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Washington Wrap

Dotty Lynch, Beth Lester, Allison Davis, David Berlin, Alexandra Cosgrove and Allen Alter from the CBS News Political and Campaign '04 Units have the latest political news from Washington and from the trail.

Wednesday's Headlines
* Poll Watch
* Senate Watch - Kentucky: Now There Are Nine Toss-Ups
* Explosives In The Battleground
* 33 Ways For An Electoral Tie, 2000 Repeat?
* Trail Bytes from the Kerry, Bush, Edwards and Cheney Campaigns
* Quote of the Day

Poll Watch

National Polls
ABC/Washington Post
Bush-Cheney 48%
Kerry-Edwards 50
Nader-Camejo 1
Undecided 1
Poll conducted October 22 through 25 among 1,666 likely voters, margin of error plus or minus 3 percent.

Bush-Cheney 48%
Kerry-Edwards 47
Nader-Camejo .8
Undecided 4
Poll conducted October 24 through 26 among 1,203 likely voters, margin of error plus or minus 2.9 percent.

Democracy Corps
Bush-Cheney 47%
Kerry-Edwards 49
Nader-Camejo 1
Undecided/Other 2
Poll conducted October 24 through 25 among 1,036 likely voters, margin of error plus or minus 3.1 percent.

State Polls
New Jersey

Bush-Cheney 46%
Kerry-Edwards 46
Nader-Camejo 2
Undecided/Other 6
Poll conducted October 24 through 25 among 1,036 likely voters, margin of error plus or minus 3.1 percent.

Mitchell Research
Bush-Cheney 44%
Kerry-Edwards 45
Nader-Camejo 1
Undecided/Other 10
Poll conducted October 20 through 21 and 26 among 600 likely voters, margin of error plus or minus 4 percent.

Research 2000
Bush-Cheney 48%
Kerry-Edwards 45
Undecided/Other 7
Poll conducted October 22 through 24 among 800 likely voters, margin of error plus or minus 3.5 percent.

Senate Watch
Kentucky Senate: Now There Are Nine Toss-Ups:
Senator Jim Bunning's bid for re-election to the Senate was considered a done deal until recently. In an overwhelming red-state -- Bush won Kentucky in 2000 by 16 points -- Bunning's run for a second term should have been a done deal. But Bunning began a string of bizarre comments catching the eye of the national media as well as Kentucky voters. He is running against state Senator and first time statewide candidate, Daniel Mongiardo. Mongiardo is also a doctor in Kentucky and since his name is a bit hard to pronounce, he likes to campaign as Dr. Dan.

But his campaign has become less about his qualifications and more about questions regarding Senator Bunning. As the Associated Press reports Wednesday, "First, he compared Mongiardo's appearance to one of Saddam Hussein's sons. Then he made an unsubstantiated claim that opposition staffer beat his wife 'black and blue' at a political picnic. Most recently, he admitted he wasn't aware that a group of Army reservists had refused a convoy mission in Iraq, saying he watches only Fox News for information and hasn't read a newspaper in six months."

The Cook Political Report, a non-partisan political information guide, has changed their ranking of the Kentucky Senate race from "Lean Republican" to "Toss Up" and several polls are showing the race within the margin of error. Added to the eight other toss-up Senate races, control of the Senate could go done to the wire as well

Explosives in the Battleground: President Bush begins the day in Lancaster Pennsylvania where he weighed in on the missing explosives in Iraq claiming Kerry doesn't know the facts. He then goes to Youngstown Ohio and Detroit Michigan. Sen. Kerry campaigns in Sioux City, Iowa, Rochester, Minnesota and Cedar Rapids, Iowa and is expected to hit the President again on the missing Iraqi explosives and talk about the economy and the middle class squeeze appeal to middle class.

John Edwards campaigns in Clearwater, Kendall and Cocoa Beach, Florida. And then goes back to the Midwest battleground of Minnesota. Vice President Cheney rallies in Kissimmee, Florida, and Washington, Pennsylvania and has coffee with community leaders in Waukesha, Wisconsin.

A computer analysis shows 33 ways for the election to end in a tie reports The Washington Post. This Tuesday's election will probably be decided in 11 states where polls are too close to predict a winner. Assuming the other states go as predicted, there are numerous scenarios that result in the remaining 11 states splitting the vote to have a 269 to 269 electoral tie.

Many of the scenarios for Election Day are unlikely, but they are also not completely far fetched. For instance, on Tuesday, the two candidates tie with 269 electoral votes each, but a single Bush elector defects for Kerry which in turn gives him 270 electoral votes and the White House.

Or, the race is deadlocked. Maine goes for Kerry, except for one congressional district that breaks with the rest of the state and gives its electoral vote to Bush giving him the overall win.

Or, Kerry grabs an upset win in Colorado, but a ballot initiative there passes that allows it's electoral votes to be split giving Bush 4 of the 9 votes there and ultimately the presidency.

Any one of these scenarios is possible. In a typical election, unusual circumstances like these would have less importance. But Charles E. Cook Jr., an elections handicapper, says with polls showing a statistical dead heat going into Tuesday, every electoral vote matters.

There could very well be a repeat of the 2000 election where the race is decided by less than 1 percent of the popular vote, in which case such quirks with the Electoral College could again raise doubts about the legitimacy of the election.

There is an even better chance that this time around, Bush will win the popular vote with Kerry winning the electoral vote says The Washington Post because the president has been boosting his support in already Republican states and reducing his deficit in some safely Democratic states. Or, if there were a tie, under the 12th Amendment, the decision would go to the House of Representatives which would undoubtedly give Bush the presidency.

Here are the reports from CBS News reporters in the field:

CBS News' Steve Chaggaris is with the Kerry campaign:

Kerry Trail Byte:
John Kerry has come a long way from having Peter, Paul and Mary's Peter Yarrow as his opening act, as he did for a few days in Iowa in early January.

Just this week, he's been introduced by President Clinton and has had musicians Sheryl Crow and Jon Bon Jovi warm up his crowds. But his biggest warm-up act of all was announced Tuesday: Bruce Springsteen.

The campaign said The Boss will join Kerry at two events on Thursday in Madison, WI and Columbus OH where he'll "perform one or two songs." He'll also play at an election-eve bash in Cleveland on Monday, which answers the question of where Kerry will be spending part of the day before the election.

Odds are pretty high that Springsteen will play "No Surrender," one of the two songs that are played at nearly every Kerry event (U2's "Beautiful Day" is the other).

Kerry was in Sioux City, IA Wednesday where he delivered a morning speech on the middle class. He was then heading to Rochester, MN for a rally before returning to Cedar Rapids, IA for another rally. He then will spend the night in Toledo, OH.

Thursday, he holds a rally in Toledo prior to his two events with Springsteen and then overnights in Florida where he'll spend all of Friday.

Campaign aides are being very hush-hush about his schedule after Friday, though it seems there could be a lot of time spent in Ohio between Saturday and Election Day. In addition to the election eve event in Columbus, an aide says that Kerry has a trip to Youngstown scheduled for Saturday.

On Tuesday, Kerry hit four states: Wisconsin, Nevada, New Mexico and Iowa and was heckled for the first time in several weeks at one of his rallies.

As he was about to begin criticizing the Bush administration on the missing explosives stockpile in Iraq, several Bush supporters yelled out in protest.

"That's all right, that's all right. Look folks, a mind is a terrible thing to waste," Kerry told the crowd.

"I welcome the diversity of opinion in this country and I respect the right of everybody to be heard," he continued. "Maybe a couple of the folks will learn something, if they listen."

CBS New' Mark Knoller is out with the Bush campaign:

Knoller Nugget:
It's back to the major battlegrounds as President Bush campaigns Wednesday in Pennsylvania, Ohio and Michigan. Aside from needing to energize his own base, this trip is another effort by Mr. Bush to reach out to independents and Democrats.

With that last group in mind, he'll be introduced at four rallies throughout the day by one of the leading Democrats backing his re-election, Georgia Sen. Zell Miller.

Rare is the speech in which Mr. Bush doesn't urge his grass roots activists to reach out to those he calls "discerning Democrats" like Miller. He was the top Democrat who spoke up a storm for Mr. Bush at the Republican National Convention.

The President will be visiting strongly Democratic areas, including an Ohio county where he lost to Al Gore by 60 percent to 36 percent. The strategy reveals the Bush campaign's view that to win re-election, the President must have the support of voters in key states who weren't in his camp four years ago.

The Bush campaign is running a new radio ad featuring former New York City Mayor -- and Democrat -- Ed Koch.

He's joined by his Republican counterpart Rudy Giuliani in endorsing the President for a second term. Here's an excerpt:

We don't always agree.
In fact we often disagree.
But we're both supporting George Bush for President.
That's right, even me Ed Koch, a life long Democrat. I've been impressed with President Bush and his response to the September 11th attacks and I know he has what it takes to win the war on terror.

For now, the ad is being aired in Florida, which has a sizeable population of former New Yorkers. But it would be a waste of money running the ad in New York as Mr. Bush hasn't got a chance in the state that sent liberal Democrats Chuck Schumer and Hillary Rodham Clinton to the U.S. Senate.

Tuesday in Wisconsin, you might say President Bush was engaged in "udder politics."

Cows don't vote, but dairy farmers do. And Mr. Bush made an unabashed play for their votes. He vowed extending the program called MILC (Milk Income Loss Contract) that compensates dairy farmers when the price of milk goes down.

On his bus trip through Wisconsin, the President even made a brief stop at a dairy farm to demonstrate his concern for families who own them. He also went inside a barn and had his picture taken with some cows. He patted one on the rump. For a politician, it's the farm equivalent of kissing babies.

The President's milking the state for every vote. As I said, "udder politics."

Cliches don't seem to count in politics.

Twice in one speech Tuesday, the President referred to John Kerry as a "Monday morning quarterback." While Mr. Bush declared he had "a positive, optimistic vision" of America's future and "a comprehensive strategy for victory in Iraq and for a victory in the wider war against terror," he said Kerry has none of that.

"My opponent has no plan, no vision and just a long list of complaints. But a Monday morning quarterback has never led any team to victory."

The President also repeated his charge from Monday that Kerry wrongly accused the U.S. military of letting Osama bin Laden escape capture in the mountains of Tora Bora, Afghanistan.

Mr. Bush called that "the worst kind of Monday morning quarterbacking."

Hut-one. Hut-two. Vote.

CBS News' Bonney Kapp reports from the Edwards campaign:

Edwards Trail Byte:
Senator Edwards is in Florida all day Wednesday holding three "Early Vote Community Gatherings" in the crucial battleground state before ending up in Minnesota late for the night.

On Tuesday, Edwards unveiled a new stump speech at his Reading, PA "Fresh Start for America" rally. The last time the standard stump was significantly altered was following the Democratic National Convention, when Edwards began speaking less about his running mate and more about the Bush-Cheney team.

While the candidate's main message and many lines remain intact, Edwards invoked Election Day imagery in the 28-minute speech to make his "closing argument" per spokesman Mark Kornblau, who also notes this will be "the framework he uses for the last week."

"One week from today, you are going to walk into a voting booth and you are gonna pull aside the curtain, and you are going to stand in front of that ballot. And you are going to make a choice. You are going to look at that ballot and on one side you're gonna see George W. Bush and Dick Cheney," he said as the Reading crowd booed fervently. "Four more years of the same. And on the other side you're gonna see John Kerry and John Edwards with a fresh start for America," he continued to cheers.

The speech is more personalized. While Edwards addressed the crowd of about 2,000, at times it was as though he were speaking to each person individually. "Just imagine for a minute that you are going to the polls the first thing in the morning when you went, and you just dropped off your child at daycare. You are late for work, you know and your car is about to run out of gas. Sounds familiar, doesn't it?" he said to the crowd listening intently.

"And you are looking at that ballot and you had to vote quickly because you want to get on with your life, but you also want to be sure that you make the right choice. And in that early hour you ask yourself, has my paycheck gone up?" he asked as the crowd roared, "No!"

"But has the cost of childcare gone up?" he followed up to a resounding, "Yes!"

"And then you ask yourself is George Bush gonna fight for my job the way he is fighting for his own job? Do you want four more years of that?"

"No!" the crowd yelled back in the rapid-fire exchange with their candidate. "Or instead do you want a fresh start for America with President John Kerry?" The consensus from supporters was the second option.

The Senator pointed out that the Bush administration has "failed America," but the overall tone of Edwards' speech was his token optimism. When he engaged the young people in the crowd, he empowered them with hope for the future. "Here's a chance for you to shape this country and change this country, this is a chance for you to build an America that you'll be proud of in the years to come. The truth is, for old fogies like me, we ain't got that much longer to do good work. But for you, this will go on for a long time," he said. "History's in the making. It's in front of us right now and this is your day. This is your chance," he added.

Edwards delivered the same speech at a rally in Wilkes-Barre with an equally impassioned response from the crowd. At both rallies, he read the speech in a three-ring binder from behind a podium. Just before he began his "Hope is on the way" riff, the Senator closed the binder and delivered the lines he has used since the beginning.

CBS News' Josh Gross is with the Cheney campaign:

Cheney Trail Byte:
Vice President Cheney started early Wednesday with a rally in Kissimmee, FL, commenting again about the stories of missing explosives in Iraq and charging John Kerry "is playing armchair general and he's not doing a good job."

The Vice President held three rallies on Tuesday, crisscrossing Florida and speaking to eager and excited audiences. The first two events in West Palm Beach and Lake Town held little in news value outside of coverage by the local press that a candidate was in town and possibly that his motorcade had stopped traffic during rush hour. During the final event in Pensacola, however, Cheney added some new remarks to his criticism of Kerry.

Prompted by news reports claiming that 380 tons of powerful explosives were missing from an Iraqi munitions facility, Kerry has recently been accusing the Bush administration of neglect. It is not in the nature of the Vice President to allow this criticism to continue unchallenged.

"For the last couple of days, Senator Kerry has been saying that American forces did not do enough to protect a weapons facility near Baghdad, with the result of 380 tons of the explosive HMX and RDX disappeared," Cheney explained. "But it is not at all clear that those explosives were even at the weapons facility when our troops arrived in the area of Baghdad."

"John Kerry doesn't mention that, nor does he mention the 400,000 tons of weapons and explosives that our troops have captured and are destroying," he continued as he set the stage for his attack. "If our troops had not gone into Iraq, as John Kerry apparently thinks they should not have, that is 400,000 tons of weapons and explosives that would be in the hands of Saddam Hussein who would still be sitting in his palace, instead of jail."

Asked later about the comments, a spokesperson indicated it was the Vice President himself who decided to incorporate the remarks into his stump. After two days of continued rhetoric by Kerry, Cheney felt it necessary to respond, especially with news reports questioning how long the explosive had been missing.

"This just shows again that Senator Kerry will say and do anything to get elected, make baseless attacks, with no facts to back him up," said Anne Womack, Cheney's campaign spokesperson.

Quote of the Day: "If skies are clear, the moon over Busch Stadium will be blood red in the late innings." The Boston Globe about the lunar eclipse, which is set to start less than an hour before the Sox and Cardinals play Game Four tonight.

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