Watch CBSN Live

Washington Wrap

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

Issa Joins "No On The Recall" Team: The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Tuesday that the Oct. 7 California recall election should take place as previously planned. (For complete coverage of the court's decision, please visit

Meanwhile, the self-described "godfather" of the recall drive seems to be having second thoughts. Rep. Darrell Issa, the Republican lawmaker who bankrolled the campaign to gather enough signatures to force a recall vote on Gov. Gray Davis, said Monday that he'll urge voters to oppose the recall if it appears Lt. Gov. Cruz Bustamante would win because of a splintered GOP ticket, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Issa said that if neither state Sen. Tom McClintock nor actor Arnold Schwarzenegger drops out of the race, he'd advise people to vote against the recall. "As somebody who some people call the godfather of the recall, nobody should be more determined to remove Gray Davis from office," he said. But, Issa added, "When you vote, if there are still two major Republicans on the ballot … then I advise you to vote no on the recall."

Schwarzenegger's big debate debut happens Wednesday night. The Sacramento event, sponsored by the California Broadcasters Association, could be the most widely watched debate in California history, the AP reports. The forum is vital for Schwarzenegger, who skipped two debates earlier this month that featured four of the candidates he'll square off against Wednesday: Bustamante, McClintock, independent Arianna Huffington and the Green Party's Peter Camejo.

Critics have complained that the debate will be overly scripted, in part because the 12 questions were released last Wednesday. But organizers say there'll be plenty of time for give and take among the candidates.

Kerry Gets A Big One: Sen. John Kerry nabbed former Gov. Jeanne Shaheen, the most sought-after Democrat in New Hampshire, for his campaign on Tuesday.

Shaheen, who was elected the state's first woman governor in 1996, was named the national chairwoman of his campaign at a news conference in Manchester. "For generations, New Hampshire's primary has been first in the nation for Democrats," Kerry said. "Today, I'm honored to receive the support of the person that is first in the hearts of New Hampshire Democrats – Gov. Jeanne Shaheen."

The former governor brings years of experience as a campaign operative, having worked on the presidential campaigns of Jimmy Carter in 1976 and 1980, and run former Sen. Gary Hart's surprise N.H. win in 1984. In 1990, she won her own campaign for the state Senate, where she served until being elected governor.

Shaheen spent the spring semester teaching at the Harvard University after losing a tight Senate race to John Sununu in 2002. She's now doing a teaching stint at Tufts.

The fact that she chose to back Kerry wasn't much of a surprise considering her husband, Bill Shaheen, is the Kerry campaign's New Hampshire chairman. However, Shaheen had been low profile in the past few months, and members of her staff have gone into a number of campaigns. Her former political director, Karen Hicks, is running Howard Dean's N.H. campaign; her press secretary, Colin Van Ostern, is John Edwards' N.H. spokesman; and her communications director, Judy Reardon, is with Kerry.

"Vacation's over," Shaheen said in the presser this morning. She said she couldn't sit on the sidelines any longer when there is so much at stake for the country. The Kerry campaign says she'll be doing a lot of surrogate speaking, but other sources tell CBS News that her role may be greater - perhaps even management if the much-talked about campaign shakeup takes place.

Kerry also received another bit of good news in a USA Today/CNN/Gallup poll: He is one of two Democrats who led President Bush in a head-to-head poll of registered voters over the weekend. The poll shows Kerry ahead of the president 48 percent to 47 percent, while newly announced candidate Wesley Clark leads Mr. Bush 49 percent to 46 percent.

However, there's also some bad news in the poll for Kerry: He placed a distant third among the Democratic candidates. Clark led the poll of registered Democrats or Democratic leaners with 22 percent, followed by Dean at 13 percent, and Kerry and Rep. Dick Gephardt at 11 percent each. Sen. Joe Lieberman rounds out the top five with 10 percent.

Rudy Come Back: Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani was forced out of the mayor's office because of term limits, and then out of the New York Senate race for personal and health problems. But New Yorkers still want him back in office. A new statewide poll conducted by the Marist College Institute for Public Opinion found that 62 percent of registered voters want Giuliani to return to public office, while 32 percent want him to stay in the private sector.

Thirty-one percent of voters surveyed said they thought Giuliani should run for governor. Others thought he should be appointed to a national security position, try his luck at the U.S Senate seat or return as mayor of New York City.

A hypothetical match-up shows that should Giuliani decided to run for the U.S. Senate, Sens. Hillary Clinton and Chuck Schumer, both Democrats, would have a tough race ahead of them. If Giuliani ran against Clinton in 2006, the poll found 57 percent favoring Giuliani to Clinton's 40 percent. Giuliani would also beat Schumer, 51 percent to 45 percent, if the 2004 election were held today.

Eight percent of the people surveyed also thought Giuliani should consider a White House run after President Bush leaves office.

Meanwhile, the poll also shows that a growing number of New York state voters think Sen. Clinton will serve out her full six-year term and will not run for president in 2004.

The telephone poll questioned 912 people for the survey between Sept. 15 and 18. The margin-of-error was plus or minus 3.5 percent.

Houston, Redux?: The Washington Times reports that Republican National Committee Chairman Ed Gillespie said the GOP is prepared to include opposition to gay marriage in its national party platform.

"There's a lot of energy out there, a lot of concern about gay marriage," Gillespie said. "So it wouldn't surprise me if it were addressed in some form or fashion in the platform."

Gillespie said the GOP would call for an amendment to the U.S. Constitution that would define marriage as monogamous and heterosexual – and would forbid states from legalizing gay marriage. Several homosexual couples have sued in the state, alleging that prohibitions against gay marriage violate their right to equal protection.

Gillespie said a decision on the issue could stem from an upcoming Massachusetts Supreme Court decision on gay marriage. "My sense is that all these things are being considered and weighed right now and will be decided on if and when the Massachusetts Supreme Court rules," Gillespie said.

Clark Watch: Retired Gen. Wesley Clark will hold a press availability today at 2 p.m in NYC to give a rebuttal to President Bush's speech to the U.N., and then fly to Indiana for a speech at DePauw University. On Wednesday morning, Clark will be back in New York to give his first speech on economics and jobs before preparing for his crucial first presidential debate on Thursday.

Quote of the Day: "Wes Clark. By all third party accounts, the entry of Was (sic) Clark into the race is most damaging for other candidates. As political analyst Stuart Rothenberg put it, 'Clark's ideology and persona tread primarily on territory held by Kerry and Dean and do not threaten Lieberman.'" – From a fund-raising pitch by Lieberman campaign manager Craig Smith.