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Washington Wrap

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


Friday's Headlines

* Polls Show What Everyone's Suspected: Kerry's Got Major Mo'

* Dean Changes Approach

* Not All Nice in New Hampshire

* RNC Pounces on Kerry

* In a Post-Iowa, Post-Gephardt World, Feb. 3 Takes On New Meaning

* Insiders Poll Follows the Herd with Kerry on Top

Poll Watch – A Very Good Week for Kerry: After starting his week with a big win in Iowa, John Kerry has enjoyed a steady jump in the polls. Four new polls, all taken after the Iowa results, show him now leading the Democratic pack in New Hampshire. The newest Boston Globe/WBZ-TV poll (conducted Jan. 21-22; margin of error 5 percent) shows Kerry opening up a major lead over Howard Dean, 34 to 19; as does today's Reuters/MSNBC/Zogby (conducted Jan. 20-22; margin of error 4.1 percent), which has Kerry with 30 to Dean's 22. And the news is even worse for Dean in today's American Research Group poll (conducted Jan. 20-22; margin of error 4 percent), where Dean slips to third place with 18 points, behind Kerry's 31 and 20 for Wesley Clark. More dangerous for Dean, the ARG poll shows his unfavorable rating outstripping his favorables, 42 to 31, for the first time since the poll began. Today's 7News/Suffolk University poll (conducted Jan. 21-22; margin of error 4.9 percent) also shows a statistical dead heat between Dean and Clark for second place, with Kerry at 26, Dean at 19 and Clark at 17.

Further down in the pack, there is less poll agreement over whether John Edwards is also getting a post-Iowa boost and whether Clark is ticking up or down. While pollster John Zogby sees "no bounce" for Edwards, he is moving up in the ARG and Boston Globe polls. Part of the difference may be in polling days: Edwards is moving up in polls taken 1/21-22 and staying static in 1/20-22 polls, but whether one day will make the difference is not yet clear. And while Clark is falling in the Reuters and Boston Globe polls, Suffolk University survey shows him as the only candidate to "improve his numbers" in the last 24 hours. Although the polls seem to have coalesced around Kerry in the number one spot, things are less clear further down.

Boston Globe/WBZ-TV 1/21-22 (400 interviews)
Kerry 34%
Dean 19
Clark 14
Edwards 11
Undecided 17

Reuters/MSNBC/Zogby 1/20-22 (601 interviews)
Kerry 30%
Dean 22
Clark 14
Edwards 7
Undecided 17

American Research Group 1/20-22 (806 interviews)
Kerry 31%
Clark 20
Dean 18
Edwards 11
Undecided 12

7 News/Suffolk University 1/21-22 (400 interviews)
Kerry 26
Dean 19
Clark 17
Edwards 7
Undecided 26

All Dean, All the Time: With four days until the New Hampshire primary, Howard Dean is blitzing the airwaves with ads stressing his record as governor of Vermont, and grabbing as much free media as possible. The candidate, who has had a contentious relationship with the press, suddenly started accepting those TV offers, especially with the biggest get of all (at least pre-Iowa), his wife, Judy.

The Washington Post reports that Dean's decision to personalize himself and poke fun at his candidacy reflects concern inside his campaign about his third-place finish and the "wild, arm-waving" speech that followed, aides said. The two topics also dominated Judy Dean's primetime debut, which aired on ABC's "Primetime."

"I thought it looked kind of silly," Judith said when asked about the now infamous speech that has been played constantly not only in New Hampshire, but on national TV.

Her TV appearance incidentally came just a few weeks after Dean told reporters he would not use her as a "prop" in the campaign. But that was then and this is now. Judith made her first appearance on the campaign trail Sunday in Iowa, as her husband's poll numbers were dropping, and here she is again as his poll numbers are suffering in New Hampshire.

Judith, a family practice doctor, said, "I am kind of private, and I have a son in Burlington I like to stay with, and I have a medical practice, which I love. It's really important for me, and Howard knows it's important to me. But, I also love Howard, and I think he would make a terrific president. If I can help him, I will. And that doesn't mean he's going to disrupt my life, disrupt my patients, my son. But if he calls on a Saturday, and I'm not on call that weekend, I'll be out there Sunday."

Dean finished the day with an appearance on CBS's "Late Show With David Letterman," where he recited "the Top 10 ways, I Howard Dean, can turn things around." His number one reason incidentally, "Oh, I don't know, maybe fewer crazy, red-faced rants?"

A side note" the last politician to recite the Top 10 was Dick Gephardt, who gave the "the Top 10 signs you've been on the campaign trail too long." There is little doubt the Dean campaign is hoping his candidacy doesn't suffer the same fate as his predecessor.

Not All That Nice Under the Radar: The Boston Globe headline on last night's debate, "Democrats Soften Tone," referred to their on-camera style. In the filing room where more than 500 reporters were writing their stories, the Dean and Lieberman campaigns were attacking away in that old fashioned way – on paper.

The Lieberman campaign sent around five flyers, four of which attacked Wesley Clark for a variety of "sins," including voting for Republicans, lobbying for defense contractors and fudging his position on the war in Iraq. (The fifth cited the Australian PM who said President Bush told him that Lieberman was the candidate he feared the most.)

The quieter and gentler Dean sent around four attack fliers, all attacking John Kerry for being too cozy with "special interests." The fliers were chock full of press blurbs going back as far as 1990 to try to demonstrate that Kerry decries special interests in public but takes their money and does their bidding. One contained a number of references to his relationship with the telecommunications industry, an issue that Dean has tried to take on in speeches around the country. So far all the TV ads are still positive with four days to go in a state where voters tend to tolerate negative campaigns. Pundits are looking for some fur to fly, if not on TV on radio or in the mail.

A Democratic Party dinner in Nashua on Saturday night is the last big multi-candidate event. Stay tuned.

RNC Says Kerry's a Liberal Too: A week ago, you could practically smell the excitement within the Republican Party at the prospect of Howard Dean becoming the Democratic presidential nominee. Too northern, too liberal, too antagonizing, Republicans said.

Well, things have changed, as everyone knows, and apparently, the GOP thinks John Kerry is to northern, too liberal and even worse, too Kennedy.

In a speech to the Conservative Political Action Conference on Friday, RNC Chairman Ed Gillespie plans to slam Kerry for being a liberal. (Not just a liberal, though, a super liberal.) In an excerpt from the speech, Gillespie says, "Whether it's economic policy, national security policy, or social issues, John Kerry is out of sync with most voters. Americans for Democratic Action – the premier liberal rating organization – puts his lifetime rating at 93 percent. Sen. Kennedy has a lifetime rating of only 88 percent. Who would have guessed it? Ted Kennedy is the conservative senator from Massachusetts!"

An RNC official says the hit on Kerry is nothing new. Gillespie has traveled to the backyards of many candidates during the campaign: he's slammed Clark on a visit to Arkansas, Dick Gephardt in Missouri, Dean in Vermont and traveled to Iowa earlier this week to slam all of them.

Next week, Gillespie will be in New Hampshire to repeat those remarks and the GOP will send President Bush's sister, Dorothy Bush Koch; New York Gov. George E. Pataki; and Sen. John McCain of Arizona, who beat Mr. Bush in the state in 2000. The campaign plans to have surrogates in each New Hampshire media market.

The Show-Me-the-Delegates State? The departure of Dick Gephardt from the presidential wannabe pack and the ascension of John Kerry to the top of the heap has changed the dynamic for Feb. 3, the third day of voting in Campaign 2004.

Pre-Iowa, conventional wisdom held that South Carolina's first-in-the-South status would dominate the media coverage and candidate attention after New Hampshire. But, with Gephardt out – and Missouri suddenly in play – the next ten days could look a whole lot different than the political world had predicted. There are seven states holding primaries and caucuses that day and Missouri, with 74 delegates, is the biggest prize, followed by Arizona (55), South Carolina (45), Oklahoma (40), New Mexico(26), Delaware(15) and North Dakota (14).

There's a total of 269 delegates at stake for the day.

There is a debate in South Carolina on Jan. 29 and as of now all the candidates are expected to attend A senior South Carolina state party official told CBS News that it increasingly looks like John Edwards' race to lose. His surprisingly strong show in Iowa helped convince South Carolinians that he stands a chance at winning the nomination. Edwards has been splitting his time between South Carolina and New Hampshire all week. The official says that should Edwards do well in New Hampshire, he'll "cruise" to a win in South Carolina.

Wesley Clark also has been fighting for South Carolina, as has Howard Dean, although the official says that Dean's Iowa performance might have hurt him there.

John Kerry, meanwhile, has not visited S.C. since kicking off his campaign there in September and has not run any TV ads there. As a result, he was barely registering in the polls before Iowa. Kerry had counted on his Vietnam credentials to help him with vets in the state but his campaign is trying to decide how much to stress the state they abandoned for so long.

But Missouri, previously written off as Gephardt country, could emerge in coming days as a major battleground. As Clark's communications director, Matt Bennett, tells The New York Times, "It would be campaign malpractice not to be looking at Missouri right now."

All the candidates have called Gephardt, the most influential Democrat in the state, presumably to gauge whether he'll endorse any of his former rivals. (Aides say they don't expect Gephardt to endorse before the primary, and definitely not before the results of Tuesday's New Hampshire primary are in.) In addition, several candidates, including Clark and Edwards, have called Democratic Gov. Bob Holden to "survey the political landscape," The New York Times reports. Kerry, meanwhile, plans to send staff to the state and has been checking on television ad rates there. Dean also has plans to campaign and run ads there.

But if it develops into a delegate-counting contest as some suspect it might, the other five Feb. 3 states also could get a lot of attention. New Mexico, with its large Hispanic population and high-profile Hispanic governor, Bill Richardson, has just 26 delegates at stake, but a win in the West would look good for any of the candidates. Arizona, with 55 delegates, was once Dean country but is now up for grabs. All the candidates have been in there, although Kerry has been absent for a while.

Oklahoma and North Dakota, with 40 and 14 delegates respectively, have also been the focus of Lieberman, Clark and Gephardt. And then there's Delaware. Joe Lieberman once said Delaware might be his breakout state. Now running fifth in the N.H. polls, his campaign would be thrilled with a win, even in a tiny state.

What a Difference a Week Makes: This week's National Journal Insiders poll shows that Democratic insiders can be just as fickle as voters anywhere in the country. In this week's poll, John Kerry leads for the first time since the poll began, with 23 first-place votes. Since Week One, Howard Dean has held a commanding lead, with 46 first-place votes out of 50 in Week Seven. This week he receives only 11 first-place votes. For all but one week of the poll, Richard Gephardt held second place. But with Gephardt out of the race and Dean having a very shaky week, Kerry has experienced a change in fortunes. As one Insider says, "As dramatic a turnaround in presidential campaign fortunes as has ever occurred." And although only six of the Insiders ranked finishing third in Iowa as "fatal" to the Dean campaign, one Insider explains, "There is nothing about finishing third that would have been insurmountable. I am not sure he can overcome the speech."

The Insiders have always had a soft spot for John Edwards. Although Edwards is in fourth place, he is separated from third-place candidate Wesley Clark by only one point; essentially tied. For Edwards, one Insider says, "If his fundraising can keep pace with his popularity, the critical Feb. 3 primaries can cement his place in the front tier." And Feb. 3 may innoculate Edwards in New Hampshire with one Insider saying, "Almost irrelevant what he does in New Hampshire as long as he is competitive." Even better, one Insider concludes, "his stump speech really connects."

The Insiders are worried about Clark. Says one, "Now his turn in the barrel with the national media laser illuminating him for all to see." Says another, "Everyone else is riding high. Missing Iowa will prove to be a mistake"" As the Insiders present the Washington conventional wisdom for Week 11, the Senators John appear to be back in favor at the expense of non-Washington types Dean and Clark.

Quote of the Day: "Show a little more skin." – Number 5 on Howard Dean's "Top Ten" list of "Top Ten Ways I, Howard Dean, Can Turn Things Around" from last night's "Late Show." (CBS)

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