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Washington Wrap

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


Thursday's Headlines

* Polls Show Huge Boost for Kerry After Iowa Win

* Dean Shifts Style: Speechless in New Hampshire

* Old Soldiers Never Die, Their campaigns Just Bicker About Rank

* Edwards Campaign Admits Circulating Negative Memo

* Laura Bush Hits The Trail

Poll Watch: How High Will the Bounce Go? As John Kerry focuses on New Hampshire, daily tracking polls out of the Granite State show him getting a major bounce from his Iowa win. The latest Boston Globe/WBZ-TV/KRC poll (conducted Jan. 20-21; margin of error 5 percent), shows Kerry with a 10-point lead. This is the same poll that just yesterday showed him in a "statistical dead heat" with Howard Dean. A new Boston Herald/RKM poll (conducted Jan. 20-21; margin of error 4.4 percent) also shows that there is "clearly a substantial Iowa bounce for Kerry," with Kerry up by 10 points. And an entirely post-Iowa WHDH 7News/Suffolk University poll (conducted Jan. 20-21; margin of error 4.9 percent) shows Kerry up 27 to Dean's 19, a reversal from yesterday's two-point Dean lead.

And even in polls that include some pre-Iowa data, the bounce still seems to be large enough to make a difference. In yesterday's MSNBC/Reuters/Zogby poll, which included two days of pre-Iowa polling, Dean led Kerry by 25 to 23. In today's MSNBC/Reuters/Zogby (conducted Jan. 19-21; margin of error 4.1 percent), which includes only one day of pre-Iowa polling, Kerry sails past Dean to lead the pack 27 to 24. And a similar trend emerges in the new American Research Group (conducted Jan. 19-21; margin of error 4 percent), which shows Kerry jumping into the lead, 27 to 22, for the first time in months.

Another worrisome sign for Howard Dean is the change in voters' opinion of him. Just a week before Iowa, his ratings were 63 percent positive, 20 percent negative in the WBZ/Boston Globe poll; now it's 49 percent positive, 31 percent negative. None of the other candidates tested (Kerry, Edwards, Clark) have a negative rating over 15 percent.

Globe/WBZ-TV/KRC 1/20-21 (400 interviews)
Kerry 31
Dean 21
Clark 16
Edwards 11
Undecided 16

Boston Herald/RKM 1/20-21 (501 interviews)
Kerry 31
Dean 21
Clark 16
Edwards 11

WHDH 7News/Suffolk Univ. 1/20-21 (400 interviews)
Kerry 27
Dean 19
Clark 15
Edwards 7

MSNBC/Reuters/Zogby 1/19-21 (601 interviews)
Kerry 27
Dean 24
Clark 15
Edwards 8
Undecided 17

American Research Group 1/19-21 (811 interviews)
Kerry 27
Dean 22
Clark 19
Edwards 9
Undecided 14

Look Who's Not Talking: Howard Dean Dean went home to Vermont to get some rest and maybe to see his doctor. He's back in New Hampshire Thursday with a voice worse than Bill Clinton's on a bad day. "I still have not recovered my voice from my screeching in Iowa," Dean said on Thursday.

His campaign is saying goodbye to the fiery Howard Dean of campaign trails past. Instead, say hello to the hand-shaking, policy-spewing, non-crazy (kidding, kidding) Howard Dean of the post-Iowa world, a candidate with four days remaining to right his badly listing political ship. As the New York Times reports, "the moves came as senior advisers expressed concern in interviews that Dr. Dean's candidacy was imperiled after a third-place finish in Iowa and a roaring, raucous concession speech that many opponents have held up as evidence that Dr. Dean is unfit to be president."

The campaign also believes the negative reaction to Dean's speech on Monday prevents them from putting any negative ads on the air in New Hampshire, the Times reports. Further evidence that Dean recognizes the need to change voters' perceptions of him: He and his famously non-political and very private wife, Dr. Judith Steinberg Dean, will appear together on ABC's "Prime Time" on Thursday night. Also look for less packed town halls and screaming supporters and more one-on-one diner visits, hospital stops and the like.

The Times says, "The retooling of the Dean campaign reflects the dramatic turn in fortunes for this candidate, and just six days before the vote in New Hampshire, a contest that just two weeks ago Dr. Dean seemed positioned to win overwhelmingly."

Dean's campaign gathered in Burlington, Vt., on Wednesday to plot strategy on how to recover from Iowa. (Ostensibly, Dean took a day off to get over from a cold and see his son play ice hockey, but some retooling discussions certainly occurred.) As one high-profile Dean backer said, "I told him to be a mini-president; not to be so hot, to tone it down … I said, 'In the future, if you want to stir up the crowd, have somebody else do it for you.'"

"What the guy has to do to win is go back to that and be the doctor-governor who stands up for what he believes in and achieves results," one aide told the Times about Dean's last-chance strategy in New Hampshire.

Dean's new strategy to bore audiences to death instead of scaring them to death (again, a joke) can be seen in his issue of the day for Thursday: campaign finance reform. He'll propose lowering the maximum contribution level in federal campaigns from $2,000 to $250 … and we guarantee he'll manage to end the speech without a "YEE HAA!!!!"

The political world will be watching Dean very closely during the Tuesday debate in Manchester, N.H. The debate will be a critical moment for all the candidates, but none more than Dean. All eyes will be on Dean and his campaign hopes that New Hampshire voters – in whose hands Dean's political future lies – will be willing to give their man a second chance.

The Washington Post reports that "strategists for the major contenders see (the debate) as one of the most critical encounters yet in the battle for the nomination, one likely to shape attitudes in an electorate that continues to shift allegiances by the day." Dean, the Post reports, will have the most on the line Thursday night.

"Dean has to perform at that debate," said Andrew Smith of the University of New Hampshire, director of one of several tracking polls charting the movement underway here, told the Post. "Dean has to turn it around to show that what happened in Iowa was an aberration."

Every General Needs A Lieutenant?: As the presidential campaigns roll into veteran-rich territory, a debate between John Kerry and Wesley Clark has erupted over whose military service is the greater political asset. In Iowa, the Kerry team used his Vietnam heroics to great effect, increasing veteran turnout for Kerry and helping him to a strong (38 percent) showing. Recognizing the strength of Kerry's military message, on Monday the Clark campaign moved to highlight the general's background. On CNN, Clark said, "with all due respect, he's a lieutenant and I'm a general." The Kerry campaign, for its part, held its tongue.

Perhaps recognizing that negative campaigning backfired in Iowa, the Clark campaign has pulled back from the tactic. As the New York Times reports, by Thursday, "gone was his suggestion that Mr. Kerry's military experience could not match his as a four-star general." Instead, Clark opted for the much more subdued, "We were both young officers in Vietnam … We just pursued different paths of service." Looks like the general won't be taking the holier-than-lieutenant road to the nomination after all.

Naughty or Nice? John Edwards received a lot of kudos from voters who appreciated his decision to stay above the fray, but on Wednesday he took responsibility for a list of negative attacks his campaign was circulating before the Iowa caucuses. Edwards says he both condemned and took responsibility for a memo given to Iowa campaign workers that described Howard Dean as "an elitist" and John Kerry as "part of the failed Washington politics," reports the The New York Times.

According to Jennifer Palmieri, Edwards's press secretary, the statements were in "four or five" pages of a 50-page book, for precinct captains to guide them in how to attract caucus voters if they were moving toward other candidates. According to Palmieri, "Iowa field staff" wrote the memorandum.

Laura Bush Hits The Trail: Laura Bush is plunging into the political fray, plugging causes she believes in. CBS White House Correspondent Bill Plante joined Mrs. Bush as she visited Florida, the state on which her husband's election hinged in 2000. While in Florida, she visited Discovery Middle School in Orlando, where she watched seventh-graders learning to overcome reading problems. The first lady, a former librarian, has made literacy her signature issue.

Mrs. Bush tells Plante on CBS News' "The Early Show," "It's really incumbent upon all of us, for people in the education business and government, and parents, and community leaders, to try and encourage schools to add this piece for children who can't read at that age, when you think about the way junior high and high school is…"

Ann Gerhart, author of "The Perfect Wife," a recent book about the first lady, calls her the campaign's secret weapon. "There's this appearance that she may be slightly more liberal than her husband," Gerhart says. "It enables her to reach out to people on the other side of the aisle." That's why you can expect to see more of Mrs. Bush on the campaign trail this year.

She says, "I know this is our last campaign, whatever happens. And I think there will be a sense of nostalgia with that. There's something really, really wonderful; it's really a huge privilege to be able to campaign in the United States."

The first lady says has already done several fundraisers for Bush-Cheney '04 and will continue to do so. She will travel by herself, but will join her husband in the fall as the campaign heats up.

Quote of the Day: "I think Dr. Steinberg is absolutely entitled and correct in doing what she feels comfortable. If she doesn't like to politic and campaign, she shouldn't." – The famously outspoken Teresa Heinz Kerry on the famously private Judy Dean. (MSNBC)

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