of Slobodan Milosevic. He made a foreign policy speech to the Netherlands Institute for International Relations on Monday.

On Sunday, Sen. Joe Lieberman, D-Conn., used Saddam's capture to attack Howard Dean. "If Howard Dean had his way, Saddam Hussein would be in power today, not in prison," said Lieberman, who will give a big speech on Tuesday though it promises to be more about Dean than foreign policy.

A non-candidate, Sen. Hillary Clinton of New York, spoke to the Council on Foreign Relations in New York on Monday.

Anti-Dean Ad War Goes Global: On Friday, the mysterious Democratic-leaning 527 organization called Americans for Jobs, Healthcare & Progressive Values released a new advertisement that takes the anti-Dean ad wars to a new level. The ad features a slow-moving shot of a Time Magazine cover featuring Osama bin Laden. As the picture zooms in on a close-up of bin Laden's eyes, the announcer intones, "And there are those who wake up every morning determined to destroy western civilization … Americans want a president who can face the dangers ahead." Throughout the ad, the screen flashes with phrases like "Dangers Ahead" and "No Experience." The ad concludes by warning: "Howard Dean just cannot compete with George Bush on foreign policy" and asks Democrats to "think about that ... and think about it now."

The ad began airing in New Hampshire and South Carolina this weekend, according to a press release. The group has also pledged to spend $400,000 on advertising in Iowa before the federally imposed deadline of Dec. 19, which is 30 days before the Jan. 19 caucuses. The first ad started in Iowa last weekend; it was replaced on Friday with an ad likening Dean to President Bush on Medicare and trade. Both ended with similar messages to voters: "If you thought Howard Dean had a progressive record ... check the facts ... and think again."

Americans for Jobs, Healthcare & Progressive Values has continued to refuse to disclose its financial backers. On Friday, the group's new spokesman, former Kerry campaign press secretary Robert Gibbs, said they would disclose to the IRS on Jan. 31 as required by law. Although the 527 claims it is "not affiliated with any federal candidate, candidate's campaign, or national political party committee," various ties with other candidates have emerged. Gibbs, who left the Kerry campaign on awkward terms, merely laughed on Friday when is was suggested that this was "clearly not a Kerry front group." Former Gephardt fund-raiser David Jones is the group's treasurer, and Tim Raftis, former campaign manager for Iowa Democratic Sen. Tom Harkin, was the group's president until he left on Friday. Raftis was replaced by former Ohio Rep. Edward Feighan.

Both the Gephardt and Kerry campaigns have denied any involvement with the group or the ads.

Clark Tells All: Wesley Clark will file his financial disclosure form with the Federal Election Commission on Monday after being granted a 45-day extension. On Friday, Clark's campaign released tax information that showed his income jumped from under $100,000 in 1999 to more than $1.6 million in 2002, according to the Associated Press. His net worth is between $3 million and $3.5 million.

Clark made over $1 million while working as an investment banker for the Stephens Group Inc., before starting his own firm. He made $951,000 last year from writing, speeches and sitting on boards of major corporations. Clark did particularly well from his investment in a pharmaceutical company, Pharmathene, which specializes in bio-terrorism vaccines.

The documents are fodder for the oppo researchers in the other campaigns who are eager to tarnish/expand on Clark's image as a soldier and war hero. On Saturday, Lieberman campaign manager Craig Smith held a conference call for reporters accusing Clark of using his contacts to make money after he left the government, the AP reports.

"He's been a registered lobbyist longer than he's been a registered Democrat," Smith said. Clark spokesman Chris Lehane told the AP that Clark was a registered lobbyist with one company, Little Rock data firm Acxiom Corp., for which he received a $150,000 retainer.

Breaux To Retire: Sen. John Breaux tells colleagues he'll retire from the Senate and won't seek re-election in 2004, the Associated Press reports.

Breaux, 59, scheduled an announcement Monday afternoon in Baton Rouge.

Rep. Chris John, D-La., who is considering running for the open seat if Breaux doesn't seek re-election said he's "85 percent" sure that Breaux will retire.

Louisiana pols are worried that a Breaux departure, combined with the potential retirement of House Energy and Commerce Chairman Rep. Billy Tauzin, R-La., will leave the state with much less political clout than it currently has. The Times-Picayune reports that 33 Louisiana business and political figures, including some Republicans, begged in newspaper ads Sunday for Breaux to run again and pledged their support if he does.

National Republicans would be salivating at a Breaux retirement, which would create the fifth open seat in the 2004 Senate race currently held by a retiring longtime Southern Democrat. The four who have already annonced their retirement plans include Sens. Bob Graham of Florida; John Edwards of North Carolina, Ernest Hollings of South Carolina and Zell Miller of Georgia.

Quote of the Day: "If I drink water I will have to go to the bathroom and how can I use the bathroom when my people are in bondage?" -- Saddam Hussein, after his capture, to investigators who offered him water (Time)

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