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Washington Wrap

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



Thursday's Headlines
* Poll Watch: Counting The Days On One Hand
* Senate Watch - South Carolina
* Frightening Family Ties
* Michigan Back in the Battleground
* Trail Bytes From The Bush, Kerry, Cheney And Edwards Campaigns
* Quote Of The Day

Poll Watch: You Can Count The Days Left On One Hand.

National Polls
WP/ABC
Bush-Cheney 48%
Kerry-Edwards 49
Nader-Camejo 1
Undecided 1
Poll conducted October 23 through 26 among 1,709 likely voters, margin of error 3 percent.

Zogby
Bush-Cheney 48%
Kerry-Edwards 46
Nader-Camejo 1.2
Undecided 4
Poll conducted October 22 through 26 among 1,206 likely voters, margin of error 2.9 percent.

State Polls
Colorado
Zogby
Bush-Cheney 46%
Kerry-Edwards 50
Other 1.1
Undecided 3
Poll conducted October 24 through 27 among 601 likely voters, margin of error 4.1 percent.

Florida
Quinnipiac
Bush-Cheney 49%
Kerry-Edwards 46
Nader-Camejo 1
Undecided 4
Poll conducted October 22 through 26 among 944 likely voters, margin of error 2.8 percent.

Los Angeles Times
Bush-Cheney 51%
Kerry-Edwards 44
Nader-Camejo 2
Undecided 4
Poll conducted October 22 through 26 among 510 likely voters, margin of error 4 percent.

Zogby
Bush-Cheney 48%
Kerry-Edwards 46
Other 2
Undecided 4
Poll conducted October 24 through 27 among 600 likely voters, margin of error 4.1 percent.

Iowa
Zogby
Bush-Cheney 45%
Kerry-Edwards 45
Other 3
Undecided 7
Poll conducted October 24 through 27 among 602 likely voters, margin of error 4.1 percent.

Michigan
Mitchell Research for Detroit News
Bush-Cheney 42%
Kerry-Edwards 47
Nader-Camejo 1
Undecided 10
Poll conducted October 25 through 26 among 601 likely voters, margin of error 4 percent.

Zogby
Bush-Cheney 47%
Kerry-Edwards 47
Other 1.3
Undecided 5
Poll conducted October 24 through 27 among 602 likely voters, margin of error 4.1 percent.

Minnesota
Uof M's Humphrey Institute
Bush-Cheney 47%
Kerry-Edwards 44
Nader-Camejo 5
Undecided 4
Poll conducted October 21 through 26 among 690 likely voters, margin of error 4 percent.

St. Cloud State U
Bush-Cheney 42%
Kerry-Edwards 49
Nader-Camejo 2
Undecided 7
Poll conducted October 17-26 through 26 among 673 likely voters, margin of error 4 percent.

Zogby
Bush-Cheney 44%
Kerry-Edwards 47
Other 2
Undecided 6
Poll conducted October 24 through 27 among 602 likely voters, margin of error 4.1 percent.

New Mexico
Zogby
Bush-Cheney 47%
Kerry-Edwards 44
Other 4
Undecided 5
Poll conducted October 24 through 27 among 602 likely voters, margin of error 4.1 percent.

Nevada
Zogby
Bush-Cheney 51%
Kerry-Edwards 44
Other 1.7
Undecided 4
Poll conducted October 24 through 27 among 601 likely voters, margin of error 4.1 percent.

Ohio
Los Angeles Times
Bush-Cheney 42%
Kerry-Edwards 51
Nader-Camejo 1
Undecided 6
Poll conducted October 22 through 26 among 585 likely voters, margin of error 4 percent.

Zogby
Bush-Cheney 45%
Kerry-Edwards 46
Other 3
Undecided 6
Poll conducted October 24 through 27 among 602 likely voters, margin of error 4.1 percent.

Pennsylvania
Los Angeles Times
Bush-Cheney 49%
Kerry-Edwards 47
Nader-Camejo not on ballot
Undecided 4
Poll conducted October 22 through 26 among 585 likely voters, margin of error 4 percent.

Quinnipiac
Bush-Cheney 49%
Kerry-Edwards 47
Nader-Camejo not on ballot
Undecided 4
Poll conducted October 22 through 26 among 909 likely voters, margin of error 4 percent.

Zogby
Bush-Cheney 46%
Kerry-Edwards 49
Other .7
Undecided 4
Poll conducted October 24 through 27 among 601 likely voters, margin of error 4.1 percent.

Wisconsin
Zogby
Bush-Cheney 46%
Kerry-Edwards 50
Other 1.4
Undecided 4
Poll conducted October 24 through 27 among 601 likely voters, margin of error 4.1 percent.

Senate Watch – South Carolina:
Democrats have a chance of keeping their seat in the South Carolina Senate race. Senator Fritz Hollings is retiring and in a state, which Bush won by 15 points in 2000, Republicans felt sure of Senate seat pick up. But the South Carolina race between Representative Jim DeMint (R) and state superintendent of education, Inez Tenenbaum (D) is getting closer as the countdown to Election Day gets shorter.

DeMint was the clear favorite early in the election but deteriorated in the polls after some eyebrow raising comments on social issues. As the Washington Post reports Thursday, "DeMint said in a televised debate that gays should not be allowed to teach in public schools. Then he suggested unmarried mothers should be added to the no-teach list. He later apologized -- not for his views but for the fact that they were a 'distraction' from other issues."

Tenebaum is a conservative Democrat who distances herself from her party's presidential nominee saying that she would vote for the proposes constitutional amendment banning same sex-marriage, an issue which Senator Kerry does not support. DeMint will continue to connect himself with the current President in hopes that South Carolina voters will not split their vote come November 2nd although he is clearly still playing damage control regarding his previous comments.

Frightening Family Ties:

With Halloween just around the corner, shoppers still trying to decide between a classic Count Dracula costume or a political mask bearing the face of the presidential candidates will be surprised to learn that all three are related.

Ancestry.com, a website specializing in family histories, has released a chart that shows President George W. Bush and Sen. John Kerry to both be related to Vlad III Dracul, the basis for Bram Stoker's Dracula character in his 1897 novel. Bush's connection to the alleged vampire dates back 32 generations, while Kerry's goes back 34 generations.

What's more, the same chart shows that Bush and Kerry are ninth cousins twice removed. The cousin connection between the two candidates dates back to the late Princess Dianna and the House of Windsor. Kerry is Diana's 12th cousin once removed and Bush is her 11th cousin twice removed.

"We discovered this connection just a few days ago and thought it was a great Halloween link," Beau Sharbrough of Ancestry.com told CBS News. "I pretty much feel like everybody is related to everybody if you look long enough and hard enough. I don't generally feel surprised I feel like every candidate is related somehow by this."

Sharbrough also mentioned that both former President Bill Clinton and Al Gore were distantly related to Bush.

Michigan Back in the Battleground:

With three public polls now showing Michigan close, President Bush begins his Thursday in Saginaw and then goes back to the more familiar battlegrounds of Ohio and Pennsylvania. Sen. Kerry sporting a Red Sox cap does his first event in Toledo, Ohio; then to Madison, Wis., to rally with Bruce Springsteen, and then onto Columbus, Ohio and Florida for the night.

Vice President Cheney skipped the Springsteen event but is also in Wisconsin drinking coffee in Schofiled and John Edwards rallies in Duluth, MN; n Indianola, and Davenport, Iowa and spends the night in Onalaska, WI.

Trail Bytes

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

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

Knoller Nugget:
It's as if the President is doing Wednesday in reverse. He campaigns Thursday in Michigan, Ohio and Pennsylvania before returning to the White House.

Those were his exact political targets a day ago, just backwards. By retracing his steps and campaigning in the same states, Mr. Bush is putting his strategy on public display. There's no way around it.

He has one rally each in Michigan and Pennsylvania and two in Ohio. He lost the first two states in 2000 but won in the third. It's critical he win Ohio, but if he doesn't, one of the other two would help cover the loss in electoral votes.

He'll use his speeches Thursday to invite comparisons with John Kerry on the issue of leadership. A spokesman says Mr. Bush will portray himself as decisive and consistent while casting Kerry as given to flip-flops based on political expediency.

As he did Wednesday, the President will again be reaching out aggressively to Democrats, an acknowledgement that he cannot win re-election with just the votes of Republicans.

The President used both the soft and hard sell in asking Democrats for their votes in his speeches Wednesday. Declaring himself a proud Republican, he said he believes his policies "appeal to many Democrats."

"In fact," Mr. Bush continued, "I believe my opponent is running away from some of the great traditions of the Democrat Party. If you're a Democrat and you want America to be strong and confident in our ideals, I'd be honored to have your vote."

The President charged that Kerry has betrayed what he called the Democratic Party's "great tradition of leading this country with strength and conviction in times of war and crisis."

"I think of Franklin Roosevelt's commitment to total victory. I think of Harry Truman's clear vision at the beginning of the Cold War. I think of John Kennedy's brave declaration of American ideals," said Mr. Bush.

The President was accompanied on Wednesday's three-state, four-rally trip by one of the leading Bush Democrats, U.S. Senator Zell Miller of Georgia, who introduced Mr. Bush at his two Ohio rallies.

For two days this week, the President chose not to say a public word about the report of missing Iraqi high explosives. Kerry taunted Mr. Bush about it, claiming it was another sign of the incompetence with which the President managed the invasion and occupation of Iraq.

With pent-up ferocity, Mr. Bush fired back Wednesday. He mocked Kerry, saying that he "seemed shocked to learn that Iraq was a dangerous place, full of dangerous weapons."

"Now, the Senator is making wild charges about missing explosives, when his top foreign policy advisor admits -- quote -- "We do not know the facts."

Mr. Bush said "that's part of a pattern" of Kerry "saying almost anything to get elected."

"A political candidate who jumps to conclusions without knowing the facts is not a person you want as your commander in chief."

The President offered no explanation for what happened to the explosives but said the matter was under investigation by the U.S. military. He said there are a number of scenarios that could explain the disappearance "including that the explosives may have been moved before our troops even arrived at the site."

Mr. Bush tried to portray Kerry as disloyal to U.S. military personnel for suggesting they didn't act swiftly enough to secure the explosives before they went missing. "Think about that. The Senator is denigrating the action of our troops and commanders in the field without knowing the facts."

The President also made the case the U.S. had "seized or destroyed more than 400,000 tons of munitions, including explosives, at thousands of different sites."

And Mr. Bush argued that even missing explosives are better than the alternative. "I want to remind the American people, " continued the President, "if Senator Kerry had his way, we would still be taking our global test, Saddam Hussein would still be in power, he would control all those weapons and explosives, and could have shared them with our terrorist enemies."

So now, both major presidential candidates accuse each other of exceptionally bad judgment making them unfit to be commander in chief.

The disturbing question facing voters is: what if they're both right.

CBS News' Steve Chaggaris is with the Kerry campaign:

Kerry Trail Byte:

John Kerry hammered President Bush again Thursday on the missing explosive in Iraq, saying "Mr. President, it is long due you start taking responsibility for your mistakes."

But it was the aftermath of the World Series that was on everyone's mind, too.

Clearly relishing the win by his hometown Boston Red Sox, Senator John Kerry put on a team cap Thursday morning at his Toledo, OH rally. Then he quoted a caller to a radio show who had said 'Kerry won't be President until the Red Sox win the World Series.' "Well, said Kerry to a cheering crowd, "we're on our way!"

In a post-game printed statement Wednesday night, Kerry said "I've been rooting for this day since I was a kid… I couldn't be more thrilled for the team and for all the fans who stuck by the Red Sox year after year after year. This Red Sox team came back against all odds and showed America what heart is."

Now, add the fact that the longstanding "Curse of the Bambino" -- the jinx that Boston fans assumed was the cause of the team's years of futility -- has been broken five days before the election to another long-suffering Massachusetts sports team, the New England Patriots, winning their second Super Bowl five days after Kerry won the New Hampshire primary earlier this year and the superstitious are wondering if this will affect the curse on Massachusetts presidential candidates.

Of course, the one common thread among the two world champions and the wannabe "leader of the free world" is that they all call Massachusetts home, a state that, since JFK, has had its share high-profile failed presidential candidates (Ted Kennedy and Mike Dukakis, who lost to George W. Bush's father in 1988).

In August, Kerry didn't want to hedge his bets saying, "If I had a choice between the White House and the World Series this year, I'm going to take the White House."

However, earlier this month, when it looked like the Sox had a chance of going deep into the playoffs, he revised his outlook. "In two ways this could be the year," he said in Austintown, Ohio on October 3. "We can win the World Series and we could win the presidency and we're going to do both."

Speaking of Ohio, Kerry caught the end of the World Series in Toledo before he meets up later Thursday with Bruce Springsteen in Madison, Wisconsin. The two will then fly to Columbus, Ohio later for another rally.

As Kerry gets closer to Election Day, details of his upcoming schedule are being kept very quiet, perhaps because the campaign isn't even sure of what he's doing after tomorrow.

While he'll spend Friday in Florida and begin Saturday in Wisconsin, details after that are sketchy. There's talk of more Ohio on Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning and the campaign has already announced that Springsteen will rejoin Kerry on Monday night in Cleveland.

Rumors of a non-stop 72-hour marathon of campaigning have all but been quashed, though the new rumor is that he'll campaign almost through the middle of the night on election eve.

All of this hard work could be getting to Kerry as he inadvertently became the pot that called the kettle black Wednesday. A popular new riff that Kerry uses at his rallies is when he ridicules President Bush for repeating during the first debate that being President is "hard work. It's hard work. It's hard work."

"I am ready and I am impatient to relieve this president of the hard work," exclaims Kerry to wild applause every time he says it.

However, on Wednesday, Kerry made an unscheduled stop at a Sioux City, Iowa elementary school where he chatted with about 100 kids, ages 5-10. One asked him what it was like running for President.

Seemingly inadvertently, he sounded just like the President in his response telling the kid, "It's hard work. Everything you do in public life is hard work."

CBS News' Josh Gross is with the Cheney campaign:

Cheney Trail Byte:

The campaign won't admit it but being forced to address the missing Iraqi munitions story was not part of Vice President Dick Cheney's election plan in the final stretch. His reaction to the issue, however, is a perfect case study in how the Vice President deals with and tries to turn problems to his advantage

The response has evolved over the course of several speeches. While the administration ignored the issue for nearly two days, when they decided to address Kerry's accusations, it was Cheney who took the reply on its first test drive. Wednesday, though, the Vice President put the pedal down and had locked it into cruise (or damage) control.

Cheney's first response came in Pensacola, FL on Tuesday night just in time for the evening news programs. Though the message was a little rough around the edges, it was clear that the Vice President was accusing Senator Kerry of besmirching the actions of the troops while not actually addressing the whereabouts of the explosives. "The actions of America's fighting men and women have made the world safer and it's time for John Kerry to own up to that fact," he told the crowd.

By Wednesday morning, Cheney had added a new wrinkle. As the facts of the story evolved in the media, he latched onto the idea that Kerry was making wild charges when full details had yet to be exposed.

"John Kerry doesn't know if those explosives were even at the weapons facilities when our troops arrived in the area of Baghdad," he told a crowd in Kissimmee, FL. "The Senator's foreign policy adviser Richard Holbrooke admitted as much yesterday when he said twice, and I quote 'I don't know the truth.' John Kerry, though, is not one to let a shortage of facts bother him."

The crowd, of course, loved it.

A new group of supporters in Washington, PA that afternoon were treated to even more insults at Kerry's expense. "He rushed out to put up a TV ad saying there was a failure to secure these explosives when he had no idea if they were even there to be secured," he announced to a crowd on the campus of Washington and Jefferson College.

"The title of John Kerry's TV ad is 'Obligation,' which is pretty ironic if you think about it. The first obligation of a citizen is to support our men and women in combat,"

The catchphrase of the Cheney campaign since the final debate has been "John Kerry will say and do anything to be elected President." It may have taken a few days, but the Vice President has been able to fold and cram the missing munitions story into the same line of attack.

CBS News' Bonney Kapp reports from the Edwards campaign:

Edwards Trail Byte:

Senator Edwards isn't relying only on his own charm to help Democrats to victory in such a close election. He's joined Thursday at rallies in Minnesota and Iowa by movie stars Jake Gyllenhall, Leonardo DiCaprio, and rocker Jon Bon Jovi, in what must be an effort to secure the young, single women's vote. Earlier in the week, Ashton Kutcher lent a hand to the campaign, too.

With five days left, Edwards has campaigning down to a science. The marathon candidate held three rallies in Florida Wednesday, delivering nearly word-for-word the same stump speech except for some lines for local flavor and to slip in comments on the news of the hour.

But he's not just riding a wave, campaign officials maintain. Spokesman Mark Kornblau noted Edwards is "on the offensive as much as any of the other three principles" as he responds to the President and Vice President on an "hour by hour" basis.

At his event in Clearwater, Edwards blasted the President for attempting to make inroads with Ohio Democrats on the campaign trail by "invoking the names of great Democrats and comparing himself to people like Roosevelt and Truman and Kennedy." Edwards was cheered when he told the partisan crowd, "Those are Democratic presidents who led with a powerful combination, a combination of strength and hope. George Bush's combination is fear and failure."

After declaring Bush's record one "that a man like Herbert Hoover would be ashamed of," Edwards admonished the President for talking to Democrats "for the first time six days before the election."

He charged, "Just because you stand with Zel Miller and campaign in Democratic counties, it doesn't make him a friend of Democrats. It shows a sign of desperation."

Despite some polls that give President Bush a slight lead in Florida, the Edwards campaign is predicting the state will swing to the blue column. But Florida Senator Bill Nelson, who traveled with Edwards through the state Friday warned Clearwater voters, "Every indication is that it's a close race, so get prepared for shenanigans."

Talking to Edwards' traveling press corps, Nelson said his "greatest fear" was that poll watchers, who have been given the authority to question the credentials of voters on site, will slow the process down and cause long lines as a result, discouraging voters from going to the polls.

When asked if he thought America would know the winner on November 3, Nelson responded, "I'm praying that it's over because we don't need to go through what we went through four years ago."

Edwards will be back in Florida over the weekend after Friday's marathon of four campaign events through five states, including a stop to vote in his home district of Raleigh, NC.

Quote Of The Day: "There are times when I'd rather sit in a tank of snakes and eat bugs than watch TV or read the newspapers." --ex-FLOTUS Barbara Bush. (Green Bay News Chronicle)

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