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Washington Wrap

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

Hurricane Isabel Takes Over: Even President Bush is no match for Isabel.

The president packed up and headed off to Camp David for a meeting with King Abdullah of Jordan this morning. He'll weather the storm at the presidential retreat's rustic cabin in the Maryland foothills north of Washington.

"We'll have a nice lunch and then we'll batten down the hatches and spend a good evening with our friend," Bush said at a press conference this morning.

Bush did say the federal government - in particular the Homeland Security Department - is prepared for the storm. "When the storm hits, the response for the citizens will be an effective response," Bush said.

The White House maintenance staff, meanwhile, battened down the hatches at the executive mansion, bringing-in lawn furniture, awnings and other objects likely to take flight. Air Force One, meanwhile, was dispatched to Georgia to avoid damage from the storm.

Another Day, Another Fight: John Kerry and Howard Dean were at it again on Wednesday over whether to repeal all of Bush's tax cuts. The latest row came after Howard Dean told a New Hampshire college student that he favored rolling back all of Bush's tax cuts, saying the cuts left little money for grants and loans to pay tuition costs, according to the AP.

Enter the Kerry camp. "The problem with this economy is not that the middle class is making out like bandits," the Kerry camp responded. "What George Bush has done to the middle class is wrong. And, unfortunately, what Howard Dean wants to do is wrong for our middle class families as well."

Kerry has called for repealing tax cuts for people making more than $200,000 a year while maintaining the child tax credit and marriage tax penalty. Howard Dean on the other hand has called for repealing all of the Bush tax cuts to pay for health care, homeland security and jobs. (Dean said earlier this month that his campaign is taking a look at re-vamping their approach on the middle class tax cut issue, but no new plan has to date been released.)

Meanwhile, a new N.H. poll shows Dean with a 10-point lead over Kerry among likely voters in the New Hampshire primary. The new poll conducted by the American Research Group of Manchester, shows Dean with 31 percent, Kerry with 21 percent and the remaining candidates in single digits; 27 percent were undecided.

Delay in Texas: Even with the Texas Senate Democrats back home and providing a quorum, the GOP's congressional redistricting plan faces some obstacles from an unlikely source: A fight between Texas Republicans.

The Washington Post reports that "the internecine dispute has embarrassed Republican leaders and may imperil the party's plans to use its new dominance of the state legislature to push through a map designed to shift as many as six additional congressional seats into Republican hands."

The Tom DeLay-Karl Rove backed plan could give the GOP 21 seats in the House of Representatives. But, a fight between a Republican state senator from West Texas and the Texas House Speaker could delay – or possibly endanger – the plan. Even a visit by DeLay – nicknamed "The Hammer" on Capitol Hill for his ability to cajole, threaten and intimidate lawmakers into toeing the party line – failed to remove the impasse.

The House pushed the redistricting plan through on Tuesday morning, but it's stalled in the Senate for the time being because of objections from some moderate Republicans over the congressional boundaries.

Specifically, the House speaker, Tom Craddick, is in a fight with state Sen. Robert Duncan over the focal point of one of the proposed districts. Craddick wants it centered around Midland – his home base – while Duncan wants it closer to Lubbock, the larger of the two cities and the one he calls home.

The longer the impasse exists, the less likely it is the Republicans will pass the plan in time for the 2004 election, the Post reports. But, they're still optimistic. "There's a lot of ways to skin this cat," said Dave Beckwith, a spokesman for Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst.

Update: Yesterday's Wrap item on generals who later became president of the United States omitted two names: Andrew Johnson and Chester A. Arthur.

Quote of the Day: "Get ready. We're moving out!" – Ret. Gen. Wesley Clark in his announcement speech yesterday. (AP)